set of four scrolls
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Yi Ha-ûng (also known as Tae-wôn-kun), Korean (1820 - 1898)
Orchids and Rocks
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
1896 - 1898
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Physical Descriptions
Set of four hanging scrolls; ink on silk; with signature reading "P'al-ship no-sôk-in chak" on the scroll at the far left; with one large seal of the artist on each scroll and with two additional seals of the artist following the signature on the scroll at the far left
each painting proper: H. 87.5 x W. 30.8 cm (34 7/16 x 12 1/8 in.)
mountings, including cords and roller ends: H. 172.7 x W. 45.4 cm (68 x 17 7/8 in.)
[Kang Collection, New York (2005)] sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2005.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase in honor of John M. Rosenfield through the generosity of Mariot Fraser Solomon
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Label Text: Cultivating Virtue: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art , written 2006
A royal prince, Yi Ha-u˘ng was the father of King Ko-chong (r. 1864–1906), the last king of the Choso˘n dynasty (1392–1910). In addition to being an enlightened statesman, Yi was an accomplished painter and calligrapher who was unsurpassed in his mastery of orchid painting. His style derived from that of the Chinese master Zheng Xie (1693–1765), although Yi more frequently included rocks in his compositions than did the Chinese master. Yi delighted in the contrast between the rough, heavy black brushwork used to define the garden rocks and the fine, flowing, almost calligraphic brushstrokes he employed to depict the orchid leaves and pale blossoms.
Yi tended to paint screens and occasionally sets of scrolls, such as the four on view here. Although each of these hanging scrolls can be viewed as an individual painting, the four are meant to be hung in the present order, such that the two center paintings can be read as a single composition framed by the two outer paintings. Yi Ha-u˘ng invented and popularized this arrangement, and such compositions held a special allure for Korean literati artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Yi Ha-u˘ng signed the painting at the far left P’al-ship no-so˘k-in chak, which translates as “eighty-year-old rock man.” Although the painting is not dated, research has shown that Yi often used this sobriquet during the last few years of his life. Hence, these scrolls are believed to have been created between 1896 and the artist’s death in 1898.

Exhibition History

Cultivating Virtue: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/08/2006 - 04/08/2007

Related Works

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