The History Of The Korean Peony

If you take the time to look at Korean art throughout history, you might notice the recurring image of a peony used across different pieces. Today, peonies are still commonly seen in Korean and Korean-inspired art - at KORE, we have taken inspiration from the peony motif in our own designs, most recently in our KORE Peony design. However, these flowers were not only used as a decorative detail; the use of peonies in Korean art actually has an interesting history as a symbol.

In Korea, peonies are known as the “king” among flowers because of their large blooms and bright colors. This has made peonies a common symbol of royalty. Peonies are also known as flowers of wealth as they also represent prosperity and nobility. These flowers were a frequent motif for artists in the Goryeo dynasty and the early and mid-Joseon Dynasty and were often being painted alongside birds and other plants.

Want to learn about our other design inspirations? Check out our blogs:

More On The Korean Flag and Behind Our Drip Flag Design

This tradition was continued by late Joseon-era painters. These later artists actually placed even more emphasis on peonies than was seen in earlier works, and often painted the flowers without any accompanying birds or plants. These blossoms were also painted fuller and more voluptuous. The peony paintings of this time were typically donor with ink washes (only using black ink) or ink and color washes. The use of peonies was so prolific that even the Joseon royal court used a peony-themed folding screen during important royal rites and events.

In the past, we explained the inspiration behind our KR-AM Passport design. Read more in our blog:

Behind the Design: KR-AM Passport

Interested in getting some of our peony designs? Our KORE Peony design were recently released as part of our Summer ‘21 collection.

The KORE Peony design comes in a crewneck in the colorways Petrol Blue, Rose, and White Heather.

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