Public Presentation of an Eight-Panel Folding Screen with Hunting Scene Purchased from an Auction in the U.S.
- Hunting Scene, a high-quality court-style painting
goes on display at the National Palace Museum of Korea on February 18
The Cultural Heritage Administration (Administrator, Kim Hyun-Mo) and the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation(Chairman, Choi Eungchon) is presenting the Eight-Panel Folding Screen with Hunting Scene(hereafter, Hunting Scene) to the public at 10 a.m. on February 18 at the National Palace Museum of Korea (Director, Kim Dong-Young). The painting was purchased at an auction in the United States in September 2020.
Hunting Scene(胡獵圖, K. Horyeopdo), whose title means northern barbarian people hunting, depicts the emperor of the Qing dynasty (淸, 1616–1912) enjoying hunting. Joseon dynasty was invaded twice by Manchu forces (in 1627 and 1636) over the years that the Ming dynasty (明, 1368–1644) was being replaced by the Qing dynasty in China, and antagonism toward the Qing dynasty predominated in the Joseon court. However, with a surge of influences from Chinese culture in Korea in the late eighteenth century, interest in Qing China grew among the Korean people. Against this complex background and in line with the military policy of King Jeongjo (正祖, r. 1776–1800), who stressed preparedness for war, paintings of hunting scene began to be produced in Korea.
Hunting Scene, which has recently returned to Korea, consists of eight silk-backed panels. It is considered a masterpiece among paintings on this theme for its excellent landscape expression, well-organized composition, and exquisite, vivid depiction of human figures and animals. The first and second panels show an autumnal landscape that begins with a waterfall. The bleak atmosphere of autumn is aptly expressed in the skilled brushstrokes of a court painter. The third panel depicts women from the imperial family going out in a splendid palanquin. The fifth panel features a Qing emperor in a blue robe with a white dragon design and men on horseback in diverse poses. The seventh and eighth panels show a hunter taking aim at a tiger and deer with a bow while others fly at the animals wielding spears and an iron weapon.
It is known that this theme was first painted in Korea by Kim Hong-do (1745–1806), one of the most renowned painters of the Joseon dynasty. His version failed to survive, and is known only from a mention in Essays on Rural Life and Economy (林園經濟志, K. Imwon gyeongje ji). Most of the extant folding screen paintings on this theme are in the folk painting style. By contrast, this Hunting Scene shows features of a high-quality court painting with its magnificent expression of the landscape and exquisite depiction of human figures. It is particularly meaningful as a glimpse into what these paintings looked like in their early stages.
This Hunting Scene will be managed by the National Palace Museum of Korea and will be on display at the Paintings and Calligraphy of Joseon Royal Court Gallery from February 18. The returned Hunting Scene is expected to broaden the scope of research into paintings on this theme, which has thus far been focused mainly on folk painting, and will be utilized for diverse purposes including exhibition and education.
Despite the difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cultural Heritage Administration and the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation will continue to make sincere efforts to identify and retrieve overseas Korean cultural heritage and broaden opportunities for Korean citizens to enjoy and take pride in Korean cultural heritage through public display and effective utilization of overseas Korean cultural heritage.
Attachment: Photo images
Division: Cultural Heritage Adiministration International Cooperation Division /
Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation Research Department
Contact: Kim Byeong Yun (042-481-4734) / Director Kang Haeseung (02-6902-0732)
 Essays on Rural Life and Economy(林園經濟志, K. Imwon gyeongje ji) was written by Seo Yugu in the late Joseon period. It includes sixteen encyclopedic treaties on agricultural economy. Based on Silhak (Practical Learning), the author discussed agricultural policies and argued for a self-sufficient economy.