Geese and Reeds Painting (Noando) by Yang Ki Hun aka Seokyeon (1843-1897) from Pyeongyang. Yang Ki Hun's signature 'boneless' style (painting without outlines, using ink washes) beautifully captures light and shade. The literal meaning of 'noando' is reed and geese painting, but it is a play on words, as 'no' means both reed and old, and 'an' means both geese and comfort ('do' means painting). So 'noan' can mean 'reed and geese' or 'old comfort', and so a painting of geese and reeds symbolized a wish for a comfortable and peaceful old age. This particular painting has further meaning because it depicts a pair of geese. Geese were believed to mate for life, so this painting symbolizes eternal love, and the wish for a couple to grow old together in peace and comfort. 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 often saw geese fly in and land on a reed field, so he was able to paint them 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. Silk Mounting: 85.5 x 17.75 inches, 217 x 45 cm; Painting: 52 x 12 inches, 132 x 30.5 cm.