Full-length portrait of Goryeo’s Yi Je-hyeon
Period: Goryeo Period
Location: Yongsan District, Seoul
Status: National Treasure No. 110
This is a full-length portrait of Yi Je-hyeon (1287-1367), a renowned Confucian scholar-statesman of the late Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) who was active in introducing Goryeo to the new academic achievements made in China’s Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) through his friendships with eminent Yuan scholars, including painter Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322).
He left several important writings, including National History (Guksa) and Scribblings by Yeogong (Yeogong Paeseol).
The portrait, 93 centimeters wide (3 feet) and 177.3 centimeters long, is made with ink and paint on silk. It depicts the scholar seated in a chair and contains at the top a eulogy written by Yuan scholar Tang Binglong, as well as Yi’s own postscript expressing his delight about the discovery of the painting 33 years after its production.
Still in fine condition, the portrait is regarded as an important source of knowledge about the techniques adopted by Goryeo portrait artists, such as the use of lines to depict the details of the face and clothes, the sitter’s direction and the treatment of the sitter’s background.