Skip to main content

Ten Longevity Symbols

19th century
Artist/maker unknown, Korean
Despite this painting's title, the artist did not limit himself to depicting only ten symbols of long life. He instead focused on representative objects found in nature: the sun, clouds, water, rocks, mountains, pine trees, bamboo, fungus, turtles, cranes, and deer. All of these elements individually connote longevity throughout East Asia, but it was Korean artists who grouped them into ten, a number that means perfect and full in Asian culture. The rulers of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) were extremely fond of paintings with this subject, using them at various court events including weddings, birthdays, and celebrations of recovery from illness.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.