Egret and Reeds

Egret and Reeds

백로도 (白鷺圖)

late 1800s

Yang Ki-hun (Seuk-Eun) 양기훈

(Korean, 1843-1919?)

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Overall: 196 x 61 cm (77 3/16 x 24 in.)

Gift from the Collection of George Gund III 2015.509

Description

In this hanging scroll, an egret walks along the shores of a salt marsh where reeds abundantly grow. Native to Pyongyang, the artist Yang Ki-hun had no rival in bird-and-flower themes. The Taedong River estuary, one of Pyongyang’s beloved natural sites, may have been Yang’s favorite spot to observe and sketch various water birds.

Yang treated his subjects of flora and fauna with an observant naturalist’s view, yet his choice of subjects—an egret and reeds—is deeply rooted in traditional symbolic language: the egret stands for the scholarly reclusive life, while reeds indicate humility and modesty.

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