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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Joseon Dynasty Portraits of Meritorious Subjects: Styles and Social Fuction

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2005, v.45 no.2, pp.151-181

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Abstract

The title gongsin, or meritorious subjects, was bestowed by the king to those who performed distinguished services for their state. The king usually ordered the painting of the gongsin portraits, and these paintings were a great honor not only for the subjects themselves but also for their families and descendants. The earliest record of gongsin in Korea dates to 940 when King Taejo of the Goryeo dynasty ordered the construction of a shrine to honor the subjects who had participated in the founding of the new dynasty. However, none of these portraits remain today. In the Joseon dynasty, as many as 28 titles were granted to commend meritorious subjects. This was accompanied by a massive boom in portrait painting. The gongsin portraits from the Joseon dynasty share several characteristics: they are all full-length seated portraits; the sitters wear an official robe (dallyeong), a black silk hat (osamo) and an embroidered insignia on the breast of the official robe indicating their official rank; they wear leather shoes and their feet are placed on a footstool. From the nineteenth century, scholar-officials also had their portraits painted gongsin style, and this style was quite popular up until the end of the dynasty.

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Reference

1.

(2002a) The Portrait Paintings of the Joseon Dynasty: Categories and Social Functions,

2.

(2002b) Joseon hugi jungguk chosanghwa-ui yuip-gwa hangukjeok byeonyong: "bugyeong sasin jiraebon" 赴京使臣持來本 eul jungsim-euro(The Influx of Chinese Portraits and Its Influence on the Joseon Portrait Paintings: Focusing on the Portraits of the Envoys to Beijing),

3.

(2003) Joseon-ui gongsindeul (Meritorious Subjects in Joseon Dynasty), Seoul: Garam Gihoek

Korea Journal