© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Kim Ûng-wôn (also spelled Gim Eung'won; also known as So-ho and Ch'ôn-ram), Korean (1855 - 1921)
Orchids and Rocks
Work Type
screen, painting
late 19th-early 20th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Physical Descriptions
Eight-panel folding screen; ink on sky-blue tinted paper; each of the eight paintings with artist's inscription followed by a signature reading "Soho" (Chinese, "Xiaohu"); the first (i.e., far right) painting also with a signature of the artist reading "Kim Ung wôn"; each inscription preceded by an elongated elliptical red seal and each signature followed by two red seals, all the seals now virtually obliterated through abrasion
each painting proper: 120.8 × 34.2 cm (47 9/16 × 13 7/16 in.)
full screen, open flat: 170.2 × 379 cm (67 × 149 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: artist's inscriptions and signature
[Kang Collection, New York (1999)] sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1999.
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
An important painter and calligrapher of the late Chos˘on period, Kim Ung-w˘on is best remembered for his depictions of orchids, which he painted in the manner of the nineteenth-century master Prince Yi Ha-˘ung. A professor of painting and calligraphy at the Institute of Arts, Seoul, Kim was also one of the founders of the Painting and Calligraphy Association, established in 1918.
The orchid, a symbol of personal integrity, held a fascination for literati painters, since its grasslike leaves and delicate, simple flowers lent themselves to depiction with calligraphic brushwork. Chinese artists began to paint the orchid during the Song dynasty (960-1279), and the subject became ever more popular in the succeeding Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. By the eighteenth century, the taste for paintings of orchids had spread to Korea, where it enjoyed considerable vogue in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Korean folding screens often have six panels, like those painted in Japan; more characteristically, however, Korean screens boast eight, ten, or even twelve panels. In some cases, a Korean screen may feature a single unified composition that spreads across all its panels; in other instances, each panel is conceived as an individual composition. The eight separate paintings that comprise this screen are grouped in four pairs; each pair can be read as a single composition or as two separate paintings. Such visual double entendres held a special allure for Korean literati artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Publication History

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 1999-2000 (Cambridge, MA, 2001), p. 8

Exhibition History

A Decade of Collecting: Asian Acquisitions 1990-1999, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 03/11/2000 - 11/05/2000

Tradition and Synthesis: 19th and 20th Century Works from East Asia, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/22/2001 - 06/09/2002

Re-View: S228-230 (Asian rotation: 1), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/27/2008 - 04/19/2009

Cultivating Virtue: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/12/2012 - 06/01/2013

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu