ISSN : 1229-0076
This article analyzes the female figures and feminine space in court ceremony paintings of late Joseon. I attempt to expand the discussion from a gendered perspective, which has until now been limited to paintings of or by women, to a wider genre of paintings through the concept of feminine space. First, I examine narrative figure paintings such as “Guo Fenyang’s Enjoyment of Life” and “The Banquet of the Queen Mother of the West at the Turquoise Pond” to look at space symbolizing women. Although these paintings are based on Chinese historical narratives, they contain many elements that recall the inner palace, the feminine space in the palaces of Joseon, and inner banquets, which were rituals of women. The arrangement of the inner palace on the right, or east, side of the paintings in contrast to their Chinese versions is likely related to how hall in which the queen dowager resided was referred to as the eastern palace in late Joseon. Meanwhile, the feminine space in court ceremony paintings, which recorded royal rituals, shows how the status of women changed in these rituals. The boundaries and public nature of inner banquets expanded in late Joseon. Such changes were reflected in the expression of feminine space in court ceremony paintings, including visualizing feminine space, which used to be hidden behind red beaded curtains, and placing the queen dowager’s seat at the clear apex of the hierarchical composition. The strengthening of the presence of the queen dowager and the expansion of feminine space in court paintings of late Joseon can be thought in relation to how the political influence of the women of the royal family expanded through their regency.