Korean Folk Art – Chaekkori

The Korean chaekkori (chaekgeori) is a still-life genre of painting that focuses on books and other objects associated with the scholar, such as inkstone, calligraphy brush and paper. Below are examples of details of screens from the late 19thcentury.

Korean Folk Art Chaekkori Behind Curtain 19th Century


During the Joseon (Chosun) Dynasty (1392-1910) silk screens were painted in this style for the royal court, both as backdrops for important ceremonies and also as symbolic statements.


Books represented the value and power of knowledge, and the ideas contained within them were believed to be instruments for change.

Korean Folk Art Chaekkori Book Case
Korean Folk Art Books and Scholar Objects Screen

In the late Joseon period, chaekkori became part of the popular art movement of Korean folk art. Painted on paper and used to decorate homes, not just court, they also included auspicious symbols of animals and fruit.

For more images visit The Art Institute of Chicago.


When Jean was living in Seoul, South Korea, an artisan described the chaekkori as a collection of the scholar’s favourite and most important objects.


Over the years this genre inspired Jean to paint various chaekkori. Here is Jean’s Umbrian version of some of her favourite things.

Detail of Umbrian Chaekori by Jean Tori 2021
Chinese Lion Dog Incense holder and Buddha


Some details include Jean’s dog looking out on a snowy view, Korean candlesticks, paintbrushes in a hand-painted container and a porcelain yellow and green Chinese lion dog incense holder.

Jean also painted some of her favourite Chinese carpets including one with chickens and roosters, here below.

Comparing the original carpet to her painting you can see how Jean recreated it into her own unique style.

Chicken and Rooster Chinese Carpet

The ideas behind the chaekkori and painting a collection of objects that have meaning and importance have become part of Jean's designs.