Identification and Creation
Object Number
2011.20
People
Hŏ Ryŏn (also known as So-ch'i and Ma-hil), Korean (1809 - 1893)
Title
Pavilion by a Waterfall and Stream
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 飛流溪閣
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, album leaf
Date
second half 19th century
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Period
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Culture
Korean
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/337418
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Album leaf; ink and light color on paper; with artist inscription and square, red, relief artist seal reading "So Ch’i"
Dimensions
Painting proper: H. 21 x W. 36.7 cm (8 1/4 x 14 7/16 in.)
Mounting: H. 23.7 x W. 36.8 cm (9 5/16 x 14 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Artist’s inscription:
    Vertically oriented inscription at the upper left corner of the painting.
    The four-character inscription reads "Bi Ryu Kye Kak"; the inscription can be loosely translated as “Pavilion by a Waterfall and Stream”
  • seal: One seal of the artist as follows:
    Upper left corner of the painting, immediately to the left of the last two characters of the inscription:
    Rectangular, red, relief seal of the artist reading "So Ch’i"
Provenance
Kyle Edward Wilson, Jr., Korea, (1965-2002); to his estate, Alvin, Texas, (2002-2003) sold; through [Estate auction, Houston, Texas, 2003], sold; to [the Kang Collection, New York, (2003-2011)], sold; to Harvard Art Museums, 2011.

Footnotes:
Created in Korea in the second half of the nineteenth century;
Kyle Edward Wilson, Jr. (1931-2002), Alvin, Texas (purchased in Korea in 1965, when Mr. Wilson worked for the U.S. Department of Defense as a private citizen; transported to the U.S. in 1967).
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Alan J. and Susanne W. Dworsky
Accession Year
2011
Object Number
2011.20
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Painted in ink and light colors on paper, this rectangular album leaf depicts an autumnal landscape with a scholar seated in a riverside pavilion. Set on stilts that elevate it above the waters, the thatched pavilion is situated between the river and a mountain down whose sides cascades a waterfall, its waters flowing under the pavilion and into the river. The scholar gazes toward the composition’s left edge, which is dominated by the river and the distant mountains, whose details are completely obscured by the intervening mists, which impart a light blue hue. The thatched pavilion appears at the bottom of the painting, in the center foreground. A series of tree-capped hillocks arcs from the composition’s lower right corner to the composition’s center, framing the multi-room pavilion. A tall peak with craggy, vertical sides and plateaus at its top dominates the right half of the composition. The waterfall tumbles down the front of the dominant peak, falling into an unseen stream that flows to the foreground, under the pavilion, and into the lake. The artist’s short, vertically oriented, four-character inscription reading "Bi Ryu Kye Kak" (Chinese, "Fei Liu Xi Ge") appears in the upper left corner of the painting; the inscription can be loosely translated as “Pavilion by a Waterfall and Stream.” The artist’s rectangular, red, relief seal reading "So Ch’i" (Chinese, "Xiao Chi") appears immediately to the (viewer’s) left of the inscription’s lower two characters.

The artist’s inscription/title, particularly the characters "Bi Ryu" (Chinese "Fei Liu"), which Ho Ryon used to mean “waterfall,” suggests that the scene might well have been inspired by the Chinese poem “Gazing at the Waterfall on Mt. Lu” (Chinese "Wang Lu Shan Pu Bu"), which was composed by the Tang-dynasty poet Li Bai (701-762):

Gazing at the Waterfall on Mt. Lu (Censer Mountain)
By Li Bai

The mists enveloping Censer Mountain (Mt. Lu) shimmer violet in the sunshine.
The distant waterfall recalls a river hanging from the sky,
Its flying waters cascading straight down from three thousand feet up.
Is it the Milky Way tumbling from the highest heavens, star by star?


Despite its likely literary reference to a poem of Li Bai, the painting’s style derives from that of the Qing-dynasty Orthodox-school masters Wang Hui (1632-1717) and Wang Yuanqi (1642-1715). The portrayal of the scholar and of the thatched pavilion recalls the works of the Ming literati painter Shen Zhou (1427-1509).


Exhibition History

Recent Acquisitions, Part II: Building the Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/19/2012 - 09/29/2012

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