The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 25, 2024

Poem on Plum

Poem on Plum


copy after Yi Hwang

(Korean, 1501–1570)
Overall: 115 x 68.2 cm (45 1/4 x 26 7/8 in.); Painting only: 46 x 52.7 cm (18 1/8 x 20 3/4 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Yi Hwang, the author of this calligraphy, composed more than 100 poems on plum blossoms.


For Yi Hwang, a celebrated scholar and poet in 16th-century Korea, writing poems was an escape from partisan politics. Because its flowers often bloom in the middle of winter, Joseon period Korean scholars like Yi found plum blossoms a perfect subject to express the value of endurance and self-cultivation. In his numerous poems, Yi used plum blossom imagery to express his feelings. The poem on this hanging scroll reads: “Wishing to fly away, red leaves left the mountain villa. Their large sleeves are frosted due to blue clouds. The clouds in the sky look upright, which are beyond human beings’ ability. The plum tree whispered to me that [the leaves] fell from the wind and landed on the fence.” The mountain villa in this poem may refer to the Dosan Academy, a Confucian school that Yi established after his retirement, and the red leaves of the plum blossom are probably Yi’s poetic personification.
  • ?-1992
    The Honorable Joseph P. Carroll and Roberta Carroll, MD, New York, NY, given to the Cleveland Museum of Art
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Little, Stephen, Virginia Moon, and In-su Cho. Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing. 2019.
    Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014.
    Sŏn, Sŭng-hye. The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2011. Reproduced: cat. no. 82
  • Korean Gallery 236 Rotation. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (January 13-July 10, 2017).
    The Lure of Painted Poetry: Cross-cultural Text and Image in Korean and Japanese Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (April 15-August 21, 2011).
    Object in Focus: Poem by Yi Hwang. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (October 5-December 5, 1999).
    Signs of Affection: Gifts Honoring the Museum's 75th Anniversary. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 27, 1992-January 3, 1993).
  • {{cite web|title=Poem on Plum|url=false|author=Yi Hwang|year=1700s-1800s|access-date=25 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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