Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Yi Ha-ŭng (also known as Taewŏn’gun), Korean (1820 - 1898)
Orchids and Rocks
Work Type
painting, screen
dated early autumn 1892
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Ten-panel folding screen; ink on silk; with signature reading "Sŏk-p’a ch’il-ship-sam-se no-in chak" [Done by the seventy three year old man Sŏk-p’a]; with seals of the artist reading "Taewŏnkun chang" and "Sŏkp’a" following the signature
paintings proper: H. 145.5 x W. 29 cm (57 5/16 x 11 7/16 in.)
screen mounting: H. 225 x W. 459.6 cm (88 9/16 x 180 15/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: artist's signature and seals


Recorded Ownership History
[Kang Collection, New York (2001)] sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2001.

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 Asian Art and David Berg, Esq., Bequest Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


A royal prince, Yi Ha-ŭng was the father of King Ko-chong (r. 1864-1906), the last king of the Chosŏn 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. Frequently depicted in literati paintings alongside rocks and boulders, the orchid appears graceful, elegant, and unaffected by its rough surroundings. The orchids and rocks in Yi's paintings typically enter the composition at dramatic angles and generally occupy only one corner or one side of a composition.

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--such as this one--each panel is conceived as an individual painting. The ten separate paintings that compose this screen are grouped in four pairs, with an individual composition mounted on the first and last panels of the screen. Each of the four pairs in the middle 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. This screen's large size and its royal authorship indicate that it was painted for one of the royal palaces.

Each painting bears a personal seal of the artist, rather than a seal with the artist's name or sobriquet. For example, the seal in the lower right corner of the ninth panel (second from the left) translates into the aphorism "The best time to view a flower is when it is half open." The other nine personal seal impressions vary from idiomatic phrases to humorous remarks on Daoism and Buddhism. In the very last panel at the far left, however, Yi Ha-ŭng signs and impresses two of his artist's seals to the painting, making the authorship of this important screen indisputable. His inscription translates as, "Done by the seventy-three-year-old old man Sŏk-p'a in the early autumn of 1892."

Publication History

  • Kim Chŏng-suk, Hŭng-sŏn Tae-wŏn-kun: Yi Ha-ŭng ŭi Ye-sul se kye [Hŭng-sŏn Tae-wŏn-kun: The Art of Yi Ha-ŭng], Il-chi-sa (Seoul, Republic of Korea, 2004), pp. 226-229, fig. 61; p. 312, fig. 84 (detail); p. 453, no. 94; p. 487, no. 61

Exhibition History

  • Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 07/06/2002 - 01/05/2003
  • 32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/07/2017 - 06/01/2018

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project
  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

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