Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Yi Ha-ŭng (also known as Taewŏn’gun), Korean (1820 - 1898)
Work Type
album leaf
Chosŏn dynasty, dated to 1874
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Album leaf; ink on colored letter paper
letter proper: H. 22.4 x W. 34.6 cm (8 13/16 x 13 5/8 in.)
[Kang Collection, New York (2006)] sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2006.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of David M. Leventhal and of Mark Gaston
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This rectangular album leaf is a personal letter written by Yi Ha-ung (1820-1898). The last column of calligraphy on the (viewer's) left includes a date that corresponds to 1874 in the Gregorian calendar-that is, the letter is dated to the twentieth eighth day of the eighth lunar month of the kap-sul (Chinese, jiaxu) cyclical year, which corresponds to 1874. The letter paper comprises three vertical columns: buff (viewer's right), white (middle), and cranberry red (left). The buff column displays very subtle embellishment, probably a floral motif woodblock-printed in buff ink. It is probable that each column of paper originally was a separate sheet and that a collector pasted the three sheets together to form a single sheet. In fact, those portions of the letter on buff and white paper (i.e., right and middle portions) make sense when read together, just as their calligraphic style--and particularly the generous spacing of the characters--is virtually identical. By contrast, the contents of that portion on red paper (i.e., left portion) does not easily link with the contents of the other two portions; in addition, the characters are written very close together. The last-named element suggests either 1) that a page is--or several pages are--missing from the letter (and that Yi Ha-ung wrote the last page rather quickly, trying to squeeze everything onto one page) or 2) that the portion on red paper (i.e., left portion) might be from another letter and subsequently was joined to two pages from a different letter. Either possibility makes sense; probably we'll never know the exact situation. In any event, all three portions are from Yi Ha-ung's hand and all seem to date to the same period.

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