The Journal of Korean Art and Archaeology



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Journal of Korean Art and Archaeology Vol.3


2009. 01.






• The story of the various stages by which Korean museums were established, and the collections grew, is a fascinating one, and it is to be hoped that Director-General Choe’s account may come to serve as a blueprint for the eventual publication of a complete history, with illustrations of the various buildings that have housed the collections, and of the manner in which they were displayed and interpreted for visitors. The author has rightly emphasized the vital role of museums as the repositories of the symbols of nationhood, while also documenting the roles of the branch museums established in various cities, both in the South and in the North, and the important contributions of private museums which have not only built up fine collections, but which, it might be added, have been able for example to recover elements of Korean culture, such as Goryeo Buddhist paintings, that were previously, despite their enormous importance, quite unrepresented in the national collections. • Two other articles in this issue survey a wide range of subject-matter that might equally invite treatment as monographs. One concerns the fascinating question of Korea’s historical relations with other countries across Asia as far as the Mediterranean; the other surveys the whole history of genre painting, a category that Korean artists took particularly to heart in the later Joseon period. • Kwon Young-pil, who himself undertook his graduate studies in the West, in Germany, was particularly inspired by his own recent visit to some of the most notable archaeological sites and monuments of West Asia, to speculate on the amazing trajectories of certain artefacts and cultural norms that brought them right across Asia to Korea: objects blown from glass, or beaten in silver, and architectural features such as the cornice or balcony motif encountered in the Buddhist caves at Kizil, and transmitted thence to Dunhuang in far northwestern China. Here the span of time as well as of distance is immense, with the further complication of the choice of land or maritime trade along the trade routes generally entitled the Silk Road. The stages by which objects travelled are often numerous and complex, a stimulus to the imagination and necessitating the documentation of many more details before a complete picture can emerge. • In the case of Ahn Hwi-Joon’s survey, on the other hand, the general outlines of the rise of genre painting in Korea in the 18th century are already well-known, and what the author is able to do for us is to fill in the details of many artists who are less well-known, and explore their relationships with their famous predecessors, the pioneers of Korean genre painting, in order to discover their own distinctive contributions. The article takes the story back to the earliest times, through the Three Kingdoms period, and Goryeo, for signs of the emerging interest of Korean artists and craftsmen in depicting scenes from daily life, as well as the impact of Chinese documentary paintings such as those illustrating the stages in the cultivation of rice and the manufacture of silk. • Cho Hyunjong’s paper examines the archaeological evidence for ancient musical instruments of the prehistoric and Bronze age, including wind instruments, stringed instruments, friction instruments, and bells and rattles. Some of the latter, such as the double-headed, staff-end and eight-branched ryeong bells, are extremely distinctive and characteristic of Korea alone in East Asia. The author examines these instruments both for themselves and in their all-important social contexts, such as ancestral and shaman rituals, for which they constitute important evidence, and also in connexion with Chinese textual records. • From appearance and decoration alone, as well as patination, it is tempting to associate those musical instruments cast in bronze, namely tak and ryeong bells, with the type of mirror with finely cast linear decoration of concentric circles, triangles and hatching that is the subject of Park Haksoo’s article on National Treasure 141. This fine object, although much damaged in the course of its long history, is totally different from the bronze mirrors of ancient China. The author’s investigation of the casting method employed to shape the mirror and complete the intricate decoration of the back challenges the conventional view that such mirrors, in common with certain other bronze artefacts from the Korean peninsula, were cast from moulds made of talc or similar stone. Further research on other examples will be needed to confirm his conclusion that the mould was made of hardened moulding sand, as well as to explain the significance of the geometric designs and their relation to other contemporary ritual artefacts. • Lee Tae-ho’s article also addresses an aspect of Korean visual culture from a modern scientific viewpoint. In this case the subject is that of the so-called ‘true-view’ painting, of which Jeong Seon (Chong Sŏn) was the foremost exponent. The National Museum has some outstanding examples of paintings by this artist, while others are in many other public and private collections in Korea including the Kansong Museum, whose chief curator Choe Wan-su has devoted much of his professional life to investigating the many places depicted by Jeong Seon, both as to topography and through literary references. Lee takes a different approach, discovering through photography (or what William Lindesay in his research on the Great Wall of China has called re-photography), just how Jeong Seon and and his followers composed and re-composed their ‘true-view’ depictions of famous places and scenic views of Korea, in order to achieve effects that occasionally coincide with the modern field of view but more often than not are only possible with painting, at the expense of true likeness. His research provides a fascinating insight into the magic of this particular genre and the way in which landscape is perceived by the human eye. • Roderick Whitfield Percival David Professor Emeritus School of Oriental and African Studies University of London


