Attributed to SIN HAGGWEON신학권 申學權 (DOAM도암 陶菴, 1785-1866) Geumgang naesan chongdo  金剛内剛揔圖 (A General View of Inner Diamond Mountain)Korea, Jeoson dynasty (1392–1897), circa 1850

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Lot 6310
Attributed to SIN HAGGWEON신학권 申學權 (DOAM도암 陶菴, 1785-1866)
Geumgang naesan chongdo 金剛内剛揔圖 (A General View of Inner Diamond Mountain)
Korea, Jeoson dynasty (1392–1897), circa 1850

Sold for US$ 175,000 inc. premium
Attributed to SIN HAGGWEON신학권 申學權 (DOAM도암 陶菴, 1785-1866)
Geumgang naesan chongdo 金剛内剛揔圖 (A General View of Inner Diamond Mountain)
Korea, Jeoson dynasty (1392–1897), circa 1850

Folding screen mounted on a panel, ink and slight colors on paper, with four seals Doam 陶菴

With two inscriptions as follows:

華人詩曰:願生高麗國,一見金剛山。餘以東[]人居, 六七百年,至四五十,尚未得見。蓋以將老,不能(閱)月遠離故也。既未得足躡其境,常欲想見。枋彿於畫中,而諸帖各異,未知其同不同。大赤坡詩所云:橫看成嶺側成峰。到處看山各異容者耶。(雄?)言魚 齋鄭元伯*所寫,為諸家,(玖)散在人家,其運筆於雲嵐扶[]之巾,而釣得佳境,遠近向背瞭然在目。餘愛而不能捨。始知其我東,妙手獨步於眾中者也,惜其年久漫漶,終歸於澌盡,故乃以新紙摹之。揮灑已畢,釋觚環視,其真真奇奇 ,[]鬼矢,人奪目,恍惚有若變幻於俄頃之間。畫亦然矣,況其真乎,無乃化翁之有意用力於融結之初,而現出琉瑞,千萬諸佛於滄渤之東,而飛仙之所窟宅,靈物之所藏悔者歟。然則其天慳地秘,神剜鬼(削/刻 [])之妙,雖巧於摸寫者,豈得形容於萬一也哉!

A Chinese poem once read: [I] wish I could have been born in Korea so that I could see Mt. Kumgang. I live in the east [of China], (six hundred or seven hundred years), I am in my 50s, but I have still not seen Mt. Kumgang. As I continue to get older, I am no longer able to travel far. Because I've never been able to set foot there, I have always wanted to see it. As for the paintings [of the subject], each one is different; I don't know if they are faithful or not. Su Dongpo's poem says 'Look horizontally, they're mountain ranges; vertically, they appear to be precipitous peaks'. Mountains viewed from different locations show different contours. There is a painting of Mt. Kumgang by Jeong Seon. It has been at my home for a while. The brushwork is superb. I like it very much and cannot put it down. By viewing Jeong Seon's painting, I learned that he is exceptional among many painters [in Korea]. However, the painting is old and in poor condition; eventually it will be gone. Therefore, I copied the painting onto new paper. After finishing it and putting down my drink, [I] looked around [and started to see] forms that were at once real and fantastical: spirits and men flashed before my eyes, as if everything had suddenly changed. The painting also transformed, ..... Was this not God's intention when he created the world? Bringing auspicious things into existence - thousands of Buddhas appearing on the east of the ocean, immortals living in those caves? However, heaven is secluded and the earth is secret. The wonder the gods and ghosts have created, even though one might be good at depicting it, one cannot come close to describing one one-thousandth of what nature is.


又茲山,或名楓岳。前人所詠,五夜虛明長,欲曙四時,寥落 (稀少)易為秋是也。然此帖攬取時景,乃在春夏之交。蒼翠如滴者何也?(几)遊間之,士陟遐冥。搜者多在日長少年之時也。觀是帖者常作此(看[])。

This so-called mountain, also called Mt. Maple, [about which] earlier poets wrote: .... 'night is quiet and long, approaching the early morning, [few leaves left], turning into autumn now'. However, this painting depicts a view of the moment of the transition from Spring to Summer. Why does it seem so green? When [I] travel in the mountains, the climb seems dark.

18 1/2 x 92in (47 x 233.7cm)


  • For a similar painting attributed to the same artist, compare an eight-panel screen of Mount Geumgang in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, reproduced in Ilmin Museum of Art일민 미술관, 夢游 金剛 : 그림 으로 보는 금강산 300년 (Art of Kumgang: From 18th Century to 20th Century in Korean Art), Seoul, 1999, cat. no. 20.
    Since early times Geumgangsan (Kumgangsan, Diamond or Thunderbolt Mountain), a 5,374-foot peak just north of the demilitarized zone on the peninsula's east coast, has been regarded as a national symbol, admired for its spectacular scenery of more than 12,000 stone formations of weathered granite and diorite. The mountain's name varies with the seasons, Geumgang being its spring name; in summer it is known as Pongraesan 봉래산 蓬萊山, in reference to Penglai, the imaginary island of Chinese mythology, a place where spirits dwell. Geumgangsan has been celebrated in poetry throughout Korean history and became a favorite subject for painting during the eighteenth century thanks in large part to Jeong Seon정선 鄭敾 (Chong Son, 1676-1759), (see lot 6315), whose most famous version of Geumgangsan (1734) is registered as Korean National Treasure # 217 and preserved in the Ho-Am Museum. Like the painting here, Jeong's painting shows Naegeumgang (Inner Diamond Mountain), usually considered the most picturesque part of the entire region, and is celebrated as an example of the artist's distinctive style, liberated from undue Chinese influence, based on plein-air observation, and characterized by strong contrasts of light and shade.

    Jeong is said to have executed some hundred versions of the view, (one of which seems to be referenced in the inscription on the present lot), and even though he seems to have had no formal pupils, both his choice of subject—one of the key images of Korean nationalism—and his style influenced generations of Korean artists, including Sin Haggweon who here follows his predecessor's semi-topographical approach (including labels for some of the more celebrated peaks) and extensive use of dots to depict vegetation, a distant echo of the Chinese master Mi Fei (1052-1107). These large-scale compositions were intended almost as a substitute for a real visit: as Jeong Seon put it in an inscription on his 1734 masterwork, "Even if you visit the mountain yourself and tread its every nook and cranny, how can your joy be compared with what you feel upon viewing this picture at your bedside?"

    As a distinguished later depiction of the country's most iconic painting subject, from the hand of a documented artist, this view of Geumgangsan would be a significant addition to any serious collection of Korean painting.
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