Chaekgeori-type screen


Eight panel Korean screen with painted decoration of books and scholars' equipment, chaekkori type, 19th century, Joseon dynasty, Korea, paper, 138.80 x 387 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

Eight panel Korean screen with painted decoration of books and scholars’ equipment, chaekkori (chaekgeori) type, 19th century, Joseon dynasty, Korea, paper, 138.80 x 387 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

An array of items from the scholar’s studio

In Korea, screen paintings were essentially used as room decorations. Screens designed for women’s quarters were usually decorated with peonies, symbols of fertility and prosperity, while screens for the men’s quarters (sarangbang), were decorated with chaekkori (literally books and scholarly ‘equipment’, also spelled chaekgeori). Here we can see books, writing brushes, inkstones, auspicious fruits with many seeds, and Chinese porcelain and bronzes.

Eight panel Korean screen with painted decoration of books and scholars' equipment, chaekkori type, 19th century, Joseon dynasty, Korea, paper, 138.80 x 387 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

Eight panel Korean screen with painted decoration of books and scholars’ equipment, chaekkori (chaekgeori) type (detail), 19th century, Joseon dynasty, Korea, paper, 138.80 x 387 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

As a strict Confucian state, the Choson (Joseon) dynasty (1392–1910) regarded scholars as belonging to a very respectable profession, and having superior social status. Here the depiction of items from the scholar’s studio, with traditional bookcases as the main motif, symbolizes success in the national civil service examination, or the holding of a high-ranking government post. The objects portrayed are clear evidence of the civil official’s aspirations to rise to the top level of government.

Eight panel Korean screen with painted decoration of books and scholars' equipment, chaekkori type, 19th century, Joseon dynasty, Korea, paper, 138.80 x 387 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

Eight panel Korean screen with painted decoration of books and scholars’ equipment, chaekkori (chaekgeori) type (detail), 19th century, Joseon dynasty, Korea, paper, 138.80 x 387 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

chaekkori screen was considered ideal for display behind the desk in a scholar’s study, where it conveyed an air of dignity, luxury and a reverence for scholarship.

© The Trustees of the British Museum

 


Additional resources:

J. Portal, Korea – art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

Cite this page as: The British Museum, "Chaekgeori-type screen," in Smarthistory, March 2, 2021, accessed October 28, 2021, https://smarthistory.org/chaekgeori-type-screen/.