We always learn something from the past. From the eloquent lines, from traditional paintings to the grand beauty of wooden towers, all remains from the past are full of wisdom and a peaceful way of living. It teaches us the lessons of our ancestors. This is important because it shows what our ancestors normally enjoyed in their everyday lives and best represents what they put priority on. Among the various things that show us traditional beauty and wisdom, today I would like to focus on Korean folk paintings. They were the mainstream of art during the Joseon Dynasty. Please listen carefully as I introduce the folk paintings of Korea and what I have personally learned from them.
Folk paintings were mainly used as functional pictures and widely used by commoners in old Korea to decorate their homes or to express their wishes for long, happy lives. These traditional paintings, normally unsigned, often depicted the same motifs as those of orthodox paintings including landscapes, flowers, and birds. However, they were rich with humor and simple. They were pure about life and the world.
Folk paintings were produced by artists who belonged to low social classes in traditional Korea, but their paintings were used by people of all social classes, from the royal household down to the farmers in remote villages. The paintings were also used in various religious ceremonies like Shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
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Overall, it’s clear that folk paintings were indeed great expressive tools of our ancestors who knew how to enjoy their lives in a harmonious way. There is one lesson that I have learned from beautiful folk paintings. Folk paintings were generally created to express the beauty of everyday life, despite our ancestors’ economic and social hardships. They are still being praised by modern people, although they were not professional drawings. Like this, I think it is time for us busy Koreans to relax a little bit and pay attention to the little beauties around us that are easy to overlook.
In that sense, I think that Korean folk paintings teach us a lesson that helps us be much more relaxed. And by this, we will be able to work more efficiently which will definitely lead to success. I will try to keep the wisdom of our ancestors in my mind, always. Thank you very much for listening.