Dragon Amidst Clouds
19th century, Joseon Dynasty, Korea
Painting alone: 38 1/2 x 28 in (97.8 x 71.1 cm)
In Korean Lore, the dragon is revered as a magical creature of unsurpassed power and vitality. Unlike the menacing, fire-breathing dragons of Western culture, the dragons of Asia are benevolent deities. Born from water, they are thought to bring rain, ensure plentiful harvests and quench fire.
Until the end of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), the protective magic of the dragon was invoked and celebrated in numerous ceremonies and rites. This painting of an especially bold and vibrant yellow-and-blue dragon amidst rain-laden clouds would have hung outside the main entrance of a house as a prayer for rain.
Ho-Am Art Museum in Seoul, Korea
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
The Honolulu Academy of Art