ⓒ 2009 National Museum of Korea This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0( which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the article is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
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Editorial Note
Editorial Note
• The story of the various stages by which Korean museums were established, and the collections grew, is a fascinating one, and it is to be hoped that Director-General Choe’s account may come to serve as a blueprint for the eventual publication of a complete history, with illustrations of the various buildings that have housed the collections, and of the manner in which they were displayed and interpreted for visitors. The author has rightly emphasized the vital role of museums as the repositories of the symbols of nationhood, while also documenting the roles of the branch museums established in various cities, both in the South and in the North, and the important contributions of private museums which have not only built up fine collections, but which, it might be added, have been able for example to recover elements of Korean culture, such as Goryeo Buddhist paintings, that were previously, despite their enormous importance, quite unrepresented in the national collections. • Two other articles in this issue survey a wide range of subject-matter that might equally invite treatment as monographs. One concerns the fascinating question of Korea’s historical relations with other countries across Asia as far as the Mediterranean; the other surveys the whole history of genre painting, a category that Korean artists took particularly to heart in the later Joseon period. • Kwon Young-pil, who himself undertook his graduate studies in the West, in Germany, was particularly inspired by his own recent visit to some of the most notable archaeological sites and monuments of West Asia, to speculate on the amazing trajectories of certain artefacts and cultural norms that brought them right across Asia to Korea: objects blown from glass, or beaten in silver, and architectural features such as the cornice or balcony motif encountered in the Buddhist caves at Kizil, and transmitted thence to Dunhuang in far northwestern China. Here the span of time as well as of distance is immense, with the further complication of the choice of land or maritime trade along the trade routes generally entitled the Silk Road. The stages by which objects travelled are often numerous and complex, a stimulus to the imagination and necessitating the documentation of many more details before a complete picture can emerge. • In the case of Ahn Hwi-Joon’s survey, on the other hand, the general outlines of the rise of genre painting in Korea in the 18th century are already well-known, and what the author is able to do for us is to fill in the details of many artists who are less well-known, and explore their relationships with their famous predecessors, the pioneers of Korean genre painting, in order to discover their own distinctive contributions. The article takes the story back to the earliest times, through the Three Kingdoms period, and Goryeo, for signs of the emerging interest of Korean artists and craftsmen in depicting scenes from daily life, as well as the impact of Chinese documentary paintings such as those illustrating the stages in the cultivation of rice and the manufacture of silk. • Cho Hyunjong’s paper examines the archaeological evidence for ancient musical instruments of the prehistoric and Bronze age, including wind instruments, stringed instruments, friction instruments, and bells and rattles. Some of the latter, such as the double-headed, staff-end and eight-branched ryeong bells, are extremely distinctive and characteristic of Korea alone in East Asia. The author examines these instruments both for themselves and in their all-important social contexts, such as ancestral and shaman rituals, for which they constitute important evidence, and also in connexion with Chinese textual records. • From appearance and decoration alone, as well as patination, it is tempting to associate those musical instruments cast in bronze, namely tak and ryeong bells, with the type of mirror with finely cast linear decoration of concentric circles, triangles and hatching that is the subject of Park Haksoo’s article on National Treasure 141. This fine object, although much damaged in the course of its long history, is totally different from the bronze mirrors of ancient China. The author’s investigation of the casting method employed to shape the mirror and complete the intricate decoration of the back challenges the conventional view that such mirrors, in common with certain other bronze artefacts from the Korean peninsula, were cast from moulds made of talc or