Country: South Korea
Hong Jeomseok I Master of Dancheong Painting Holder Shade with Four Deities Paintings, 102.5 x 165.5cm

Dancheong is a form of ornamental painting that is applied to royal palaces, temples and shrines. Dancheong is based on the five colours, blue, red, yellow, white, and black. It is for decorating dignifiedly the palaces, temples and so on by painting various patterns and paintings. There are other names for Dancheong; Danbyeok, Dannok, Jinchae, Dangchae, Ochae, Hwachae, Danchil. People who work in this ground are called Dancheongjang, Hwasa, Hwawon, Hwagong, Gachiljang, Dochaejang and so on. This form of ornamental painting originated in wall paintings done during the Three Kingdoms period and evolved with the introduction of Buddhism.

Hong Changwon

Gachil Dancheong usually uses a green or reddish-brown monochromatic under-painting with no patterns. Geutgi Dancheong adds some decorative patterns by drawing black and white lines on a single-colored under-painting. Moru Dancheong draws a simple-shaped meoricho (pattern) only on the ends of the bracket, and adds the finishing touches to the middle part of the bracket with black and white lines. Geummoru Dancheong is a crossover of Moru Dancheong and Geum Dancheong, adding some geometric patterns to Moru Dancheong. Geum Dancheong boasts the most colourful paintwork, with various kinds of elaborate silk patterns and Byeoljihwa (decorative pictures) drawn on the whole part of the bracket, except the part on which Meoricho is drawn.

Making damcheong involves the following process: a painter plasters blue green soil onto the surface of a building, then lays a choji pattern on the surface, tapping a powder bag on the drawing. As the powder falls from the small holes in the bag, designs are made on the surface. The painter then paints the building with five colours: blue, red, yellow, white and black, according to the design. At this moment, each person handling each colour only paints the pattern with their own colour. Dancheong acts as a surface coating that reinforces weak timber. It also contributes to a building’s majesty and air of sacredness.