Asian Antiques by Silk Road

Korean Ideograph (Munjado) Painting

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Pre 1900: Item # 275794

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This mid 19th century Korean munjado folk painting represents the Confucian value of honor and justice. Ink and slight color on paper, it is matted with silk and framed with a traditional Korean rounded frame. The ideograph, called munjado, is a stylized graphic rendering of a Chinese character. Chinese characters, rather than Korean Hangul characters, were used in Korean arts for many years after the country's official language became Hangul. This particular character may have been used to represent honor, one of the eight Confucian principles, or it may have represented justice, one of the five Confucian virtues. We have seen it used to represent both justice and honor, ideals that may have been used interchangeably. Confucian values were regarded as the cornerstones of Korean society and the ideographs representing them were placed in homes to instill the values in members of the household. (For examples of munjado ideographs see "Korean Art from the Brooklyn Museum Collection" by Robert Moes, Universe Books, New York, and our catalogue listing #168041, "Munjado Screen, Yi Dynasty, Korea.") This painting is in good condition, with just a small area to the left of the calligraphy where the surface of the paper is worn. Dimensions: height 37" (94 cm), width 18" (16 cm).