Popular in Korea, folding screens were created to decorate rooms and a backdrop to enhance the festive mood for special events such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. Adorned with symbolic images with auspicious meaning, folding screens have long been loved; and more recently become a study subject among art historians, who see them essential in understanding Korean art and culture of the late Joseon period.
This screen depicts General Guo Ziyi’s birthday banquet held in his walled mansion with multiple buildings and pavilions, surrounded with auspicious flora and fauna, against a landscape with a waterfall in the distance.
The general is shown seated under an outdoor tent in the center with his sons and grandsons watching a female dancer and musicians.
Purchased by William Buchwalter Van Nortwick (1911-1988). A Monuments Man, Northwick was awarded the Bronze Star for his service during the Korean War. He purchased this screen from Samuel W. Lee & Company, circa 1951-52, where its provenance was provided as being given by King Jeongjo (r. 1776-1800) of Joseon Korea to the grandfather of the original owner, whom Lee identified as Song Sung Chin.