A modern Sanshin Painting
from North Korea
My buddy & super-mountain-man Roger Shepherd was on his 2nd visit to the DPRK's highly-sacred
Myohyang-san in May 2012, and this time there was an artist selling his paintings in front of Bohyeon-sa
[Samantabhadra the Bodhisattva of Great Vows and Benevolent Action Temple] -- most were traditional
Buddhist icons, but there was this one Sanshin painting available, so he snapped it up, brought it to my
home to show me.  
Remarkable!!  He said that it appeared that North Koreans could also buy these
artworks, not only foreign visitors.  This seems to signify some liberalization on traditional religious
culture from the Pyeongyang rulers, tho how far it extends 'remains to be seen'....
I wonder whether it is a copy of an antique that the artist saw in some museum or book,
or just created from the general motifs.  The tiger is folkish in the pre-modern way, but
not classically bizarre.  The bloated empty left hand shows a lack of artistic skill, and the
right hand gripping the tail instead of a fan, fly-whisk, ginseng root, staff or etc is quite
rare, possibly a parody.  The robes are quite different from those we see in the South,
more elaborate embroidery, more Chinese -- but darker red.  Total lack of elongated
eyebrows, fuller beard than usual.  Background, headgear, and the attendant
dongja boy
with a staff with basket of 9 immortality-peaches are simple and thoroughly standard.