Polychrome woodblock print of a rooster holding a praying mantis in its mouth with four characters at top center framed by a floral scrolling border
As early as the sixth century AD, it was customary in China to paste an image of a rooster on the door on the first day of the lunar New Year to protect the household. The rooster is associated with the sun, and when the rooster crows it is believed that all darkness of evil disappears. The rooster holds a mantis in its beak. The pronunciation of the characters for "mantis" (tanglang) are similar in sound to those for "promotion to a high official post" (dang lang), implying that the rooster brings good fortune too the family. In addition, the pronunciation of the character for rooster (ji) is identical to that for "auspicious." Other, propitious motifs in this print include a branch of red coral (for wealth), a red peony (for honor) and a pointed green Artemisia leaf (whose strong scent provides protection against evil).
In this image a worker and peasant face one another, each with his own horse carrying the fruits of his labor. The text reads "Mutual aid between the cities and the countryside."
This is a door picture, which stems from the tradition of posting two gods at the door to act as guardians. When the Community Party came to power, the gods were replaced with laborers and peasants, and the religious or folk aspect turned more propagandistic. In this image, the text reads "Mutual aid between the cities and the countryside."
Two male figures wearing official robes and hats, sit side by side on thrones. The one on the right holds a shoe-shaped ingot and a scepter. The god on the left holds only a shoe-shaped ingot. In front of them is basin filled with coins and rarities such as jewels, branches of coral and shining ingots. On the right, a smaller male figure holds a horse on a tray while his counter part on the left holds a brush and a scroll. At the top is a sinuous dragon whose spine is composed of coins and above him is a horse bearing a stack of shoe-shaped ingots.
Two Gods of Wealth, wearing official robes and hats, sit side by side. The one on the right holds a shoe-shaped ingot and a scepter known as a “juyi” (everything as you wish). The god on the left holds only a shoe-shaped ingot. In front of them is the never-empty treasure basin filled with coins and rarities such as gleaming round jewels, branches of coral and shining ingots. On the right, a foreigner, identifiable by his curly beard, large eyes and peaked hat, brings in wealth in the form of a magic horse on a tray; his counter part on the left is an official holding a brush and a scroll. Symbols of wealth fill the picture. At the top is a sinuous dragon whose spine is composed of coins and above him is a horse bearing a stack of shoe-shaped ingots. The horse was the fastest mode of transportation in traditional China; here he gallops to bring in money.
This white porcelain jar has the design of six Chinese sages and an attendant boy with blue underglaze in delicate brushwork. One sage is reading a book, while another is listening. The attendant boy is standing next to the sage with a book. Other four sages are looking at a long hand scroll. Some sages hold staffs on their hands. One sage has a string instrument. The jar has a broad shoulder and an inverted mouth, where the lid is placed. The knob of the lid is in a shape of a reclining boy (unpainted), surrounded by books, hanging scrolls, a cane, and a fan, which are painted with blue underglaze. It also has a shallow foot.
Chinese sages are engaging in literati activities: reading books and looking at scrolls.
This mirror box is decorated with lacquer and mother-of-pearl inlaid designs. Thelid of the box opens upwards, and has brass hinges and a closure in the sahpe of a flower. The lower drawer has a handle in the shape of a bat.
Due to the strict visual codes in the Joseon period, lavish mother-of-pearl inlays were almost entirely limited to objects for wealthy women’s quarters.
Animals and plants associated with conjugal happiness and longevity often appear in pieces for women’s quarters. The drawer pull in the shape of a bat has auspicious connotations. The Korean word for bat, pok, is a homonym of the word meaning happiness.
A tiny tear-drop-shaped metal (copper?) pendant, edged with beading, serving as support for a minature seated image of a Dhyani Buddha, made of inlaid semi-precious stones and copper wire. This may have originally been part of a necklace or tiara, or part of a brooch for a high-ranking monk's ritual costume.
A crowned and jeweled figure of a Dhyana Buddha (a primordial Buddha, venerated in Vajrayana Buddhism), shown seated with legs pendant.
10 cm x 8.2 cm x 4.6 cm (3 15/16 in. x 3 1/4 in. x 1 13/16 in.)
A miniature figure of a tantric goddess, very finely cast by the cire perdue (lost wax) method. The goddess is shown seated in lalitasana pose ("royal ease," one knee bent and the other relaxes) on a lotus dais, which is separately cast. She has 8 arms which are in variants of vitarka mudra (the gesture of teaching). She has three heads, with the two lateral heads seen here as partial profiles; each wears the five-petal tiara of Tibetan Buddhist ritual. Her skirt is unusual, looking to be made of leaves, instead of the usual dhoti. Her hair is painted blue and her lips red.