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Court painter’s folding screen designated as Seoul cultural heritage

Court painter’s folding screen designated as Seoul cultural heritage

Posted August. 07, 2020 07:46,   

Updated August. 07, 2020 07:46


The Seoul city government announced Thursday that it designated “a folding screen with scholar’s accoutrements” by Lee Taek-gyun (1808-?), a court painter who drew in the late Joseon Dynasty, as tangible cultural heritage. Paintings of scholar’s accoutrements are still life paintings of objects found in a study such as books, vases, incense burners, rolls of paper, pencil cases, inkstones, brushes, flowers and fruits.

The folding screen, which is stored at the Seoul Craft Museum, has 10 panels in total. Each panel is adorned with colorful and detailed paintings of books and other various objects on three- or four-shelf bookcases.

Each side of the bookcases that is painted with contrast to create the illusion of depth while objects are drawn in perspective, suggesting that the painter used Western painting skills. Paintings of scholar’s accoutrements usually have painters’ names stamped, which makes it easy to identify when they were painted by whom. The latest inspection of the artwork has revealed that it was drawn with a blue paint imported from the West.

Lee Taek-gyun’s original name was Lee Hyeong-rok, but he changed his name to Eung-rok in his fifties and to Taek-gyun in his sixties. He was one of the painters who drew the portrait of King Cheoljong in 1852 and 1861.

Taek Kyoon Sohn sohn@donga.com