similar stone. Further research on other examples will be needed to confirm his conclusion that the mould was made of hardened moulding sand, as well as to explain the significance of the geometric designs and their relation to other contemporary ritual artefacts. • Lee Tae-ho’s article also addresses an aspect of Korean visual culture from a modern scientific viewpoint. In this case the subject is that of the so-called ‘true-view’ painting, of which Jeong Seon (Chong Sŏn) was the foremost exponent. The National Museum has some outstanding examples of paintings by this artist, while others are in many other public and private collections in Korea including the Kansong Museum, whose chief curator Choe Wan-su has devoted much of his professional life to investigating the many places depicted by Jeong Seon, both as to topography and through literary references. Lee takes a different approach, discovering through photography (or what William Lindesay in his research on the Great Wall of China has called re-photography), just how Jeong Seon and and his followers composed and re-composed their ‘true-view’ depictions of famous places and scenic views of Korea, in order to achieve effects that occasionally coincide with the modern field of view but more often than not are only possible with painting, at the expense of true likeness. His research provides a fascinating insight into the magic of this particular genre and the way in which landscape is perceived by the human eye. • Roderick Whitfield Percival David Professor Emeritus School of Oriental and African Studies University of London
100 Years of Korean Museums: History and Meaning
  • Choe Kwang-shik(National Museum of Korea)
The history of museums in Korea may be traced back to 1 November 1909 when the Imperial Museum of Korea (帝室博物館), founded in 1908 and located at Changgyeonggung, opened its doors to the general public. The centennial year, therefore, has provided an opportunity for looking back systematically at the history of museums in Korea, and also to prepare ourselves for the challenges of the next one hundred years. Museums in Korea have assumed greater substance and specificity, and require not only critical reflection on their past history but also fresh vision to sustain their future development. Museums doubtless constitute a cultural space, but they also serve as the locus of the legitimacy of the state, because they assemble, preserve and display the symbols of its authority. It is apparent, therefore, that the centennial celebration of the history of museums in Korea cannot be confined to the commemoration of past achievements. We need to align our commemorative projects closely with the future path of museums and art galleries in Korea, and use this occasion imaginatively to determine their future trajectory. Indeed, a retrospective on the one hundred years of the history of museums in Korea reveals that their future direction has to be shaped as the symbol of Korea’s brand image and a treasure-trove of the cultural heritage of the nation. II THE DAEHAN EMPIRE ERA (1887-1910) Obviously, the opening of the Imperial Museum of Korea marks the beginning of modern museums in Korea. The exhibition halls of the museum were created by partially remodeling several pavilions such as the Yanghwadang and Myeongjeongjeon and the adjoining corridors in Changgyeonggung. Halls, such as Yeongchunheon and Jibbokheon, were used as offices of the museum. The Daehan Daily had earlier reported on 9 January 1908 that “The Bureau of Palace Affairs is planning to establish this year a museum, a zoo and a botanical garden.” The Hwangseong newspaper shed light on the background of the foundation of the museum as follows: “We already reported about the establishment of the Imperial Museum of Korea. The objective of the museum is to collect works of fine arts and various artefacts from the past ages, and artworks and other objects from other civilizations of the modern world for the spread of enlightenment.” This news item makes it obvious that the first museum in Korea was established with the same goals as those of other modern museums. It is, however, important to remember the reason given by Emperor Sunjong in opening the Imperial Museum of Korea to the general public. He used the words yeominhaerak (與民偕樂), which means “sharing joy with the people.” Except on Thursdays, the day reserved for imperial visits, the museum, zoo and the botanical garden within the place were ordered by the Emperor to open their doors to the general public for their enjoyment and the expansion of the horizon of their knowledge (Daehan Minbo, 3 November 1909). In 1908 the Office of the Royal Garden had been established, and the Imperial Museum of Korea had also been founded, but the museum was out of bounds for the general public. The emperor’s decision in the following year to fling the doors of the museum open wide so that the general public could share the joy of appreciating the works of art was historically a very meaningful act, because the culture over which the royalty and the aristocracy had until then enjoyed exclusive control, now became the common domain of all the people. This act may be interpreted as representing the initial spark of a civil society. One needs to be reminded that museums in the West, as is evident in the Louvre or the Palace of Versailles, originally royal palaces, were subsequently converted into national museums. When the doors of the Imperial Museum of Korea opened for the general