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5. Lotus and Carp Screen

anonymous
19th century, Korea

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The lotus flower, being known for the immense quantity of seeds it holds in its distinctive seedpod, is popular as a folkloric symbol of abundance and fecundity. Also, as Chinese word for lotus is a partial homonym with “harmony” and “union,” lotus paintings were often commissioned for a wedding. In Buddhism, the lotus emerging pristine from murky water is the symbol of purity and dignity. It is often compared to a true gentleman with a noble character.

Below the flowers, pairs of male and female carp harmoniously swim in the water. Besides bringing the serenity, peace and harmony of the pictorial world into the home, the picture of carp carries wishes for marital happiness and the birth of a healthy son who will bring honor to his family. Carp were also often painted to signify success in society and were displayed on special occasions such as the day before a young man takes the official
examinations.

Selected Collections:
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii
Ho-Am Art Museum, Korea
Koryo Museum of Art, Nara, Japan
The National Museum of Korea, Seoul
Serizawa Keisuke Art Museum, Shizuoka, Japan




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