Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Golden Cock and Hen

Unidentified Artist
Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)
19th century
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 45 × 18 in. (114.3 × 45.7 cm) Overall with mounting: 79 × 22 in. (200.7 × 55.9 cm) Overall with knobs: 79 × 24 3/4 in. (200.7 × 62.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
Not on view
Paintings of auspicious symbols were popular in the late Joseon period among all classes of society. This scroll represents a combination of two established themes in Korean painting: birds and flowers and the ten symbols of longevity—sun, mountain, water, rock, cloud, pine tree, tortoise, crane, deer, and mushroom of immortality. This work depicts a golden cock perched on a paulownia tree under the sun and clouds, and a golden hen looking up from her place on a rock with sprouting red mushrooms of immortality. Splashing waves create drama. This pair of fowls seems to allude to the golden pheasant (which despite the name has a reddish body with a yellow crest), which is associated with good fortune.

Auspicious creatures such as tigers, dragons, cranes, and deer appeared on a range of media in the Joseon period, attesting to the importance and prevalence of these symbols in Korean culture.
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