Pictorial Ideographs (Munjado) of the Eight Confucian Virtues

Title

Pictorial Ideographs (Munjado) of the Eight Confucian Virtues

Subject

Eight confucian virtues

Date

19th Century

Creator

Unidentified Korean artist

Format

Ten-panel screen, ink and color on silk

Type

Painting

Description

Mounted on each side of this screen are unrelated paintings: on one side is a set of the eight Confucian virtues, and on the other a Mongolian hunting scene. Pictorial Ideographs (Munjado) of the Eight Confucian Virtues In pictorial ideographs, called Munjado, calligraphic paintings of Chinese characters are integrated with images that relate to the characters’ meaning. Sets featuring the eight Confucian virtues were popular, which demonstrates the importance of Confucian ideas and practices during the late Joseon period. Always appearing in the same order, the eight Confucian virtues are, from right to left, filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, trust, propriety, righteousness, integrity, and sensibility. Often displayed in a child’s room, the images were didactic and intended to inspire proper values. The pictorial illustrations generally refer to well-known historical stories or legends. Although the characters and their related stories are based on Chinese classics, the aesthetics and design elements are purely Korean. For example, the way in which the a single image is used in the composition as a signifier for a complex story is unique to Korea. In addition, sets featuring all of the eight virtues are distinctly Korean in taste: in China, the individual characters for longevity (shou) and fortune (fu) were consistently the most favored subjects and were usually presented in a hanging scroll format. Although there are many known screens illustrating the eight virtues, LACMA’s example is distinctive because each panel also includes four lines from proverbs related to each virtue. The artist arranged the characters and their visual elements with great harmony, embedding the images with two different techniques: in some characters, the images completely replace a character stroke, while in others, the pictorial elements appear inside an existing stroke.

Publisher

Los Angels County Museum of Art

https://collections.lacma.org/node/170471

Contributor

Gift of Ann and Jack Levine

Identifier

M.87.267
Munja-001

Language

Chinese

Period

Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910)

Culture

Korean

Geographic Origin

Korea

Medium

Ink and color on silk

Dimensions

Image- 20 x 11 1/2 in. (50.8 x 29.21 cm);
Overall screen- 23 1/2 x 130 in. (59.69 x 330.2 cm)

Files

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Citation

Unidentified Korean artist, “Pictorial Ideographs (Munjado) of the Eight Confucian Virtues,” The Museum of Korean Folk Art , accessed October 21, 2021, https://mokfa.omeka.net/items/show/8.