Yi Sang-Beom (1899-1978)

Ho: Cheongjeon entered the Seohwa Misulhoe at 15, studied with An Jungsik (father of modern Korean painting) “Simjeon (An’s penname) of Youth” mastered the Wang Meng influenced style of landscape painting inherited from An and Jo Seok-jin. Began to explore modernism in the 1920s. part of tongyunsa

Yun Yong-gu (1852-1939)

b. 1852-1939 Renowned for his excellent calligraphy, the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) government official Yun Yong Gu (Seok-Chon) is even today a household name. Yun was also a celebrated painter of bamboo, orchids and landscapes. Yun's calligraphy is in the collection of Ho-Am Art Museum, The National Museum of Korea, and The Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University, The Smart Museum at The University of Chicago and The Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University. Disheartened by Japan's occupation of Korea, Yun Yong-gu left the public arena in which he was so well known and spent his last years as a recluse. This perhaps explains the poignant sadness and noble acceptance of hardship that imbue his calligraphic poems which lay embedded in Yun's bamboo paintings-the traditional literati symbol of endurance and pure solitary beauty-as his subject.

Unified Silla dynasty (668–935 A.D.):

Under this dynasty, the Korean peninsula was united under a single government for the first time in history. Korean culture flourished during this period, creating a strong political and cultural legacy for the country’s subsequent rulers.

Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.–668 A.D.)

By the middle of the fourth century A.D., the Korean peninsula was divided among the three kingdoms of Goguryeo, in the north, Baekje, in the southwest, and Silla, in the southeast.

Silla kingdom (57 B.C.–668 A.D.)

The kingdom located in southeastern Korea during the Three Kingdoms period. By the late seventh century, Silla succeeded for the first time in Korea’s history in unifying most of the peninsula under a single government, known as the Unified Silla dynasty.


A room used as a study by the male head of a yangban household.

Scholar's accoutrements

These consist of brush, ink stone (byeoru) for diluting the ink, ink stick, paper, brush holder, writing desk, brush rest, and a water dropper.


Literally means “Mountains and Water,” and refers to paintings of mountains paired with lakes, rivers, streams, or waterfalls, done on folding screens, scrolls or walls.


The inlay technique used in the decoration of celadonware produced during the Koryô dynasty. The design is incised or carved into the unbaked, leather-hard clay and the resulting depressions are filled in with a white or black substance to highlight the design.

Samguk Yusa

Samguk Yusa refers to the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms. The second of Korea’s two earliest surviving histories. It was compiled by the Buddhist monk Iryeon (1206–89) about 1285. Most of the text consists of Buddhist legends from the Shilla period.

Samguk Sagi

Samguk Sage refers to the histories of the Three Kingdoms. The first of Korea’s two earliest surviving histories. It was compiled under the direction of the Confucian scholar-official Kim Bushik (1075–1151) and presented to King Injong (r. 1122–46) of the Goryeo dynasty in 1145.

Prince Yi Ha-ung (1820-1898)

Orchid and rock literati painter and powerful political figure of the late-nineteenth century


A white-bodied, nonporous ware primarily made of kaolin, a clay containing quartz, feldspar, and limestone. It is covered in a clear glaze and fired at a temperature in excess of1200º C. Porcelain began to be produced in Korea during the Joseon dynasty, in the first half of the fifteenth century.


Literally, “undecorated”; a term used for unglazed, plain earthenware pottery made in the Bronze Age.


Munjado refers to calligraphy that often depicts variations of Chinese characters. The meanings are related to Confucianism. Colorful oil paints were used.


The four essential tools of calligraphy: ink brush, ink, paper, and inkstone (Four Treasures of the Study in China)


Literally, paintings by the people; folk art and decorative painting by general public (usually very colorful)


A vessel with a tall profile, small mouth, short neck, broad, round shoulder, and constricted waist. One of the most distinctive shapes among Goryeo celadon wares, the form was derived from the Chinese meiping (“prunus vase”) but is distinguished from its counterpart by a saucer-shaped mouth and a body that displays a pronounced S-shaped profile. The production of maebyeong continued into the early years of the succeeding Joseon period but ceased after the sixteenth century.

