Ancestral shrine painting

Unidentified artist

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 233

Filial piety, honor and respect for parents, is one of the central principles of Confucianism, and ceremonial rituals honoring one’s ancestors—called jesa—were fundamental to Joseon society. Jesa were performed in a sadang (ancestral shrine hall) with name tablets and a table bearing food and drink offerings. This painting depicts the exterior of a sadang with an offering table in front of it. Ancestral shrine paintings were used as substitutes by people who did not have a sadang or were conducting the rites away from home.

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