Painter Of The Night: The scarf, a small but significant detail 😉 (second version)

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Everything started with an exchange between me and one of my followers, @itscathyboo. The latter was asking about the signification of Lee Jihwa’s red scarf. Then she asked the same question concerning the painter’s blue navy scarf. Her last question caught me by surprise, for in my eyes the scarf always looked more grey than blue. From that moment on, I started investigating the artist’s scarf and as such the other characters’ too. By examining closely the muffles, I was able to come to new interpretations.

1. The lord’s gifts

That’s when I realized that the lord had already ordered clothes for the painter even before visiting the tailor shop in chapter 39. Why? No one has ever wondered about the circumstances how the artist came to wear the shirt in Mountbatten pink. It suddenly appeared in episode 35: (chapter 34) (chapter 35) Besides, I have already said that every event will occur twice, though we don’t witness everything directly. This means that the lord visited the tailor twice.

While rereading the episode 34, a detail caught my attention. Compare the hanbok at the end of chapter 33 and the one in episode 34: . Striking is that the second hanbok has a pattern (bird). This indicates that the lord had dressed up!! It was, as if he wanted to impress the painter, a new version of episode 23.

But when he entered the bedchamber, it was already dark. So where did he spend his time between the moment he left Min’s domain and arrived home? Remember that when he departed from Black Heart’s pavilion, the sun was still up. (chapter 33) So where did he go during that time? In my opinion, he must have stopped at the tailor shop and buy new clothes for Baek Na-Kyum, but also for himself. Why?

Due to Min’s words, the lord got reminded how precious Baek Na-Kyum was. Moreover, he had not forgotten that his only servant and possession had gotten sick due to the thin but wet pink shirt. Consequently, he decided to act as a good and caring lord. However, he couldn’t just order a shirt for someone else. He needed an excuse for ordering a new attire. So he went to the tailor and bought a hanbok for himself and added the shirt with the pants. Why do I think so? It is, because of the tailor and lord’s behavior in chapter 39. The former had never seen Yoon Seungho purchasing clothes for someone else. (chapter 39) Yet, we know that the protagonist had already bought the new attire. In addition, the lord tried to hide his relationship from people (chapter 39), hence he asked the tailor and Kim to leave the shop. As you can see, in that scene Yoon Seungho paid attention to his “image”.

That’s the reason why I believe that he bought the new clothes in “secret”. But when he arrived in the bedchamber (chapter 34), he had not the Mountbatten pink shirt with him. This signifies that he must have brought it to the study, because that’s the place he had carried himself the sick painter. And remember that in episode 84, he said this: (chapter 84) So he must have been looking for Baek Na-Kyum in chapter 34 too. And naturally Kim approached him and told him this in my opinion. He had brought him back to the bedchamber, because it was the warmest room in the mansion, a new version of this panel: (chapter 34) That’s how he recovered, and the painter must have been thankful for his generosity. Hence he was waiting for him in the bedchamber. It is possible that he encouraged his lord to be careful. That way, the butler would appear as caring and selfless, while in truth he was hoping that his master would turn into a sex machine again and lust for sex. As you already know, Kim’s MO is always to report information in delay. I came to this theory, because of the lord’s words in the bedchamber. Note what he stated before letting the artist leave his room: (chapter 34) He might have been reminded by the butler, while in reality the valet desired to achieve the opposite. Besides, since Kim’s other MO is always mixing a lie with a truth, I deduce that Kim lied to his master to a certain extent. Consequently I assume, Kim told him that Baek Na-Kyum was waiting for him in the bedchamber. This would also explain why the lord dressed up too, but his facial expressions exposes his hesitation and doubts. Therefore he decided to go to bed without any ceremony and started removing his beautiful hanbok. With this interpretation, we could explain why the noble was surprised by the painter’s reaction. (chapter 34) Why would he leave the bedchamber, when he was supposedly waiting for him. But when he heard the artist’s justification (chapter 34), he accepted the artist’s decision for a different reason. Baek Na-Kyum was himself too weak. As you can see, the butler’s lies backfired, since minus (lie 1) and minus (lie 2) makes +. The butler’s trick didn’t work out like planned, yet it caused Yoon Seungho some pain, for the latter had the impression to stand in front of a huge puzzle. He couldn’t understand Baek Na-Kyum at all and even predict his moves. That’s why he spent the whole night trying to figure out the artist’s behavior. So when the artist returned to the study, he must have found the clothes left by Yoon Seungho. That’s the moment he started wearing the Mountbatten pink jacket.

