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Duck, Heron, Four Gentlemen, Three Friends

Yang Gi-hun (Seuk-eun)

Asian Art

MEDIUM Ten-panel folding screen: colors and gold on silk
  • Place Made: Korea
  • DATES late 19th century
    DYNASTY Joseon dynasty
    DIMENSIONS image, each panel: 48 13/16 × 12 5/8 in. (124 × 32 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Sealed "Seuk-eun"
    SIGNATURE Signed "Yang Seuk-eun"
    CREDIT LINE Lent by the Carroll Family Collection
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Screen consisting of ten discontinuous paintings of birds and plants, each accompanied by a poem in Chinese characters (to be translated). The paintings are on a purple silk ground and are rendered in gold paint. From right to left, the panels represent: Two geese and autumn grasses Plum tree in bud Heron or crane with autumn grasses Chrysanthemums with ? Lotus flowers and leaves with autumn grasses ? with full moon Peony bush in full flower Orchids Bird perched on pine branches Bamboo and rock The plants represent the "Four Gentlemen" (plum, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum) and "Three Friends" (plum, bamboo, pine), common motifs in East Asian art. The birds are also symbolic, with the crane representing long life and the ducks (or geese) representing marital fidelty. Paintings in metallic paint on dyed purple silk ground are very rare and were made only for the royal court. The artist, Yang Ki-hun (Seuk-eun), was a scholar official from the CHunghwa Yang lineage in norther Korea, who served as Senior Third-Rank Secretary (the equivalent of Minister of Culture) at the P'unggyong Palace in Pyongyang, known as the Western Capital, and at the royal court in Seoul. He is said to have been a member of Min Young-ik's first Korean plenipotentiary mission to the United States in 1883.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Yang Gi-hun (Seuk-eun) (Korean, 1843 – 1919). Duck, Heron, Four Gentlemen, Three Friends, late 19th century. Ten-panel folding screen: colors and gold on silk, image, each panel: 48 13/16 × 12 5/8 in. (124 × 32 cm). Lent by the Carroll Family Collection, L2022.2.7 (Photo: Image courtesy of Joseph Carroll, L2022.2.7.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, L2022.2.7.jpg. Image courtesy of Joseph Carroll, 2022
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    Yang Gi-hun (Seuk-eun) (Korean, 1843 – 1919). <em>Duck, Heron, Four Gentlemen, Three Friends</em>, late 19th century. Ten-panel folding screen: colors and gold on silk, image, each panel: 48 13/16 × 12 5/8 in. (124 × 32 cm). Lent by the Carroll Family Collection, L2022.2.7 (Photo: Image courtesy of Joseph Carroll, L2022.2.7.jpg)