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Plum Blossoms
Date: approx. 1850
Historical Period: Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)
Object Name: Hanging scroll
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: H. 56 1/2 in x W. 16 1/2 in, H. 143.5 cm x W. 41.9 cm (image); H. 86 in x W. 26 in, H. 218.4 cm x W. 66.0 cm (overall)
Credit Line: Acquisition made possible by Korean Art and Culture Committee
Department: Korean Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2006.1.1-.2
On Display: No

Description

Label:

In these two scrolls, portrayals of old plum trees rise diagonally across the paper like a dragon soaring toward the sky. The rough and exuberantly painted trunk and branches of the plum trees stand in striking contrast to the delicate red and pink plum blossoms. Spontaneous, decorative brushstrokes reveal the artist's passion and deep appreciation for his subject as well as a confidence in his own technique. Jo Hui-ryong once wrote of his obsession with the subject of flowering plums: Surrounded by the large screens of flowering plums that I have painted, I use an inkstone and an ink stick decorated with flowering plums. I have composed a hundred poems on flowering plums, and have further expressed my obsession by hanging a plaque identifying my studio as "The Pavilion of One Hundred Flowering Plum Poems." When thirsty I appease my thirst with plum blossom tea.

Born into a military family of lower rank, Jo Hui-ryong worked as a minor official at the Joseon dynasty court. Even though he had a special talent for painting and poetry, because he belonged to the middle class (jungin), his works were criticized for flamboyance by his teacher Gim Jeong-hui, a member of the literati elite, which favored the use of subtler styles in order to avoid what they considered showiness. Jo was a defender of people who were ignored by the elite. In addition to his paintings, he left a substantialwriting collection, of which the most renowned work is Chronicles of Forgotten Men (Hosan Oegi). In that work Jo sympathized with other men whose low social origins prevented their outstanding accomplishments from being recognized and included in prestigious compilations. These two hanging scrolls were originally part of an eight-panel screen. Other panels from the same screen are in the collections of the Ho-Am Art Museum in Yongin, Korea, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University.


Label:

In these two scrolls, portrayals of old plum trees rise diagonally across the paper like a dragon soaring toward the sky. The rough and exuberantly painted trunk and branches of the plum trees stand in striking contrast to the delicate red and pink plum blossoms. Spontaneous, decorative brushstrokes reveal the artist's passion and deep appreciation for his subject as well as a confidence in his own technique. Jo Hui-ryong once wrote of his obsession with the subject of flowering plums: Surrounded by the large screens of flowering plums that I have painted, I use an inkstone and an ink stick decorated with flowering plums. I have composed a hundred poems on flowering plums, and have further expressed my obsession by hanging a plaque identifying my studio as "The Pavilion of One Hundred Flowering Plum Poems." When thirsty I appease my thirst with plum blossom tea.

Born into a military family of lower rank, Jo Hui-ryong worked as a minor official at the Joseon dynasty court. Even though he had a special talent for painting and poetry, because he belonged to the middle class (jungin), his works were criticized for flamboyance by his teacher Gim Jeong-hui, a member of the literati elite, which favored the use of subtler styles in order to avoid what they considered showiness. Jo was a defender of people who were ignored by the elite. In addition to his paintings, he left a substantialwriting collection, of which the most renowned work is Chronicles of Forgotten Men (Hosan Oegi). In that work Jo sympathized with other men whose low social origins prevented their outstanding accomplishments from being recognized and included in prestigious compilations. These two hanging scrolls were originally part of an eight-panel screen. Other panels from the same screen are in the collections of the Ho-Am Art Museum in Yongin, Korea, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University.