Korean Art and Korean Antiques

Rare Orchids by 19th Century Korean Royal Court Painter Yang Ki Hun


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Paintings: Pre 1900: Item # 1358731

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Orchids and Rock Painting by Yang Ki Hun aka Seokyeon (1843-1897) from Pyeongyang. Yang Ki Hun is famous for his geese paintings. Though the orchid is one of the favorite subjects of the Korean scholar artist, Yang Ki Hun rarely painted them. So this is a rare and fine piece by one of Korea's foremost artists. Orchids are an ancient Korean symbol of purity, modesty, and virtue. The rock symbolizes eternity, so the combination of orchids and rock have the meaning of eternal adherence to principle. Talented painters of orchids were and still are held in the highest regard. Yang Ki Hun was a member of the Royal Academy of Painting in the late 19th Century, toward the end of the Joseon Dynasty. He made a living by painting for the king and his court, and also by selling his paintings in Pyeongyang. He was the most well-known of the provincial painters who, because of the increase in the economic power of the provinces in the late 19th Century, and the accompanying demand for paintings, were able to make or supplement income by selling their paintings locally. Here are two great quotes from Yang Ki Hun's contemporary, the painter and calligrapher Chi Un Yeong (aka Paekryeon): "Yang Ki Hun's paintings stir up my jealousy because they seem completely freed from all ideas and restraints". And after Seokyeon (Yang Ki Hun) passed away, Chi Un Yeong wrote, "Seokyeon told me that when he stayed on Neungna Island for a few years some time ago. He was able to paint the scenery in a realistic way. His words still linger vividly in my ears. I remember playing with him thirty years ago in the Taedong River, and it seems so far away and dream-like." Ink on silk. Mounting: 65 x 18.75 inches, 165 x 47.5 cm; Painting: 52 x 13.75 inches, 132 x 35 cm.