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Past Event

Saturday University: Chaekgeori, Korean Still-Life Painting

Mar 7 2020

Asian Art Museum

Emma Baillargeon Stimson Auditorium

10 AM – 11:30 AM

Your safety and wellbeing are our highest priority. In light of recent Seattle & King County Public Health recommendations regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made the decision to cancel this event.

Marvelous Journey of Precious Objects: Chaekgeori, Korean Still-Life Painting

Sunglim Kim / Dartmouth College

The saying, "Dallying too much with objects kills one’s will (to study)," long prevented Korean scholars and painters from collecting and publicly displaying splendid objects. However, a new kind of "still life" painting, chaekgeori, full of foreign and luxurious objects, suddenly appeared in the late eighteenth century. What was its origin? And what had happened to Korea?

This talk first examines how and what objects, ideas, techniques, and people traveled from West to East. Second, we will explore how to "read" chaekgeori and to see the transition—from a rigid, frugal Confucian society to a material, consumer culture—reflected in these paintings, and how people used them for their own purposes. Lastly, we will see how chaekgeori evolved and changed in content, size, and symbolic meaning as they became popular among the public.

About the Presenter

Sunglim Kim is Associate Professor of Korean Art History at Dartmouth College, specializing in material and visual culture of Premodern Korea. Her book, Flowering Plums and Curio Cabinets: The Culture of Objects in Late Choson Korean Art, was published by the University of Washington Press (2018). She also co-organized a 2016-17 traveling exhibition, The Power and Pleasure of Possessions in Korean Painted Screens, and co-edited the exhibition catalogue. She is currently working on a second book, on the subject of women, art, and gender in modern Korea and organizing a traveling exhibition on a contemporary Korean ink artist, Park Dae-Sung.

Please note: This event takes place at the Asian Art Museum. Live streaming is not available for this lecture.


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Marvelous Journey of Precious Objects: Chaekgeori, Korean Still-Life Painting


Full series tickets: $62; SAM members $42
Individual lecture tickets available at the door: $11, SAM members $7; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts, or your seat may be released.

Image: Detail of Painting of Scholar's Equipment, Joseon Dynasty, silk, 198.8 x 39.3 cm (Each panel, folding screen), National Museum of Korea, Dongwon 3322.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.