Korea Gallery New Rotation 10.11

Anonymous

The Neo-Confucian Cosmologist Zhou Dunyi

Admiring Lotus Flowers

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 16th century

Hanging scroll; ink and colors on paper

Honolulu Academy of Arts,

Richard Lane Collection

(2006.252)

 

 

The Chosŏn-dynasty government was modeled after principles outlined by the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC) and his followers. Beginning in the Chinese Song dynasty (960-1279), such principles enjoyed a renaissance that was often referred to as Neo-Confucianism. These ideals remained influential into the following centuries, and served as the foundation of government for most East Asian societies.

 

Chinese philosopher Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073) was one of the key early figures in the development of Neo-Confucianism, and his theories on cosmology were especially influential. In particular, he helped popularize the taiji symbol (commonly known as the yin-yang symbol, a circle with dark and light halves) that has since become ubiquitous throughout the world. Here, he is shown on a pavilion, gazing upon lotuses, symbols of mental purity originally deriving from Buddhism, but by this time widely used by different traditions.

 

Chinese cultural influences were pervasive in the arts in both Korea and Japan during the 15th-16th centuries, and when this painting first entered the Academy's collection, it was variously considered to be from China, Korea, or Japan. However, the presence of distinctive white porcelain on the table behind Zhou is characteristic of wares favored by the court and high-ranking Korean scholar-officials during the 15th-16th centuries, which allows the painting to be confidently identified as Korean.

 


Anonymous

The Chinese Poet Su Shi

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), ca. 16th-17th century

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Honolulu Academy of Arts,

Richard Lane Collection

(2006.254)

 

Su Shi (1037-1101) was one of the greatest cultural luminaries of the Chinese Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), prodigiously talented in poetry, calligraphy, and painting. (He was also a famous chef.) One of the early prototypes for the scholar-artist, his painting style in particular presented possibilities for a different aesthetic than the one favored by the court, emphasizing instead highly individualized and expressive brushwork that was closely related to calligraphy.

 

Su Shi was idealized by later generations as the perfect model of the scholar-amateur, and consequently became a popular subject in the arts. His influence extended beyond China to both Korea and Japan, and he was particularly admired by the scholarly class of government officials that rose to power in Korea during the Chosŏn period.


Anonymous

Grapes

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 18th century

Eight-panel folding screen; ink on paper

Honolulu Academy of Arts,

Richard Lane Collection

(2010.007)

 

Grapes were first introduced as an artistic motif from Central Asia into China, where they became a popular motif during the Tang dynasty (618-907). From China, they eventually spread to Korea. Since they have many seeds, grapes were associated with fertility; here, the artist has cleverly indicated this symbolism by working images of children into the composition. Although they are not immediately apparent, if you look closely, you can see that in several places the plants outline youthful faces that appear to be hiding amidst the vineyard.
Anonymous

Altar Attendant

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 18th-19th century

Wood with polychrome

Bequest of Wilma Fitts, 1994

(7640.1)

 

According to beliefs outlined in Buddhist scriptures concerning the Buddha Amitabha, those among the faithful that meditate with utmost sincerity upon this deity and recite his name at death will be spontaneously reborn into his Western Paradise. There, they will emerge from lotuses (in the ponds surrounding Amitabha's palaces) as children, where they will enjoy a long life of purity leading to enlightenment. Consequently, children became a popular motif in Buddhist art, and sculptures of youthful figures such as this often were placed in attendance to the main deities on the altars that were the focus of a temple.
Anonymous

Altar Attendant

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Yong Sung, Anita Choi, and Mrs. Evelyn Choi Shun, 1980

(4840.2)


Anonymous

Altar Attendant

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Dr. Jack Paldi, 1985

(5290.1)


Anonymous

Altar Attendant

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Dr. Jack Paldi, 1985

(5288.1)


Anonymous

Altar Attendant

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Dr. Jack Paldi, 1985

(5289.1)


Anonymous

Altar Sculpture

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Dr. Jack Paldi, 1985

(5291.1)


Anonymous

Altar Attendant

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Dr. Jack Paldi, 1985

(5289.2)

 


Anonymous

Altar Attendant

 

Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), 19th century

Wood with polychrome

 

 

Gift of Dr. Jack Paldi, 1985

(5287.1)

 

 

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