Hawk Paintings (鷹圖)

Hawk Paintings, known as eung-do were also frequently produced for export. In Japan, hawks were prized for their hunting ability and came to symbolize the courageous warrior. As such, they were a favorite subject for Japanese samurai who had been producing and collecting paintings of hawks as far back as the Sengoku (戰國) period. In Korea, the most frequently produced hawk paintings fell into a number of categories including paintings of a hawk on a perch (gaeung-do 架鷹圖),  paintings of a hawk on a pine tree (songeung-do 松鷹圖) and paintings of a white hawk (baekeung-do 柏鷹圖). These types of paintings were some of the most frequently exported paintings at the Waegwan.

Painting of Pine Tree and Hawk (松鷹圖)
Lee Sumin, Joseon dynasty, 18-19th century, 116.2x37.9cm, ink and color on silk, Tokyo National Museum of Japan 

ⓒColBase (https://colbase.nich.go.jp/)

Lee Sumin (1783-1839) was a famous Joseon painter who’s work was especially highly regarded in Japan.  His connection to Japan traced back to his grandfather, Lee Seongnin (1718-1777) who participated in an envoy to Japan in the Mujin year (1748). Painting of Pine Tree and Hawk housed in the Tokyo National Museum, is an example of the type of formalized paintings of hawks that were popular export paintings in the late Joseon period.

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Artworks related to Lee Sumin’s Painting of Pine Tree and Hawk

: Hawks sitting on a perch

Painting of a Hawk (鷹圖)

 Yi Uiyang, Joseon dynasty, 18-19th century, ink on paper, 124.3X42.4cm, Busan Museum of Korea ⓒemuseum

UNESCO Memory of the World

This eung-do was produced by Yi Uiyang, a contemporary and acquaintance of Lee Sumin. The overall composition closely resembles Lee’s painting with a hawk sitting on a small perch at the center of the work. In addition, both artists represent the hawk’s head turned directly across its body.

Painting of a Hawk (鷹圖)

Hae Ong, Joseon dynasty, 18-19th century, ink and color on paper, 106.8X33.5cm, Busan Museum of Korea ⓒemuseum

As in previous examples, the inscription “Joseon” in the lower-right corner indicates that this eung-do by Hae Ong was originally produced for export to Japan. In the painting, a hawk is perched defiantly on an outcropping while ocean waves pound against the cliff face below. In characteristic fashion, the hawk turns its head across its body in a posture of indifference to the perilous storm raging around it.

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