Still life with crabs and fish

Yi Yong-u (artist name: Mungno)

Not on view

This pair of paintings celebrates seasonal bounty in a domestic setting. The left scroll depicts four crabs—an autumnal delicacy—escaping from a wicker basket and overturning a flower pot beside a bunch of chrysanthemums and bamboo shoots. The right scroll shows freshly caught fish indecorously hung from an elegant table where open books, a seal paste box, seals, and candle share space with a springtime sprig of magnolia. A branch of green pipa lies below the table beside a water coupe. The bold brushwork, wet ink tones, and vibrant colors further animate this amusing scene. The short inscriptions on the scrolls, written by the calligrapher Yi Gwangyeol (1885–1966), offer tongue-in-cheek commentaries. The left text reads: "Dwelling among the grass and mud, they aspire to be heroes among rivers and lakes." The right inscription states: "Presented for pure appreciation in the scholar's studio."

Still life with crabs and fish, Yi Yong-u (artist name: Mungno) (Korean, 1902–1952), Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper, Korea

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