And now, you comprehend why the main lead got so upset and jealous the next morning. (chapter 35) He had offered him clothes, given his own room for a while and even allowed him to leave the bedchamber the night before, and the next day he had to see him smiling to Jung In-Hun!

Furthermore, when the artist arrived in the domain, he only had his tools with him and that was it. Consequently, I deduce that Yoon Seungho bought him the new clothes so that he wouldn’t get cold and sick. This means that on his way home (chapter 34), Yoon Seungho made sure that the artist would be better clothed. This is important, because it shows a change in Yoon Seungho. Slowly, he is dressing up, showing a certain pride as a noble. By dressing up his servant, his only possession and treasure, he is making a statement, the painter was representing him, though I don’t think Yoon Seungho has ever realized this dimension. For him, it was just important that Baek Na-Kyum doesn’t get sick. The manhwaphiles can sense this mentality, when they observe the chapter 39. The lord entered the tailor shop dressed up, but he wasn’t the only one dressed up. Kim was also wearing a hanbok with a hat. Like I had already mentioned it before, the valet did it in order to outline that he was the lord’s right-hand. He was also making a statement. Baek Na-Kyum wasn’t the only one receiving good clothes. This truly shows that in Joseon, a close servant was perceived as a representative of his master.

I am suspecting that the lord didn’t just order this shirt for the painter (chapter 78), but he must have bought another one: the burgundy one that Baek Na-Kyum is wearing in episode 84. (chapter 84).

So the change of clothes in chapter 34 could be an indication that he bought a new hanbok as well. Let’s not forget that when Min provoked him, the latter was reminded that Baek Na-Kyum was his only possession, his treasure, (chapter 33). Hence I believe that he must have realized that he needed to pay more attention to his “companion and servant”. Besides, the manhwaphiles will certainly remember that in chapter 52, the lord was dressed up with a beautiful hanbok, while Min provoked him again. (chapter 52) As you can detect, I see a strong connection between treasure and clothes. Besides, Min, the tailor and the painter’s clothes are often mentioned or seen together. (chapter 41) (chapter 74) Therefore I came to the conclusion that Yoon Seungho must have bought clothes in chapter 34.

Thus when he visited the tailor with the artist in episode 39, it was to order winter clothes: (chapter 44) But no one truly paid attention to the previous gifts Yoon Seungho had made to the artist. Besides, he even gave the artist socks. (chapter 36). In episode 30, he had no socks. (chapter 30)

Though the new clothes were not a real sign for a couple set, Yoon Seungho desired to make a statement. The painter Baek Na-Kyum was his everything. Moreover, he desired him not to get sick. Furthermore, the manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget that in chapter 38, he let the painter carry his own jacket: (chapter 38) In fact, during the first season, he allowed the artist to wear his own clothes on two occasions: chapter 26 and 38. Then in the second season, he offered his own scarf to the artist in episode 69 and his hanbok in episode 71 .

That’s how I came to the following deduction. After each wrongdoing, the lord offered new clothes: chapter 34 and 69!! Therefore I am inclined to think that after his recent relapse, the master must have given him new clothes. Moreover, if his companion was in danger to catch a cold, he would offer his own clothes. As a conclusion, the lord offers clothes as exchange for his mistakes, a sign of repentance. That’s his way to beg for the artist’s forgiveness. Simultaneously, he also buys new outfits for himself so that the latter are somehow matched to his companion. (chapter 35) (chapter 34) and (chapter 84): grey-burgundy versus black -red. The similarities of the colors should outline their appartenance. Both are belonging to each other. And now, you comprehend why the new shirt is burgundy. It was selected by the noble displaying his own mental disposition. He is not truly alive, he is still tormented by his past and pangs of conscience.

Burgundy: a dark purplish red, it is more sophisticated and serious and less energetic than true red. It indicates controlled power, determined ambition and dignified action and is often favored by the wealthy.” quoted from

2. Blue or grey?

Now, it is time to examine Baek Na-Kyum’s scarf. First, before interpreting the symbolism behind this item, it’s necessary to determine the color. The majority saw it as blue and they were right. (chapter 69) However, they were referring to the one in episode 69. What everyone failed to recognize is that the scarf in episode 69 is not the same than in episode 44. Note the slight difference: In episode 44, it is definitely grey and there’s no blue. That’s how I realize that in episode 69, Yoon Seungho offered his own scarf to the painter!! In other words, in the first season, the noble bought a set of clothes for the artist and himself: a grey muffler with a hat for the artist, a dark blue grey scarf for himself! That’s how I realized that when the lord ordered new clothes for Baek Na-Kyum, he bought new clothes for himself too which led me to the discovery in chapter 34. This theory explicates why in chapter 69, he only brought the muffler and no headgear, for the noble is expected to wear his hat. This means, he desired to obtain couple clothes. That sounds cute, right? But there’s more to it.

3. The choice of the colors

What caught my attention is that grey and blue have something in common. They are associated to melancholy, sadness and depression.

“Blue: Negative keywords include: […] depressed and sad, too passive, self-righteous, superstitious and emotionally unstable, too conservative and old-fashioned, predictable and weak, unforgiving, aloof and frigid. It can also indicate manipulation, unfaithfulness and being untrustworthy.” quoted from

Grey: Negative keywords include: indecisive, non-emotional, indifferent, boring, sad, depressed, lifeless, lonely, isolated”. quoted from

This truly outlines the noble’s mental state at the end of the season 1. He was actually depressed and sad! Why? It is because he had decided to release the painter. When he made love to the painter, he realized that he couldn’t console the artist. He sensed that if the artist remained by his side, he would become a “prostitute” and we know for sure that Yoon Seungho hates prostitution. This means that he had decided to give up on Baek Na-Kyum and was revoking his previous decision. (chapter 42) Therefore he made the following resolution. He encouraged the low noble to bid farewell to Baek Na-Kyum with the hope that the artist would decide to follow his “master”. (chapter 44) Though he was smiling here, we have to envision that deep down, he was sad and depressed. And I have another evidence for interpreting the lord’s smile in such a way: the painter’s smile. (chapter 44) His smile was fake too here, he was heartbroken. How could he smile, when he asked to throw away his last creation? So when the noble questioned the scholar about the painter, he hoped that the learned sir would meet the artist so that the latter would beg Jung In-Hun to take him. However, the former teacher refused to meet the artist, for he saw no reason why.

From my point of view, Yoon Seungho explained Baek Na-Kyum’s depression with the teacher’s imminent departure. Naturally, he had no idea that the scholar had already betrayed and abandoned the artist. Therefore he thought the artist would follow Jung In-Hun. That’s the reason why Yoon Seungho ordered the hat and the scarf for the artist. He desired Baek Na-Kyum not to suffer from the cold weather. It is also possible that he wished to leave a present to the artist, as a reminder of their time together, something similar to the fake poem. He hoped that Baek Na-Kyum would remember him as a generous noble. But he bought the dark blue grey one for himself, so that he could think of the painter with this scarf. They would be somehow connected with the muffle.

In fact, he bid farewell to the painter, without saying it explicitly. He imagined that since the low noble had left without biding farewell to the artist, the latter would run away. And if this happened, then the wealthy aristocrat would no longer be obliged to sponsor the scholar and could abandon the low-noble. This explicates why the door was left wide open. (chapter 44) This stands in opposition to episode 69, where the main lead hoped the opposite and made the following request: only to the gate. Here, he wished the opposite, but he wasn’t sure if his wish would come true (chapter 69), for Heena could take him away. This explicates why he followed Kim’s suggestion by threatening the kisaeng out of fear, she might return and ask for her brother.

But let’s return our attention to episode 44. And now, you comprehend why the lord chose such dark and depressing colors (grey- dark blue grey). He was himself wounded. How do I know this? The reason is simple. He put himself the scarf on the painter. (chapter 44) That’s the reason why the low-born had a knot made for nobles. Baek Na-Kyum doesn’t know how to do it. Hence in the second season, when he put on the yellow scarf, he knotted it differently: (chapter 74) (chapter 74) Byeonduck only exposed the lord’s action in episode 69. This was his leap of faith, whereas in chapter 44 this gesture had the opposite signification: resignation, loneliness and sadness.

And since I have already discovered that the lord had witnessed the artist’s disappearance and return, you comprehend why the noble felt so happy. He had the impression that the artist had truly chosen him!! Hence they had a second sex marathon, and the lord wrapped his lover in the hanbok with the cranes (chapter 45) which reminds me of the hanbok from chapter 34: .

This discovery is very important, because if you recall the noble’s statement in front of Heena, everyone thought that Yoon Seungho was lying blatantly: (chapter 65) It was not entirely correct. In reality, he was copying his father’s MO. He was reporting a delayed information, in other words he was paltering!! He couldn’t tell the kisaeng that her brother had tried to commit suicide, because that’s what he believed. So when she intruded in the mansion, for the lord, she represented a certain relief, as the lord had a reason to blame the painter. He had tried to escape with his sister’s help, that way he was in no way responsible for the artist’s suicidal attempt. (chapter 65) Notice that he covered the artist’s mouth in that moment, for he didn’t want him to reply to his statement. He didn’t want to hear anything.

The use of paltering in this scene truly confirms my theory that Kim is the real source of Yoon Seungho’s misery, as he represents the worst role model. This is not surprising that the protagonist became a ghost, and acted as a selfish and violent noble, when he desired something for the first time: the painter! From my perspective, Yoon Seungho is not just a reflection of the eldest master Yoon, but also of Kim. It is also very likely that the butler influenced father Yoon in a negative way too due to his belief and misguided advices.

Hence after their Third Wedding night, the lord bought his lover a new scarf, yellow. This reflected his happiness and relief. For him, the painter had become the sun and light in his life. Thus Byeonduck created panels with refraction. (chapter 74) This is not surprising why he was smiling in that episode which could only move the low-born’s heart. Therefore you comprehend why I associated the painter’s clothes in chapter 84 to the ones in episode 44. The readers couldn’t miss the return of the burgundy (chapter 84), a sign that the lord was troubled and depressed. However, one thing was missing: the scarf!! Where is it in episode 84?

It is a sign of the lord’s distress. That’s why he couldn’t pay attention to his lover. Due to the separation, he couldn’t be present to knot the scarf properly. And because he distanced himself from Baek Na-Kyum, the latter started dressing up as a servant again. We have to envision Kim’s intervention again, a new version of this panel: (chapter 52), like for example: “He should do something in this mansion, since he is a servant. He has caused enough trouble to his master.”

Hence I came to the following interpretation: the scarf is a reference of the painter’s nobility! That’s the reason why it is not present in chapter 84, because we have the return of the white head-band!! Observe that each time, he had the scarf on, he never wore the head-band, a symbol for servitude! (chapter 44)

(chapter 51)

(chapteer 52)

And now put yourself in the wealthy protagonist’s shoes, when he saw this: (chapter 61) Not only it gave the impression that the painter was suicidal, but also it signified that Baek Na-Kyum was rejecting to be treated like a “noble”. It was, as if he was claiming that he was just a servant, a low-born!! Therefore it is not surprising that Yoon Seungho chose to treat him as a domestic afterwards.

However, note that he never put him the white headband on! In fact, he brought him back to his bedchamber, for he preferred keeping an eye on his lover, for he feared that the artist could abandon him with his death.

(chapter 84) The absence of the scarf seems to symbolize that the painter has lost the lord’s favor. Yet, like I have already stipulated before, this is just an illusion. This separation exposes the lord’s agony and self-loathing. However, once he returned to his lover’s side, he paid attention to his well-being. This is not surprising that during their reunion, the main lead took care of Baek Na-Kyum’s comfort and put the cover under his butt on the cupboard. (chapter 84) This was his way to “protect the artist’s comfort and health”. (chapter 84) He is making sure not to hurt his wife. To sum up, the artist’s muffle always reflects the lord’s emotional and mental state, but also mirrors Baek Na-Kyum’s real status. In Yoon Seungho’s eyes, the artist is a noble.

4. Kim’s scarf

Yes, by looking at his scarf, I also made another huge discovery. It started with chapter 57: The butler has a white scarf, and everyone is aware of the meaning of this color: innocence and purity. When we all saw this picture, we all envisioned that the butler had rushed to his lord’s side, once he had discovered his disappearance. The way he intervened gave the feeling that he had followed his master like a loyal dog desiring protecting his master.

However, one detail caught my attention. When he entered his master’s bedroom, pay attention to the way he was dressed: Where is the scarf? But more importantly where is the hanbok? And this little detail made me realize that we were all victims of a trick. The valet never rushed to his master’s side. He took his time, for he chose to dress up. (chapter 57) But why would he dress up? It is because he imagined that lord Song was waiting for Yoon Seungho at the tavern. He wanted to make a good impression. Striking is that the hat is covering the white heat-band, while he is wearing the scarf. The hanbok and the scarf indicate that Kim is acting as a noble in the end. However, since he hates nobles for he views them as brutal liars, he is not dropping the white headband and his hat is not the same than his master’. On the other hand, I believe that unconsciously, the hat is there to mask his real status. Let’s not forget that we should always differentiate between conscious and unconscious in this manhwa. In my eyes, Kim has always viewed himself as an aristocrat due to his pride and entitlement, because he acts like one! On the other hand, due to his hatred for nobility, he can’t become a noble entirely. Besides, he hates responsibility, hence he chose to remain a butler, the lord’s right-hand. That way, he can always avoid accountability. This explicates why we have a combination of both. The manhwaphiles should keep in their mind that the butler embodies hypocrisy. He hates sodomy, yet he pushed his master to become a kisaeng.

But let’s return our attention to the butler’s actions. The latter changed his clothes before leaving the propriety. However, because of his scared face (chapter 56), there’s no doubt that he was not eager to meet lord Song so soon!! (chapter 56) This means, he decided to arrive late on purpose, a new version of this situation: (chapter 50). Kim wanted his master to take the whole burden, while at the same time, he desired to give the impression that he was acting as Yoon Seungho’s guardian. This explicates why first he brought Baek Na-Kyum to the physician, before going to the tavern. (chapter 57) As you can detect, the valet took his time in the end. However, once he got there, he realized the absence of lord Song, hence he only intervened after Yoon Seungho had caused a ruckus. He definitely faked concern and care , while in truth he was not willing to become responsible for the meeting. He arrived late, because Yoon Seungho should clean up the mess made with the frightening lord Song. Let’s not forget that lord Song got banished too. (chapter 83) And there’s no doubt that the butler is the one who caused this mess. That’s why he felt so scared (chapter 57) and was trying to buy some time. Yoon Seungho should take the blame. However, he never pondered why lord Song would ask for a meeting in a tavern!! I doubt that this is a place that such a noble would be frequenting!

Striking is that after putting the protagonist on the wooden planks, the butler vanished one more time. Where is he, when Jihwa confesses? (chapter 57) This is the last image we have, before Jihwa comes to his friend’s side and kneels in front of him. (chapter 57) Where is Kim? He let the two nobles cause a ruckus… However, he portrays himself as a martyr. (chapter 57) He had to deal with two terrible nobles, while he let everything happen. During this whole time, he remained passive, though he gives the opposite impression. Another important detail is his next reaction. (chapter 57) He hides his whole face, when he expresses relief!! I am suspecting him to be smiling and happy here. Lord Song was not present, this was what mattered the most for him. As you can see, because of the butler’s scarf, I discovered many new elements.

5. Jihwa’s red scarf

So what does Lee Jihwa’s red scarf represent? Note that the color of the muffle is burgundy.

Burgundy: a dark purplish red, it is more sophisticated and serious and less energetic than true red. It indicates controlled power, determined ambition and dignified action and is often favored by the wealthy.” quoted from

Striking is that in that scene, Lee Jihwa was the one under pressure, therefore he had no controlled power. (chapter 57) On the other hand, in front of people, he expressed his wish, he wanted to love Yoon Seungho more openly. Thus we could say that he had not given up on his dream and was still determined to achieve it (“ambition”). Nevertheless, since the red is associated to passion and love, we could say that the scarf was announcing his love confession. Nonetheless, red is also associated to blood and as such to anger. This is not surprising that this love confession was full of resent and reproaches. (chapter 57) He blamed his childhood friend for ruining him. (chapter 57) He was definitely trying to wound the protagonist with his words, especially when he stated this: (chapter 57) How could he say this, when he knows about Yoon Seungho’s terrible past? (chapter 83) Was he trying to remind him that he used to be treated like an animal? He was terrible because of his boldness and his “sodomy”, yet Lee Jihwa is generous enough to overlook his recklessness. Did he want to say that Yoon Seungho should be thankful that Lee Jihwa is willing to embrace him despite his past status, when he was just a kisaeng? (chapter 57) This is not surprising that Yoon seungho could only reject the red-haired noble and why Lee Jihwa regretted his actions later. (chapter 61) The expression of regrets resemble a lot to the love confession in episode 57 due to the idiom “ruin“. And it is very likely that the criminal‘s terrible description about the murder could have reminded Lee Jihwa of the past and as such of the purge. Striking is that the second lead had no red scarf during the abduction, hence his words (chapter 60) were not referring to love at all. He only thought of his affection and friend in the shed, but said nothing. However, Nameless could perceive his true thoughts, thereby he stopped him.

One thing is sure: I judge the red scarf as something negative. The second lead’s love was superficial, for it is only covering the throat, and as such it is connected to the mouth. He might have said “I adore you” to his friend, yet this was not a real true love, for Lee Jihwa has never treated his friend properly. He has always abandoned him, when he felt cornered and was afraid of getting caught. The red scarf symbolizes Lee Jihwa’s superficial and selfish love. That’s why he waited for his friend, he desired him to make the first move. (“burgundy = passivity”)

This contrasts so much to the protagonists’ clothes. Both are wearing shirts in pink or red or hanboks in burgundy (chapter 34, 44 and 45). Yoon Seungho’s affection might be dark, but it is related to his darkness which occurred in his youth. Yet, note that for the first time, the lord chose a more bright red, a sign that his darkness is slowly getting removed from his soul. This explicates why the painter is now the one wearing a burgundy shirt. He is taking away his darkness, removing the poison from his soul. He is now worrying for his lover’s mental state. The shirt reflects his concern and care.

As a conclusion, even the scarf plays a huge role in this story.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My Reddit-Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

2 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: The scarf, a small but significant detail 😉 (second version)

  1. you’re right! what details you have found! the more you read, the more details.
    Another thing that I was thinking when I was reading the edition that I have in my house, is the absence of modesty. Suddenly I wondered, where this disinterest in intimacy came from?, maybe it is a word that has different meanings, but of course, this could be an example of what Seungho was exposed to. He doesn’t mind being seen while maintaining his nightly activities, because maybe it was like that before, someone else was watching “Seungho’s performance”. Maybe it’s stupid idea, what do you think?


    Liked by 1 person

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