Six Legendary Chinese Sages In Landscapes
overall shot © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Chông Yusûng (also known as Ch'ui-ûn), Korean (born c. 1650 )
Six Legendary Chinese Sages in Landscapes
Work Type
painting, screen
late 17th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Physical Descriptions
Six-panel folding screen; ink on paper; each painting with signature of the artist reading "Ch'ui-ûn" ("Drunken Hermit")
each painting: H. 59.4 x W. 37.8 cm (23 3/8 x 14 7/8 in.)
full screen (with mounting): H. 151.8 x W. 308.6 cm (59 3/4 x 121 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Signature on each painting: Ch'ui-un (Drunken Hermit)
[Kang Collection, New York (December 1993)] sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1993.
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane Fund for the Acquisition of Oriental Art
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Label Text: A Decade of Collecting: Asian Acquisitions 1990-1999 , written 2000
In this screen, Ch˘ong Yu-s˘ung has depicted six famous Chinese worthies in a style reminiscent of Chinese literati paintings. Despite the painting's Chinese flavor, the bold, expressionistic brushwork and the large figures that dominate the landscapes they inhabit distinguish it as a work of seventeenth-century Korea. The sages-some mythical, some historical-are shown in acts that identify them as exemplars of Confucian or Daoist virtue. The figures display a variety of physiognomies and personalities, just as the landscapes reflect the changing seasons. Each painting bears the artist's signature-a sobriquet reading Ch'ui-˘un (Drunken Hermit)-in its upper left corner and a poetic title of four characters in its upper right corner; the sages and their stories are so well known in East Asia that a quatrain suffices to identify each scene. Arguably the most important Korean literati screen in the United States, this is one of four Korean screens acquired by the Sackler in the 1990s. The acquisition of these screens, of several Korean hanging scrolls, and of the Nelson Goodman collection of Korean paintings-thirty album leaves dating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries-signals the museum's commitment to the formation of a comprehensive collection of Korean art that includes paintings, ceramics, and Buddhist sculptures.

Exhibition History

Masterworks of East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/03/1995 - 06/09/1996

A Compelling Legacy: Masterworks of East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/24/2004 - 03/20/2005

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 05/31/2015

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

Related Works

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