Hanging scroll, ink on silk
Overall: 103 x 112.4 cm (40 9/16 x 44 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1998.31
Yang Ki-hun was one of the most commercially successful painters active in the late 19th century.
The plum’s status as the orthodox symbol of the literati’s pure spirit originated in Lin Bu’s poem "Tiny Plum Flowers in Mountain Garden." The plum was also widely depicted in Korean paintings as part of the Four Gentlemen—or Four Gracious Plants—motif. Here, the plum and bamboo express literati spirituality while the bird with its head pointing downward indicates the artist’s feelings about the unstable situation at the end of the Joseon period. Yang Ki-hun was a Korean scholar-official renowned for painting and calligraphy. King Gojong (reigned 1863–1907) was one of Yang's prominent patrons.
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