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Korean J Art Hist > Volume 300; 2018 > Article
Korean Journal of Art History 2018;300:281-309.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31065/ahak.300.300.201812.010    Published online December 31, 2018.
羅聘(1733~1799)의 <鬼趣圖> 연구
최 에 스 더
명지대학교 석사
The Ghost Amusement Scroll by Luo Ping (1733~1799)
Esther Choi
Master, Myongji University
Received: 31 August 2018   • Revised: 30 October 2018   • Accepted: 12 November 2018
Luo Ping, a representative artist of the Yangzhou painting school, produced a wide range of paintings. Li Dou (1749~1817), who was closely associated with artists of the region, mentions highly of Luo: “[He] learned how to paint plum blossoms from Jin Nong (1687~1763) and later produced Daoist and Buddhist figure paintings in the manner of old masters. One of his achievements is the Ghost Amusement, now on everyone’s lips.” The comment by the author of Yangzhou huafang lu (Chronicles of the Painted Barques of Yangzhou) that the Ghost scroll has received remarkable attentions leads this essay to assign great scholarly considerations to understanding the celebrated scroll. After taking a brief look at Luo’s life and career, thus the essay first explores the context of the widespread production of ghost paintings in Yangzhou. It then goes on to discuss the art-historical significance of the Ghost scroll while analyzing pictorial motifs in each scene and its colophons. This paper also examines the import of the scroll in the history of cultural exchange between Korea and China as Korean literary travellers have left many written accounts about the scroll. Ghost paintings have a long tradition, as old as recorded in the Han Feizi from the third century, but they were particularly favored by Yangzhou artists who liked to depict strange and unusual subject-matters. The Ghost Amusement scroll by Luo Ping (now in the P.T. Huo collection in Hong Kong) comprising eight pictures and 127 colophons epitomizes, due to its monumentality, the vogue for painting the apparitional beings in Yangzhou. While the scroll comes likely from no later than 1766, the dates of the colophons by leading literary men are largely concentrated on the periods of Luos’ first sojourn in Beijing (1771~1773) and the third (1790~1798). The afterlives of the scroll suggest that Luo the itinerant artist between Beijing and Yangzhou took great advantage of his work in affiliating himself with prestigious Beijing elites. Luo Ping incorporates light washes and exquisite strokes to distinctively render a visionary realm of ghosts while imbuing the scroll with preexisting popular ghost motifs of the Qing period. The Ghost scroll facilitates an allegorical reading, associating the demoniac deformity with vile and foul human behaviors or alluding to worldly corruptions by setting up a hierarchy between a slave ghost and his master. The social commentary implied in the scroll aligns itself with thematic concerns underlying a wealth of supernatural stories from the period, the notable collections of which include Liaozhai zhiyi (Liaozhai’s Records of the Strange), Zibuyu (What the Master Would Not Discuss), and Yuewei caotang biji (Random Jottings from the Cottage of Careful Scrutiny). The parallels between the scroll and the literature show that the Ghost Amusement scroll is not inseparable from the social and cultural milieu of the eighteenth century.
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