public, the Changgyeonggung where the museum was located, also became accessible to them. This decision was meaningful in yet another sense. By allowing the common people unhindered access to the palace, hitherto a preserve for royalty and officials, Emperor Sunjong perceived the common people not as a passive target of control but as a partner with a common stake in determining the destiny of the nation. This act may also be interpreted to mean that the people had now become modern citizens, bound by common goals and aspirations. Korea at this juncture in history was faced with the serious crisis of the tightening stranglehold of Japanese imperialism, and the Korean people responded to this threat by displaying intense nationalist consciousness and launching patriotic enlightenment campaigns. On 26 October 1909 the Korean patriot An Jung-geun (安重根, 1879-1910) assassinated Ito Hirobumi (伊藤博文, 1841-1909), the architect of Japan’s colonial policy in Korea, and on 15 October (3rd day of the 10th month in the lunar calendar), the nation celebrated the birthday of Dangun (壇君) who is believed to be the progenitor of the Korean race. Patriotic associations in every nook and corner of the country waged the nationalist struggle to preserve Korean sovereignty. Indeed, the decision of the Emperor to open the doors of the palace and to share the enjoyment of the Imperial Museum of Korea together with the general public needs to be understood in conjunction with the spirit of the times and the general pattern of Korean history during this period. At the time of its foundation the collection of the Imperial Museum of Korea contained approximately 8,600 items, including paintings and calligraphy, porcelain, metalwork, sedan chairs and banners. But in 1912 the collection had swelled to 12,230 items, with the acquisition of Buddhist sculptures of the Unified Silla period, numerous vases, metalwork and jades from the Goryeo period and various works of art and wood and lacquer crafts from the Joseon period. The Gilt-bronze Pensive Bodhisattva (金銅半跏思惟像), designated as National Treasure No. 83, is one of such treasures in the custody of the National Museum. If the invaluable relics which were scattered all over the country, had not been collected at that time, they could well have disappeared. III THE MUSEUM DURING THE JAPANESE COLONIAL PERIOD The two representative museums in Korea during the Japanese colonial period were the Imperial Museum of Korea, and the Museum of the Government General of Joseon (朝鮮總督府博物館). After the Japanese annexation of Korea, the colonial administration opened the Museum of the Government General of Joseon within the premises of the Gyeongbokgung (景福宮) on 1 December 1915. The Imperial Museum of Korea was demoted by renaming it the Yi Royal-Family Museum (李王家博物館). Further demotion took place in 1938 when the Yi Royal-Family Museum was shifted to Deoksugung, and given the new name the Yi Royal-Family Art Gallery (李王家美術館). After liberation it was called the Deoksugung Art Gallery (德壽宮美術館). Since the Imperial Museum of Korea opened in 1909 in the remodeled building of Changgyeonggung, it was not only difficult to manage and care for the museum items, but there was also an additional problem of the fear of theft. In 1912 the colonial authorities built a new three-storey building, combining the architectural styles of Japan and the West, on the site of Jagyeongjeon (慈慶殿), and it was used as the main museum complex. The outer façade of the hall was a replica of the Phoenix Hall (鳳凰堂, Hōōdō [of Byōdō-in (平等院]), located in Uji (宇治), Kyoto. This building, including its basement, covered the area of 220 pyeong (approx. 730 m2) and the display of museum items commenced on 20 August 1912. Although the Imperial Museum of Korea was renamed on several occasions, it played a pioneering role in preserving the cultural heritage of Korea. The exhibits in the Fine Arts Gallery of the National Museum are mostly inherited from the Imperial Museum of Korea. If the Imperial Museum of Korea had not taken custody of the heritage from past eras, they would have become collectors’ items in countries outside Korea. In 1915 Japan held the "Products Fair (朝鮮物産共進會)" at Gyeongbokgung as propaganda for the first five years of the achievements of the colonial administration. On 1 December 1915 the colonial government inaugurated the Museum of the Government General of Joseon in the building that had once served as the venue for the fair, and used the fair exhibits as museum items. The museum’s collection included antiques, artefacts from archaeological sites, rubbings of stelae and various art objects derived from excavation, acquisitions by various government departments, and donations. A large number of the exhibits now in the Archaeological Gallery and Historical Gallery of the National Museum were inherited from the Museum of the Government General of Joseon. It needs to be noted in this context that the Museum of the Government General of Joseon made an attempt to remove some precious exhibits from the Yi Royal-Family Art Gallery in order to increase its collection, but this plan failed because of protests. Japan’s colonial administration in Korea established provincial branches of the Museum of the Government General of Joseon in the cities of Gyeongju and Buyeo. The Gyeongju Historic Sites Preservation Society (慶州古蹟保存會) was formally inaugurated by community leaders in 1913, converting the government guest house of the Joseon period into an exhibition hall