Bamboo in the Wind

Yi Jeong Korean

Not on view

A premier literati artist of his time, Yi Jeong was celebrated for his poetry, calligraphy, and ink bamboo paintings. There are relatively few extant works of bamboo by the artist, but all evidence a masterly hand. Yi enjoyed a distinguished familial lineage: he was a great-great-grandson of King Sejong (r. 1418–50), whose reign is credited with numerous important cultural achievements, including the invention of the Korean alphabet, hangeul.

This painting demonstrates magnificently Yi’s virtuoso brushwork. Executed in monochrome ink, the painting’s juxtaposition of dark and light ink tones reveals the layers of bamboo, creating a subtle spatial depth. The crisply articulated stalks and leaves—deceptively simple yet difficult to achieve—capture precisely the essential physicality of bamboo and the metaphorical qualities associated with it: nobility, integrity, and high-mindedness. Plum blossoms, bamboo, chrysanthemum, and orchids were associated with the four seasons and became known as the “Four Gentlemen.” Symbolic of the Confucian scholar, this group was a favorite subject of literati artists in East Asia.

Bamboo in the Wind, Yi Jeong (Korean, 1541–1626), Hanging scroll; ink on silk with gold on colophon, Korea

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.