Eight-panel folding screen, ink on paper
Overall: 150.5 x 330.2 cm (59 1/4 x 130 in.); Painting only: 85.1 x 27.3 cm (33 1/2 x 10 3/4 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2017.6
The eight Korean characters each mean filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, trust, propriety, righteousness or justice, modesty or integrity, and humility or the feeling of shame.
This folding screen is a whimsical harmony of two different subjects: chaekgeori, or books and things; and munja, or characters. The lower section of each panel depicts the imagery of things, including books, decorative arts, and utilitarian objects. The upper portion of each panel bears a classical Chinese character. Read from far right to left, the eight characters refer to the values of Confucian teachings of the Joseon dynasty: filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, trust, propriety, righteousness, modesty, and humility. While these two pictorial genres are harmoniously conjoined on the same picture plane, two sharply contrasting world views—urban consumerism and traditional Confucian ethics that despise materialism—compete with one another.
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