for displaying relics from the Silla period. In 1921 when a gold crown and many other relics were discovered during the excavation of a Silla royal tomb, subsequently named Geumgwanchong (金冠塚, Gold Crown Tomb), a Geumgwango (金冠庫, Gold Crown Hall) was built in order to display relics from the tomb. The museum established by the Gyeongju Historic Sites Preservation Society was converted into the Gyeongju branch of the Museum of the Government General of Joseon in 1926. On 27 September 1929 the colonial government established the Buyeo Historic Sites Preservation Society (夫餘古蹟保存會) which served as a foundation for the Buyeo Branch of the Museum of the Government General of Joseon, built on 1 April 1939. The colonial government also established Gaeseong City Museum (開城府立博物館) on 1 November 1931 and Pyeongyang City Museum (平壤府立博物館) on 7 October 1933 which contributed towards preserving the relics from the Goryeo period and various artefacts from the Nangnang(樂浪, Chinese: Lelang) area and its vicinity, respectively. During this period various colleges established their own museums. Yeonhui College (延禧專文學校) established its museum in 1928, followed by Boseong College (普成專文學校) (precursor of Korea University) in 1934 and Ewha Woman’s University in 1935. Private museums also emerged during this period. In 1938 Jeon Hyeongpil (ܼ全鎣弼, 1906-1962; sobriquet, Gansong) built a museum named Bohwagak (葆華閣) in Seongbuk-dong, Seoul. The museum, known today under the name of Gansong Art Museum, houses some of the rarest Korean antiquities. Its collection of national treasures includes the original edition of Hunminjeongeum (訓民正音, lit. Correct Sounds for the Instruction of the People, designated as National Treasure No. 70), paintings of some of the foremost artists from the Joseon period and gilt-bronze Buddhist images. IV THE MUSEUM IN THE POST-LIBERATION ERA When the US army entered Korea in September 1945 in the wake of the country’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule and established the US Army Military Government in Korea, it opened the National Museum, and appointed Dr. Kim Chewon (金載元, 1909-1990) an art historian who had received his doctorate in Germany, as its first Director-General. It appears that the stimulus of establishing a National Museum in Seoul in 1945 came from Pyeongyang where the Soviet Army had established the Korean Central History Museum (중앙력사박물관). It is indeed remarkable that both South and North Korea established their respective national museums even before the two rival Korean regimes had been installed in these divided states. The mood of mutual competition, triggering the foundation of National Museums in two divided states across the Korean peninsula, is related to the question of legitimacy. Just as the Royal Jade Seal or Great State Seal served as the symbol of legitimacy for rulers in the pre-modern times, National Museums functioned in modern times as repositories and custodians of the symbols of state legitimacy. It was for this reason that both the US and the Soviet armies established National Museums in their respective occupation zones for collecting and displaying national treasures and other invaluable elements of the cultural heritage, and projecting them as the space of the national symbols of legitimacy. The two divided states channeled the power that their respective national museums symbolized so as to affirm their legitimacy and win recognition from their own national communities as well as from the world at large. When the Republic of Korea was founded, the state museums of the colonial period were reorganized. Under the Presidential decree, dated 12 December 1949, the National Museum (國立博物館), headed by Dr. Kim Chewon, and the National Museum of Anthropology (國立民族博物館), headed by Song Seokha (宋錫夏, 1904-1948), were established as state-run institutions. The National Museum opened in Gyeongbokgung in September 1945, taking over the Museum of the Government General of Joseon. The National Museum of Anthropology, focusing on ethnology, was housed in Sijeong Memorial Hall (施政紀念館), located in Pil-dong, Seoul. After the National Museum was formally established, the government continued the existing policy of a central museum in Seoul and branch museums in provincial cities. During the colonial period museums existed in such provincial cities as Gyeongju, Buyeo, Gongju and Gaeseong. The major aims of the National Museum were to re-interpret and systematize the cultural relics of the country to conform to the new spirit of national liberation. These endeavors could well have been inspired by the agenda of the state, but more importantly, the National Museum itself realized the need to perform the original function of museums, i.e. to organize the relics inherited from the colonial authorities, publicize them and to carry out research on them. However, just as the National Museum was in the process of finding stability, the Korean War broke out and inflicted immense damage. The lightning speed at which the war developed, made it difficult to relocate the museum collections immediately to safe places. In fact, when the North Korean forces were forced to retreat in the wake of the Incheon Landing of the US Army, they tried to take the precious treasures from the National Museum to Pyeongyang. However, the employees of the National Museum prevented the North Korean forces from taking the collections by packing them in the daytime and taking them out from packing at night. As the crisis of the Korean War