© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Traditionally attributed to Cho Chi-un [Jo Ji-un], Korean (born 1637)
Wagtail on a Bramble
Work Type
album leaf, painting
17th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Physical Descriptions
Album leaf; ink on paper
painting proper: H. 34.7 x W. 25.5 cm (13 11/16 x 10 1/16 in.)
Nelson Goodman (1906-1998), Newton, MA (by 1994), sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1994.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Louise Haskell Daly Fund and 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: Evocative Creatures: Animal Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art , written 2005
These album leaves bear neither signature nor seal, but a title slip mounted with them states that they are by Cho Chi-un. Among the most important painters of the mid-Chosôn period, Cho Chi-un and his father, Cho Sok (1595–1668), are best known for their paintings of birds—usually of magpies but occasionally of wagtails and others, as seen in these handsome leaves. The genre of bird-and-flower painting arose in China during the Northern Song period (960–1127), spreading to both Korea and Japan. Chinese painters tended to depict birds in color, while Korean and Japanese artists preferred to render them in ink alone. Attesting to their mastery of brush and ink, Cho Chi-un and his father typically forsook the use of outlines, relying instead on the hard edges of carefully controlled ink washes, as seen in the birds and pinks in these two album leaves.

Publication History

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 1998-99 (Cambridge, MA, 2000), p. 37

Exhibition History

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