Lotus sutra

Sutra of the Lotus Blossom of True Doctrine (Saddharmapundarikasutra) is one of the most important Buddhist scriptures and along with the Avatamsaka Sutra was the most frequently copied during the Goryeo period. The period emphasized the essence of Mahayana Buddhism or the Great Vehicle the doctrine of universal salvation of all living beings and the attainment of Buddhahood.

Literati style

This style often has an off center focus, photographic framing, close cropping, zooming large scale effects, and a preoccupation with the near field while emphasizing background to maximize space and depth.

Korean Landscape paintings

Landscape paintings produced an interplay between brushwork and calligraphy. Unlike Chinese art, Korean perspective was more about capturing a personal moment. In a landscape, man is not reduced to insignificance by cosmic forces but rather a central fixture in compositions as the actor, watcher, individual untainted by Taoism. Harmony was the ideal, scholarly elite in a largely rural world.

Kim Hong-do (1745–1806)

A prolific court painter of the Joseon period best known for his engaging genre paintings depicting the daily life of all classes of Korean society. A versatile artist and one of the most influential artistic personalities of his timehe also excelled in the subjects of landscape, portraits, Daoist and Buddhist figures, and plants and animals. (Pyungsaeng do)

Kim Gyu-jin (1863-1933)

b. 1868-1933 The famous literati painter of the late Joseon Dynasty, Kim Gyu-jin whose penname is Haegang, excelled at figure painting, calligraphy, and the decorative painting of the royal court, but is especially renowned for his literati works of plants in ink. Kim taught calligraphy and painting to Kim Gojong's son, and in 1920 was commissioned by King Sunjong to paint a mural of Geumgang-san (Diamond Mountain). Kim was instrumental in developing new Korean artists; he opened one of the first modern art galleries in Seoul in 1913, and founded a three-year training course for new artists. His works are displayed in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, The Ho-Am Art Collection, Changdok Palace, the Mary Burke Collection, and Harvard University's Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

Kim Eung-won (1855-1921)

b. 1855-1921 Known for his ink orchid paintings, Kim Eung-won (Soho) is believed to have assisted Prince Yi Ha-eung (1820 - 1898), the famed orchid and rock literati painter. As regent (1864 - 1873) for his young son, King Gojong (1864 - 1907), Prince Yi was also the most powerful political figure of the late-nineteenth century. Kim played an important role in Korean art during the first quarter of the 20th century. He worked closely with other famous painters such as Jo Seok-jin and An Jung-sik, and taught orchid painting at the Academy of Painting and Calligraphy (Seohwa Misulhoe Gangseopso), the school established immediately after Japan's 1910 annexation of Korea to ensure the preservation of the Korean painting tradition. Kim was also one of the founding members of the Association for Painters and Calligraphers (Seohwa Heophoe) established in 1918. Although Kim was influenced by Prince Yi Ha-eung, he also experimented with more daring compositions, and fluid and free brush techniques. Kim Eung-won's works are found in the National Museum of Korea, Kan Song Museum in Seoul, Ho-Am Art Museum in Yong In, Harvard University's Arthur M. Sackler Museum and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Jung Kwang (1935-2002)

Known as “The Mad Monk” and the “Picasso of Korea” the monk-painter led a controversial lifestyle drinking whiskey, eating meat, and claiming to have had sex with animals. His internationally acclaimed artwork reflects his philosophy of :unlimited action: with vigorous and painterly brushstrokes. “Jung communicates a sense of liberation and wildness that is nonetheless tempered by a serenity stemming from his deep empathy with life and nature. “ “ordained as a monk under Son Master Kuh in the Chogae Buddhist Order at Dong-do Monastery in 1962.


Bridal crown

Inlay technique

Artisans applied the inlay technique not only to lacquerware but to other media as well during the Goryeo period in keeping with refined court taste.

Jeong Seon (1676-1759)

Jeong Seon, Ho: Kyumjae, was one of the most important and successful Joseon painters, the creator of the painting style jingyeong sansu or true view landscape painting. His ideas were rooted in Neo Confucianism, Korea as heir to Chinese culture. He was an academy painter who worked in both Zhe school and literati manners, but later developed a very personal style. Freely depicted native subject matter, especially scenic areas and native dress. He is traditionally acknowledged as the leading exponent of the new trend in landscape painting in the early eighteenth century, known as “true-view” landscape (Jin Gyeong).


