Hanging scroll, ink and light color on paper; 54 x 22 3/4 in. (137.2 x 57.8 cm)
Purchase, Bequests of Harrison Cady and Louisa McNeary, by exchange, and Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1987 (1987.195)
Ink monochrome paintings of grapevine (Grapevine in the Wind, 1994.439) were popular among literati painters throughout the Joseon dynasty. Painters of the nineteenth century expanded on the earlier traditions of ink-grape painting, and often worked in larger formats, including folding screens. This hanging scroll may originally have been part of a larger set. Squirrels are occasionally depicted on the branches of the vine, as in this example.
Although not indigenous to the Korean peninsula, the grape was introduced at least by the eleventh century, judging from its appearance as a decorative motif on Goryeo (9181392) celadon. Although its exact symbolism remains unknown, the grapevine, abundant in fruit and sprawling in growth, were likely associated with wealth and fecundity. During the Joseon dynasty (13921910), the plant was featured not only in painting but also on white ware, in cobalt blue, copper red (Jar, 1979.413.2), or iron brown.