The biggest of all calligraphic works ever produced by a public figure, the calligraphy album by mid-Joseon scholar and government official Woo-am Song Si-yeol is on display for the first time.
The Sungkyunkwan Museum announced on Sept. 20. that in celebration of its 50th anniversary it will be displaying Woo-am’s work for three months starting on Sept 22. in the museum’s exhibition hall.
The seven-meter-long calligraphy album’s eight letters read "It is easy to earn wealth but it is difficult to keep honor and integrity," a quotation from the 54th volume of Zhu Xi Da Quan (Song dynasty Confucian scholar Zhu Xi’s collected works). Each letter measures 80 to 90cm.
The work is said to have been given to his apprentice Nong-gye Yi, Su-un who defended his master with his life when Woo-am was framed and politically under attack.
In 1853 Woo-am’s 8th descendant, First Vice-Premier Song Gun-su, in the epilogue of the album wrote "In receiving this calligraphy from Nong Gae’s descendant I have bound it into an album and will cherish it as a treasure."
It has been in the possession of SKKU since 1967 and for this exhibit was framed into a folding screen.
“As the biggest calligraphy work produced by a public figure, and a work that holds cultural significance, this is its first ever debut,” explains the Sungkyunkwan Museum.
This exhibit which will be on display until Dec. 22 also shows the calligraphy works of great Joseon Confucius scholars such as Toegye Yi Hwang, Yulgok Yi I, and Nammyeong Jo Sik.
The exhibit also shows its 50-year-old procured collection of celadon, buncheong celadon and white porcelain from the Koryo and Joseon dynasties in an exhibit titled "Greener than emeralds and purer than white jade - 100 porcelain masterpieces.“