worsened with the intervention of China, the museum employees moved a selection of valuable objects from the National Museum to Busan National University Museum and Gyeongju Museum, and some objects were relocated to Hawaii. After the armistice was signed in 1953, they were brought back to Seoul. This situation during the Korea War is resonant of the civil war in China when Chiang Kaishek (Jiang Jieshi 蔣介石, 1887-1975) fled with the precious treasures of the Palace Museum (故宮博物館). Chiang Kaishek lost the Chinese territory to Mao Zedong (毛澤東, 1893-1976), but he took along the treasures from the Chinese past, because he regarded them as the symbols of political legitimacy and sought to use them to legitimize his regime as the real China. The museum objects taken to Hawaii were returned after they were exhibited in the “Overseas Exhibition of National Treasures” that toured eight cities of the United States for 18 months commencing from December 1957. Many other treasures that the National Museum lent for were brought back to Seoul. North Korea also organized a special exhibition of Korean relics and artworks in the Soviet Union at the same time. In 1961 South Korea organized special exhibitions of Korean art in five European cities, including Paris and London, while North Korea held exhibitions of Korean culture in Eastern Europe. It is apparent that museums were inextricably enmeshed with the claims of political legitimacy between the two rival regimes across the Military Demarcation Line (Gunsa Bungye-seon). The contest over legitimacy became manifest through the almost simultaneous establishment of National Museums in the capitals of North and South Korea in 1945 and through special exhibitions of artworks and historical relics, sponsored by the two Koreas in the late 1950s and early 1960s. After the war ended and the National Museum’s collections in the provinces were brought back to Seoul in August 1953, the National Museum was installed at its Namsan branch, and subsequently, it moved to Seokjojeon at Deoksugung in October 1954, where it resumed display. In 1969 the National Museum was amalgamated with Deoksugung Art Gallery. It is obvious that the first museum of Korea, the Imperial Museum of Korea had now been absorbed by the National Museum. In 1972, the National Museum was relocated to a new museum building (currently National Folk Museum Building) at Gyeongbokgung. In the beginning the name “National General Museum of Korea (國立綜合博物館)” was suggested, because it covered archaeology (National Museum), history of art (Deoksugung Art Gallery) and anthropology (Korean Museum of Anthropology), but for some reason it was decided to call it Gungnip Jungang Bangmulgwan (國立中央博物館, National Museum of Korea). One may guess that this name was suggested because the central museum in North Korea was called Jungang Ryeonksa Bangmulgwan (Korea Central History Museum), and also to project as a central or pivotal (中央, jungang) museum, different from those in the provinces. In May 1972 a delegation from the Southern side visited the Central History Museum of Pyeongyang during a visit to North Korea. It is significant that the word “jungang” was added to the name of National Museum (Gungnip bangmulgwan) on 19 July 1972, only a fortnight after the historic North-South Joint Declaration was issued on 4 July 1972. In the 1970s the government took steps to house such provincial museums as the Buyeo, Gongju and Gyeongju Museums in new buildings, and also followed the North Korean model of one branch museum in each province. The Gwangju National Museum was the first branch museum to open in this era, and currently South and North Korea have a combined total of fourteen local museums. In 1986 when the National Museum of Korea (NMK) moved to Jungangcheong (中央廳, Capitol Building), the headquarters of the former Japanese colonial government, it achieved remarkable expansion. The museum was organized into numerous galleries and began an era of vibrant activities. But in 1996 when the Jungangcheong was demolished in a bid to cleanse the vestiges of the Japanese colonial era and settle the past, the NMK was temporarily installed in the remodeled Social Education Building (present National Palace Museum of Korea). Finally, on 28 October 2005, the NMK re-opened in Yongsan where a new magnificent building was completed. One hundred years have passed since the Imperial Museum of Korea (the precursor of the National Museum) opened its doors to the public in 1909, and more than sixty years have elapsed since the National Museum opened in Gyeongbokgung in 1945. During this period the National Museum was relocated on several occasions, witnessed numerous trials and tribulations, survived the ravages of time and was born afresh. Today eleven local museums, including the Gyeongju Museum, operate under the umbrella of the National Museum of Korea, and are playing the roles of preserving the cultural heritage of the nation and disseminating traditional culture. On 1 April 1946, the Incheon City Museum was inaugurated in Songhwa-dong, Incheon as the first municipal museum in Korea. However, the museum building was destroyed during the Korean War in the course of the famous Incheon Landing. In 1995 a new building was created to house the Incheon Museum. In 2006 the building was remodeled and the museum re-opened under the new name Incheon Metropolitan Museum. Gwangju Provincial Museum opened in 1963, and in 1987 it was renamed Gwangju City Folk Museum, the name it bears today. