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Identification and Creation

Object Number
An Chung-sik (also known as Sim-chŏn), Korean (1861 - 1919)
Heron Under Blossoming Lotus Plant at the Water's Edge
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
dated to 1909
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper; with artist signature and seals
painting proper: H. 134.1 x W. 43.5 cm (52 13/16 x 17 1/8 in.)
mounting (including cord and roller ends): H. 206 x W. 65.5 cm (81 1/8 x 25 13/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: artist's signature follows inscription and date at upper left: 心田安中植 Sim-chŏn An Chung-sik
  • seal: following artist's signature: 1) square red relief seal: 心田 Sim-chŏn [the artist's sobriquet]; 2) square red intaglio seal reading 安中植印 An Chung-sik in (Seal of An Chung-sik)


Recorded Ownership History
Private Collection, Los Angeles, (1968-2006), sold; to [Kang Collection, New York, (2006- 2008)], sold; to Robert D. Mowry, Brookline, MA, (2008-2016), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2016.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert D. Mowry in honor of Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Executed in ink and light color on paper, this painting in hanging scroll format depicts a white heron standing in shallow waters before grasses, reeds, and a blossoming lotus plant. The heron is portrayed in profile facing the viewer's left, with one leg straight and submerged beneath the water, the other bent and raised slightly above the surface, revealing its talons. The lotus plant artfully frames the bird -- a broad, dark colored lotus leaf provides a contrasting backdrop to the bird’s white, feathered body, while another curled leaf and full white blossom hover above its head like a canopy. While the heron is painted in reserve -- the white of the paper left unpainted while a series of short ink brushstrokes outline his main form -- select areas of foliage are saturated in wet colors, the diluted pigments pooled and layered to create a blurred, watery effect in the composition. The artist, An Chung-sik, inscribed, dated, signed, and applied his seals at the upper left, indicating that he painted the work in the eighth lunar month of the year corresponding to 1909.

In both the Chinese and Korean traditions, the heron and lotus depicted together is a symbol of the ideal Confucian scholar, as the terms for both form a rebus representing the continual success of a scholar-official.

Verification Level

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