Bamboo in Moonlight

Bamboo in Moonlight

월하묵죽도 (月下墨竹圖)

1500s

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Painting only: 85.2 x 33.5 cm (33 9/16 x 13 3/16 in.); Overall: 163 x 43.2 cm (64 3/16 x 17 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1987.186

Location

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This painting is currently in the Korean art collection, but some stylistic features suggest that it may be Japanese.

Description

This painting depicts the full moon shining through a stand of bamboo, and for Joseon literati it would have conveyed the sense of life in harmony with nature to which they aspired. As one of the "four gentlemen" along with plum trees, orchids, and chrysanthemums, bamboo, which has immense flexibility, allowing it bent to extremes without breaking—symbolize a gentleman's noble virtue. Here, the painter depicted the shining moon rising above a bamboo tree to create a meditative nightly scene.

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