Art for the People!

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Here’s a suggestion! Instead of buying expensive art, how about just mounting pieces of paper on your wall with painter’s tape instead?

Just kidding…though this is actually what my bedroom wall has looked like for the past couple of weeks.

When I was in Seoul last year, I bought some prints at the National Folk Museum of Korea and stuck them on my office wall with adhesive mounting tabs. They are a type of minhwa (folk painting) I’ve long admired, called chaekkori or munbangdo, i.e.: still life paintings of books and other scholarly paraphernalia. I have some reproduction scrolls featuring this genre of art:

including this one:

…which is still hanging on my office wall:

This style of painting became popular in the late 18th century during King Jeongjo’s reign in the Joseon dynasty. In these paintings the scholar’s “four friends”: paper, ink, a brush, and an inkstand are always depicted. Additional symbolic items may also be included, such as a pomegranate to represent fertility, eggplants to symbolize male children, or gourds to symbolize long life, wealth, and happiness. In King Jeongjo’s palace, chaekkori paintings were mounted on screens and used as a backdrop behind every scholar’s desk. What began as a royal conceit to reflect a reverence for scholarship, became the height of fashion. Korean parents would sometimes hang these paintings in their children’s rooms to inspire them to study, which, when I think about it, strikes me as possibly THE most Korean thing ever.

Lately we’ve been making some changes to our master bedroom, and I decided the prints would look perfect over our new bed. Michael’s had ready made frames on sale for almost half off at $22.49 each. The prints are not all the same size, but that problem was solved when the framing department custom cut mats for me for about $25 each. They would have charged about $60 more per print just to insert them into the frames, but who needs that?! So, to frame all three prints, it cost less than $150.

This is as far as I’ve gotten:

I removed the paper inserts from the frames, attached them to the backs, and marked where the hooks are:

…Which brings us back to this:

One of these days, maybe tomorrow (?!), I’ll actually get around to putting in the nails and hanging the pics. Stay tuned for the finished look!

Until then, because I am a Korean mother after all, I thought I’d create my own modern day chaekkori tableau to inspire my children to greater heights of academic achievement:

So uplifting, right? (Those poor, poor children).

 

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