Korean Art and Antiques

Pair of 19th Century Paintings of Mountain Spirit and Hermit Saint


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Paintings: Pre 1900: Item # 1411620

Please refer to our stock # 1430 when inquiring.
Korean Art and Antiques
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New York, NY 10036
917-675-1369

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Rare Pair of 19th Century Paintings of the Korean Mountain Spirit (Sansin) with his tiger, and the barefoot Hermit Saint (Dokseong) seated at a stream in a mountain forest. These are the finest paintings we have ever offered. In a country where most of the land is covered by mountains, it makes sense that Sansin the Mountain Spirit is the most revered of Korea's native deities. He is the god most often appealed to for fertility, prosperity, and longevity. This Sansin is a great example of the open-minded syncretism of ancient Korean belief. He is a deity of purely Korean Shamanist origin, crowned by a delicately painted Confucian hat, being served the mythical longevity peaches by a Dongja boy attendant in a utopian Daoist mountain landscape, while wearing a Buddhist robe. For his scepter, he holds a wood staff as gnarled as the pine tree under which he sits. There are below him motifs of the mythical bullocho immortality plant that adorned royal scepters. Sansin paintings can be found in the Sansin-gak shrine of Korean Buddhist temples. Sansin's tiger is the animal lord of the mountain and the messenger for Sansin and the enforcer of his will. The pine tree is a symbol of longevity and tenacity. The ancient Hermit Saint (Dokseong) is in an inspiring remote mountain forest, a Daoist landscape where he seeks solitude and self-cultivation. The pine tree is a symbol of longevity and wisdom. His attire is that of a Buddhist monk. He has been revered for centuries by Buddhists and Shamans. Paintings of Dokseong are companions of Sansin paintings in the Sansin-gak Shrine of Buddhist temples in Korea. Some temples even give Dokseong his own shrine, the Dokseong-gak. This is the only Sansin and Dokseong pair we have seen for sale, and likely the only you will ever see. Most importantly, they are both beautifully and expressively painted. The tiger alone is one of the best we've seen, and Sansin and Dokseong here are rendered with a most skilled and sensitive hand with a fine attention to detail. All Sansin and Doskeong paintings of this era are unsigned, but there is no doubt that the anonymous artist who created this pair was the very best. Each painting is 33 x 23 inches, 84 x 58.5 cm. Each frame is 43.75 x 30.5 inches, 111 x 77.5 cm. Ink and colors on silk. Both paintings are in beautiful condition with the colors intact.