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Six Korean Chaekori Panels, Scholar Items, Choson Dyn.

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Paintings: Pre 1900: Item # 1129089

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Six Korean Chaekori Panels, Scholar Items, Choson Dyn.
Six colorful Korean Chaekori panels of the Late Choson (Joseon) Dynasty. 19th Century. [Note: See The Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, inventory item 2003.12.1 a single panel in their Korean collection (viewable on their website) titled “Precious Objects” a “Gift of Mr. & Mrs. R. William Johnston” and identified as 19th Cetury (i.e. late Choson Dynasty). That example is slightly larger than our panel #2 but obviously by the same artist.]* Of the three divisions of Korean Minhwa painting-- Hwacho, Monchado and Chaekori, the last refers to Korean still life painting that depicts scholarly accessories and was intended to inspire reverence for scholastic accomplishment. Collectors of scholar objects will immediately recognize many of the Chinese inspired accoutrements, and their presentation recalls the elaborate display shelves and treasure boxes of the Ching Dynasty elite; however, their depiction here is in a distinctly Korean vernacular style which has gained much attention and recognition in recent years. Each panel depicts a different flower, such as prunus, camellia or a lotus pod, and all include scrolls, some slightly and casually unfurled, colorful treasure boxes, and, especially books— covered in richly patterned brocades which function as a unifying theme and visual motif. Other objects which vary from panel-to-panel include: a box with ink stone and brushes atop a black lacquer display stand, carved brush pots, censers, a gnarled root-form ruyi scepter, a fly-whisk and fans, a teapot, scroll pots, various fruits in offering bowls, including a cut melon showing its segments and seeds, a pomegranate, and an eggplant, a porcelain water sprinkler and a blue and white porcelain vase. We see various objects from different and optically impossible angles within one panel as if the perspectives have been collapsed into a single view. Indeed it seems as if the humble style of Minhwa or Korean folk painting—as opposed to orthodox Chinese inspired painting which was traditionally more highly revered in Korea and elsewhere—accomplished what cubism in the early 20th Century western art world set out to do rather self-consciously and only much later. The paintings are mounted on paper over wooden frames about ¾” thick. The narrow sides of the panels are subtly edged in blue silk floral textile to compliment the brocades depicted in the pictures themselves. The paintings are bordered with ivory-colored silk mats, and each panel is fitted with an attractive, hand-cut, open worked hanging brass. For preservation purposes, it is recommended that these panels not be displayed in bright or direct sunlight. Condition: very good. The paintings themselves are without holes, tears or stains except for one picture which shows a light smudging of a small amount of black ink. There is minor fraying of the ivory-colored silk borders surrounding the pictures, particularly in small areas of repeated handling around the brass hooks. One mat is lightly stained. The paper backing is torn on the reverse of one of panels which is rather insignificant but mentioned only for thoroughness of description. The flaws in the mounting enumerated above are subtle and generally unnoticed. Remounting is not required or recommended. Dimensions: each panel is 28-1/8” high (29-1/2” including attached hook) and 18-1/16” wide. Sight view is 24-1/2” high x 14-3/8”. Price does not include insured shipping and handling. Copyright © 2011 by Robert McCaffrey. All Rights Reserved. [*] That panel is also illustrated on p. 17 of the February 2012 edition ‘Asian Art / The Newspaper for Collectors, Dealers, Museums and Galleries]


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