London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Eleanor Hyun on Korean Munbangdo Paintings (OCS members + guests)

A special lecture given by the BM’s Eleanor Hyun for the Oriental Ceramics Society:

Picturing Possession: Korean Munbangdo Paintings

A lecture by Dr. Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun, curator of Korean collections at the BM
Tuesday 12th February: The annual Sonia Lightfoot Memorial Lecture
5:45 for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis
Society of Antiquaries of London | Burlington House | Piccadilly | London W1J 0BE


A genre of paintings called ‘munbangdo’ emerged in 18th-century Joseon Korea and continued to be popular into the mid-20th century. These paintings, also widely referred to as ‘chaekgeori’ or ‘chaekkado,’ depict a variety of objects with books as a central motif. In their still-life subject matter and pictorial style, the paintings reflect the contemporaneous global trends of collecting, display, trade, and new technologies that were inspiring late Joseon society. The talk will introduce the different types of munbangdo, the objects that are represented, and the socio-cultural environment which lead to advent and development of the painting genre.

Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun curates the Korean Collection at the British Museum. She is from New York City and is a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation is on 18th-century Korean and Chinese Art. Before arriving at the British Museum in 2015, she worked as a Research Fellow in the Asia Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her latest rotation in the Korean Foundation Gallery is entitled “Stars of the Korean Collection.”


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