These silk-backed panels, showing a vivid depiction of hunters in a natural landscape, was recently brought back to Korea.
"Barbarians Hunting’ is an eight-panel folding screen which depicts the emperor of the Qing Dynasty out hunting. It was bought at auction in the U.S. and is now on display for the public to enjoy."
The Manchu forces invaded the Korean peninsula twice in the 16-hundreds, leading people in the Joseon Dynasty to call them 'barbarians'.
However, a hundred years later, as the Qing Dynasty's cultural influence grew, people in Joseon Dynasty including King Jeongjo became interested in their lifestyles, which led the one of the country's most renowned painters Kim Hong-do to paint the 'Horyeopdo' panel artwork.
Although this 4-meter long painting isn't one of Kim Hong-do's works, it is still very valuable as it was painted for the court, and is of a higher quality than many of the existing folk paintings.
"The background shows beautiful scenery which can be considered a masterpiece of landscape painting of that time."
The return wouldn't have been possible if not for the efforts of the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation.
It is currently monitoring around 193-thousand cultural assets that are outside of the country.
The chairman says the pandemic made the return especially difficult.
"We usually visit the local site where the cultural asset is up for auction and check it, but we couldn't go due to COVID-19. We discussed with experts about this matter several times, assessed its value and decided to bring it back."
As well as this painting, they have also brought back other cultural assets such as a Goryeo Dynasty 'Lacquered Box Inlaid with Mother-of-pearl Chrysanthemum and Scroll Design' from Japan and the Joseon Dynasty 'Angbuilgu', a sundial from the U.S.
"We also have offices in the U.S. and Japan, so we have close contact with the related organizations and private collectors."
Currently the 'Barbarians Hunting' painting is on view at the National Palace Museum of Korea.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News.