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San-shin, Korean Mountain Spirit

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Pre 1900: item # 140300

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San-shin, Korean Mountain Spirit
San-shin, the mountain god, is the subject of this very large 19th century stone color on canvas painting that once hung in a Korean Buddhist temple. A special area was set aside in most temples to honor the mountain spirit, which was gradually absorbed into Korean Buddhism from shamanistic belief beginning around the 15th century in the early Chosen Period. Temple paintings of San-shin always show an old man and a tiger. The mountain spirit is not exclusively the old man or the tiger, but is represented by both. Sometimes, as in this painting, they are accompanied by an attendant. They generally are pictured in a valley with a stone cliff on their right and a tree to their left. Given that basic pattern, it is interesting to note the many delightful interpretations various artists were able to work into their mountain spirit paintings. The figures in this painting are executed in detail and with character--richly decorated robes and wispy, see-through beard on the old man; a penetrating gaze and bristling whiskers on the tiger. The canvas is backed with paper and the painting is unframed. It is in very good condition. Dimensions: height 51" (130 cm), width 72" (183 cm)


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