Ho stands for penname. For example: Kim Eung-won, Ho: SoHo


Ox horn painting technique which traces back to the Three Kingdoms periods in the 5th century

Heo Ryeon (1809-1892)

b. 1809-1892 Heo Ryeon, also known as Ho Yu, was a talented poet, calligrapher, and is considered the 19th century's most important Korean painter. His teacher Kim Chong-hui (1786-1856) praised Heo as "unrivaled east of the Yalu river." Heo's work became the basis of the Korean modern southern painting school, known as Honamhwap'a. His works are in the collections of The National Museum of Korea, Kan Song Museum, Ho-Am Art Museum, The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, and The Korea University Museum.


Running script


Regular script, official and very clearly written


Gwiyal stands for brushed slip wares. Slip is an aqueous clay substance used in the production of ceramics. Slip is applied with a coarse brush leaving visible and decorative brushmarks.

Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392)

During this dynasty, Buddhism enjoyed widespread favor and flourished under the patronage of the royal court as the state religion. During this time, beautiful Buddhist paintings and sculptures were produced and were even said to have surpassed China's Song Dynasty Buddhist paintings. This period was also characterized by frequent diplomatic, commercial, and cultural links with China and lands further to the west. During this period, Korea produced the famous celadon wares, which were admired for their enchanting green color.

Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.-668 A.D.)

Situated in the northern part of the Korean peninsula, the largest of the three states in the Three Kingdoms period. At the height of its power, Goguryeo controlled over two-thirds of the peninsula.


A curved, comma-shaped ornament, usually made of jade, found on royal paraphernalia in tombs of the Three Kingdoms and Unified Silla periods.


Painting of Mt. GeumGang/Diamond Mountains – JEONG Seon was the best-known painter of Mt. GeumGang, also known as Diamond Mountains which overlook the Eastern Sea. The stones he painted resembled monks standing in a line.


Mt. GeumGang or Diamond mountains was a traditionally favorite subject for ink painters. Mt. GeumGang is the most famous mountain in North Korea that is part of the Taebaek Mountain Range that runs along the east of the Korean peninsula. It was a very important subject matter for ink paintings because of its variety of over 12,000 peaks and shapes.


A plucked zither, one of Korea’s oldest and most popular musical instruments.

Gaya Federation (42-562 A.D.)

The Gaya Federation was one of the small groups of semi-independent principalities that emerged during the Three Kingdoms period, by the middle of the fourth century A.D. Gaya was located between the kingdoms of Baekje and Silla in the lower Naktong River Valley, in the south central part of the Korean peninsula. It was noted for its production of iron ore and iron implements. The Gaya Federation was later absorbed into Silla to help create Unified Silla.

Four Gentlemen

The Four Gentlemen refer to the four gracious plants that were revered in the Joseon Dynasty: plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum.


Classic symbol of male power, wisdom, and strength. In Korea, the dragon symbolizes great benevolence and is associated with all four Eastern religions: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Shamanism. The dragon could be represented as a water spirit, take human form as the Dragon King, or be a fierce creature holding the Yeoiju or Flaming Pearl, a magic stone that represents wisdom and immortality. The dragon came to symbolize heaven as well as the royal court. It is said that if a man dreams of a dragon, he will have great success while if a woman dreams of one, she will bear a son.


A low-fired pottery made from common clay to which a proportion of other materials may be added to achieve good working and ring properties. Earthenware, which is usually fired between 600º C and 1100º C, is porous and permeable.


Dolmen refers to a burial site formed of upright stones supporting a horizontal stone slab. Dolmen tombs, which first appear on the Korean peninsula in the Bronze Age (ca. 10th–ca. 3rd century B.C.), are more numerous in Korea than in any other country in East Asia.


Ink of the highest, finest quality


In both court and folk screens, there are three principal types of chaekkori compositional formats. The first and most elegant type represented an actual bookcase. Artists were able to play with linear perspective and chiaroscuro within this format. The second type is the isolated format where scholar’s objects float against a blank background. The third type is the tabletop format in which objects are placed on or around a table surface in order to ground the image.


Used to describe stoneware produced in the Goryeo dynasty that are covered with a glaze containing a slight amount of iron-oxide and fired in a reduced-oxygen atmosphere to achieve a grayish blue-green color. Celadon wares were only produced during the Goryeo dynasty and were no longer produced in the following Joseon period, with the rising popularity of white porcelain.

Byeon Gwan-sik (1899-1976)

Byeon was a renowned modern Korean painter. His penname is Sojung and is the grandson of Jo Seok-jin. Byeon Kwang Sik, alsong with Yi Sang beom was the leading master of traditional ink painting during the 1950s and 1960s.

Buncheong Sagi

Following the popularity of celadon, prior to the widespread use of porcelain, buncheong stoneware was made of common clay containing iron, decorated with simpler, freer, more abstract designs than its predecessors, drawn or inlaid with white slip, and used by all classes. Buncheong is meant to describe the bluish-green color that resulted from the glaze that contains a slight amount of iron. Stamped and brushed slip decoration were basic features of buncheong wares. Buncheong ware was produced in the Joseon dynasty, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Bronze Vessels

Typically used in Buddhist ceremonies; included incense burners, flower vases and kundika water bottles that were usually inlaid in silver, and occasionally in gold or brass.


Wrapping cloth crafted by women who sewed scraps of recycled fabric together. Bojagi, which was perceived to hold the good wishes of the person who wrapped the object within the cloth, played an integral part in the everyday life of all social classes of people during the Joseon dynasty

Bronze mirrors

Bronze mirrors were essential accessories for women of the Goryeo court. They were also placed inside tombs to quiet spirits.


A hairpin


Scholar’s symbol of an upright, unbending character during the Joseon Dynasty. Bamboo is also one of the Four Gentleman of literati painting.


Bandaji literally translate to half chest and refers to half closing chests that were used for holding blankets and clothing.

Baek Nap Byung

Baeknapbyeong, literally “Hundred Paintings,” was a type of collaboratively made literati screen popular during the 17th through 19th centuries. Scholar-gentlemen would gather to drink, write poems, paint, play the gayageum, and discuss literati art. During some of these gatherings, each scholar present would paint a few small paintings which the host would then collect and organize as a Baeknapbyeong screen commemorating the event. Thus, Baeknapbyeong screens were pastiches that featured the works of a number of different literati artists. Though many Baeknapbyeong screens once existed, these valuable screens have in recent times been cut up so that each painting could be sold off piece by piece. As a result, very few original Baeknapbyeong screens exist.

Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.–660 A.D.):

The kingdom located in southwestern Korea during the Three Kingdoms period. Because of its proximity to Japan, Baekje played an active role in the transmission of important cultural and religious practices to Japan, including Buddhism and Chinese characters.


A bodhisattva, a future Buddha, whose essence is that of enlightenment in Mahayana Buddhism. Avalokiteshvara stands for the bodhiisattva of compassion. This bodhisattva is variably depicted as male or female.


The women's quarters of a Joseon family house. Also called the inner quarters because they were located at the inner part of the house, hidden from the public.

An Gyeon (An Kyon) (active ca. 1440–1470):

The foremost landscape painter and court painter of the early Joseon Dynasty. Little is known about this artist, who was awarded an unprecedented high rank and served more than four kings in a career of about thirty years. His primary inspiration was drawn from the Chinese Northern Song painter Guo Xi (ca. 1000–ca. 1090), whose works An Gyeon would have seen in the eminent collection of his ardent patron, Prince Anpyeong (1418–1453). An Gyeon’s style had a tremendous effect on Korean landscape painting both during his lifetime and in later generations. As Korea’s most famous fifteenth-century landscape painter, An Gyeon’s mid-Joseon style was marked by his wet brushwork technique, atmospheric quality, clear delineation of foreground, middle ground, and background, and cursory execution.


According to the scriptures of Pure Land Buddhism, Amitābha possesses infinite merits resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. "Amitābha" is translatable as "Infinite Light," hence Amitābha is often called "The Buddha of Infinite Light." He resides over paradise in the West.

Glossary of Korean Art

Ajip to

Gathering of gentlemen

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