Jong Son Paints Mt Kumgang on Skirt


Jong Son (1676-1759) was a famous landscape painter in the 17th century. Unlike lots of scholars of the aristocratic origin who painted abstract fancy as they pleased while drinking and citing poems at home, Jong Son painted what he saw and felt in reality.

An episode about Jong Son follows.

A family sent a silk skirt to his home, and his wife carelessly spilt meat soup on it. Knowing this, Jong Son told her to unstitch the yoke of the skirt, smooth the creases and wash the stained part.

Then he began to paint a picture on a strip of the skirt that was spread. A multitude of peaks of Mt Kumgang rose, and waterfalls like hanging rolls of silk and bottomless pools appeared in a minute. When he forcefully pulled his brush, the stain disappeared in a moment covered by fantastic rocks and cliffs. He painted similar pictures on the other two strips of the skirt.

Afterwards, the owner of the skirt came to his home, and Jong told her he was so eager to paint pictures that he had painted Mt Kumgang on the silk skirt without the owner's permission. Now he was at a loss what to do, he added.

Seeing the pictures, the owner of the skirt rather thanked him repeatedly, referring to the pictures as peerless treasure.

Jong Son said he had nothing more to want as he realised his desire to paint Mt Kumgang on good silk, and gave the skirt's owner the pictures as gifts.

The owner of the skirt, it is said, decorated her home with the biggest of the three strips.

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