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 Home >> Art & Craft >> Paintings

Minwha, Painting Used for the Decoration,
on the Basis of the Belief

Minwha, are paintings in which the artists painted folk tales as well as the lives of middle and lower class Koreans in ancient times. One doesn't know exactly when Minwha began appearing in Korea, but Koreans have believed since ancient times that the paintings drives away disaster and, thanks to the charm, one can achieve something that one hopes for.

Minwha is used mainly for decoration at home. The painting, Minwha are used for the decoration of wall. They are also painted on the folding screen used for keeping cold air away from different parts of the room at home. It was also painted on the covers of object used as means of transporting a bride, decorated with flowers, it was also painted on the fan on the date of wedding.

In general, Minwha, paintings by artists in Korea are based on shamanism, and the characters are often images of nature and animals. Pine trees symbolize a long life in the Minwha, and the mountains in the paintings symbolize the belief and respect toward the nature. The painting of flowers represents prosperity, happiness, and benediction.      

Artists paint flowers such as peony blossoms, lotus blossoms, and chrysanthemums in many of the Minwha paintings. The birds such as peacock, and mandarin duck are drawn as a pair in the Minwha and represents a happily married couple. Vegetables and fruits symbolize the prosperity and the wealth of descendants. Imaginative animals such as dragon, and Chinese phoenix represent ones prayers for the prosperity and long life of someone.

Every Korean Minwha painting is not original. Many of the pictures were produced by imitating samples of an original painting.      Korean Minwha is appreciated for its practical use more than for it's original artistic value. Unknown artists who were not instructed painted a great number of pictures. Therefore, the paintings were discriminated against. They qualified as low quality paintings that only the lower class of people favored.

Even though many Minwha paintings were the result of an artist imitating another's technique of expression and subject matter, each painting has a characteristic of originality in its expression of the content.

Though the artists repeat the same subject matter, one can see the individual character each artist in describing the natural beauty of each simple painting.    Each artist ended up gradually developing their own special characteristic technique over the course of repeating each painting.

Minwha became popular in modern times when feudalism was dissolved. Minwha is practical for fulfilling the cultural desires of the middle and lower class of people during the time when they start showing their sentiments and conscious in society.

There is a large variety of Minwha paintings, even though it was not systematically developed as an art.      

Each artist painted a scene from Korean life that was important to them.    One can often see Minwha in the village of Insa,(get off at the station of Anguk on the subway line no. 3), which were used for decoration, and based on the belief cultural beliefs.      

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