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[Treasure] Daoist immortals depicted in the Joseon Dynasty

Jan 22,2018
Name: Folding Screen of Gunseondo (Daoist Immortals) by Kim Hong-do

Period: Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910)

Location: Yongsan District, central Seoul

Status: National Treausre No. 139

This picture portraying supernatural figures associated with Buddhism and Daoism was painted by Kim Hong-do (1745-?), who made a name for himself as a painter in the late Joseon Period (1392-1910) under the pen name Danwon.

The picture was originally contained in an eight-part folding screen but is now rearranged in three hanging scrolls.

Combining the parts together, the picture measures 575.8 by 132.8 centimeters (18.8 by 4.3 feet).

Each of the three hanging scrolls containing the parts measures 48.8 by 28 centimeters.

The picture was painted on paper mainly using Chinese ink, in blue, brown and crimson colors. The figure on the right, seated on a cow with one horn and holding the “Tao Te Ching,” was thought to be Laozi.

There are Daoist deities, including Dongfang Shuo holding a peach, and baby monks next to him, all looking to the left. Their contours were portrayed in thick lines and rapid, energetic strokes, and their facial expressions and hands in thin, exquisite lines.

The layout of people with no backdrop, the realistic portrayal of facial expressions and the round eyes are features that are often found in this genre of paintings.

This picture features the portrayal of people in bold yet casual strokes.

Kim’s style heavily influenced the paintings of Kim Deuk-sin and Yi Myeong-gi in the late Joseon Period.