Today in our tour of the world through looking at fabulous artworks, we are headed to Korea to look at a lovely silk folding screen from Korea.
Folding screens date back to as far as 771 BCE from China, but are now commonplace as beautiful and functional objects across the world.
Here is this work in full. To get some better images, click over to the Walters Art Museum. Their fabulous website gives you the ability to zoom in on the artwork and see all the beautiful details. Just click “Explore Object” right above the picture once you are there.
This artwork tells stories of filial piety. What is that, you say? I have no idea. I’ll go look it up. Okay, I’m back. According to my BFF, Wikipedia, “in Confucian philosophy, filial piety is a virtue of respect for one’s parents and ancestors.” Aww yes, this is an excellent artwork to look at with your adorable and surely respectful children and teens.
Here is a list of the stories told on the artwork. Take a look closer at the artwork and compare it with the explanation of the stories to develop a deeper understanding of the work. Better yet, come up with your own stories and ideas based on the artwork and disregard this list all together. Do what you will. (This list below is one big quotation from the Walters’ description of this work.)
- Lao Laizi playing young bird (to entertain his parents) wearing colorfully patched clothes.
- Zi Lu (one of Confucius’ students) carrying rice on his back.
- King Wen (of the Zhou Dynasty) visited and comforted his parent’s illness.
- Madame Tang breast-fed her Aunt, Madame Changsun.
- Huang Xiang fanned the pillow to cool it down (before his father went to bed).
- Xue Bao swept the Court.
- Wang Lian saluted his friend (?).
- Lu Zi put oranges aside to bring them home (for his parents (mothers (?))).
- Wang Jian prayed to shorten his life (for his father (?)).
- Wang Xiang lay on frozen river to melt down the ice and catch fish for his father.
Art Discussion Questions
- What can you tell about the Korean people based on what you see in this artwork?
- Describe the style of this artwork–the lines, colors, textures, composition, etc. What does each panel have in common?
- What is happening in each panel? What is the story being told? How can you tell?
Folding Screens Art Project
Now I’m tempted to come up with a project here where you make your kids make an artwork about how to better respect you–their parent and/or teacher. That is what catty teacher Cindy might do to a group of 8th graders who are continually misbehaving. Actually, I still probably wouldn’t do that. Although, 8th graders would be the ones to make the happen. Or maybe 5th graders. *shudder* 5th graders.
Instead, you probably should just make some folding screens with your kids instead. You could do this on presentation board, poster board, folding paper accordion-style on a small scale. If you want to really go for it, you could have them do paintings on large vertical piece of foam core board, stretched canvas, or canvas board and then tape them together to make a standing screen. If you have multiple kids in your family, this would be a fun project where each kids takes the same subject, does their own artwork, and then they all come together to make one artwork in the end. I’ll find some lessons online for folding screens and put them in the resources section.
More Resources and Citations
Here are some folding screens lessons I found online. A lot of them say Japanese, but you can substitute for this Korean artwork instead.
- Make a Temple Book of Japanese Screen from the Asian Art Museum
- Japanese Folding Screen Lesson — I like the use of materials in this one.
- Creating a Japanese Screen
- A Pair, A Panel, A Presentation: Creating an Image for your School — This is a collaborative screen. Very cool.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the artwork in the comments. Click here to find more art from around the world, and come back tomorrow for a trip to New Zealand! Remember you can get the whole month of Art Around the World posts as a PDF eBook at the end of the month by subscribing to my e-mail newsletter. Enter your e-mail to get that when it comes out! Also, check out my Facebook page. I’m sharing more art from around the world on there. 🙂
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