Understanding Korean food culture from Korean paintings

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


Background In Korea, there are many traditional foods that have developed along with the country's rich history. In addition, various food cultures have developed through agricultural traditions, ritual ceremonies, and the sharing of affection. Paintings, works of calligraphy, and music demonstrate some of these cultural characteristics of Korean foods. Further research and analysis of Korean food culture using these data sources is currently underway. Methods This paper focuses on the cultural characteristics of Korean food revealed in paintings from the Chosun dynasty. The 10 most renowned paintings, including the work of Kim Hong-Doh, a representative artist in the Chosun dynasty, will be discussed in relation to the cultural characteristics of Korean food. Results The results of our analysis of the genre paintings show that the characteristics of Korean food are well portrayed in these paintings in the same manner as Pansori. For example, genre paintings show that food is a symbol of power, which can be used to control people. Food has also been regarded as health supplements and medicine, and people have shared their feelings and affections through food culture. In addition, food contains people's wishes and is used as a medium to communicate with Gods. Conclusion Beyond the basic value of food in maximizing nutrients and energy, Korean food culture has developed distinctive cultural characteristics through more than 5,000 years of agricultural history. Although the genre paintings analyzed in this paper are limited to a certain era, this paper will serve as a milestone in providing direction for future studies.




Chung, H. K., Chung, K. R., & Kim, H. J. (2016). Understanding Korean food culture from Korean paintings. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 3(1), 42–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jef.2016.01.002

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free