Korean Sinjung Taenghwa Style Gouache Painting, Late 20th Century
Untitled (Sinjung Taenghwa “Gaurdian Painting” style figural scene with Tongjin Posal), late 20th century
Gouache painting on canvas
Sinjung Taenghwa painting originated in Korea during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897) as a response to the court’s criminalization of all non-Confucian religious doctrines. The practitioners of Buddhism, a religion with deep cultural and historical significance in Korea, were forced to find new and creative ways to continue practicing while still placing emphasis on the honoring of ancestors – the Confucian way of maintaining social order and reaching cosmic harmony. Sinjung Taeghwa, translating to “host of spirits hanging painting” always features the twelve guardians including the central and easily recognizable Tongjin Posal, a Bodhi-sattva adorned in feathered headdress. The guardian figures, often not immediately recognizable as Buddhist deities, appeared to satisfy both the Confucian ancestral worship while acting as a disguised way for Korean Buddishts to continue their religious practice. Forced to flee from under the centralize gaze of the court in the larger cities, Buddhist temples were moved out into rural areas where their veiled worship was less detectable. The paintings are rarely found outside of these temples or even Korea and the knowledge surrounding the specificities of this sect of Buddism’s worship practices is fairly sparse. While this is a far more recent work and not actually produced under the Joseon dynasty, it still functions as a ceremonial object and represents a mostly unstudied facet of Korean history.
- some wear and scratching to the wooden frame; toning to the mat; toning and minor accretion to the composition.
- measures frame, visible image measures 46.75" W x 35.5" H.