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Eight ink still life drawings of stacked bookcases.

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  • Eight ink still life drawings of stacked bookcases.


late 19th -early 20th century



About this artwork

Chaekgeori are Korean still-life paintings that were popular during the latter part of the Joseon dynasty. Three-dimensional effects were commonly used in chaekgeori, as was reversed perspective, in which distant objects are shown larger than those nearby, thus flattening the pictorial surface. These different treatments of spatial illusion resulted in compositions with a highly graphic feel that is enhanced by the decorative patterning on the depicted objects. It is clear that such still-life images did not have realism as a goal. Instead, chaekgeori (defined as “painting[s] of books and associated things”) were seen as conveyers of cultural values. They were most often displayed within studios or schools and reflected reverence for scholarship and learning. In this screen, scholarly tools are depicted along with flowers, plants, food, rare imported objects, and religious implements. These motifs express varied meanings; for example, eggplant represents the promise of a long life, while musical instruments symbolize harmony among people. Such a profusion of auspicious meanings indicates that chaekgeori may not have been restricted to the scholarly environment; they may also have served as talismans ensuring harmony within the home and beyond.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia




Korea (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1392–1910


Ink and color on paper mounted on silk brocade with wooden frame


162.5 × 415.2 cm (64 × 163 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Wirt D. Walker Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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