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Yun-bok begins life as a young girl, Yun-jeong, with an extraordinary flair for painting. Unfortunately, the social constraints of the day prevent her from engaging in her heart's profession, but her brother is being prepped for life as a court painter. In desperation, Yun-jeong paints for him and allows her own work to masquerade as his. Then, when the brother commits suicide, Yun-jeong assumes his identity, disguises herself in male drag as Yun-bok, and lives as a male. This grows complicated once Yun-jeong falls deeply in love with a man, Kang-mu. Meanwhile, Yun-jeong's longtime instructor, Kim Hong-do, falls in love with her, and a courtesan named Seol-hwa falls helplessly into unrequited love with Kim -- prompting her to undertake an extreme and fatal act of jealous passion.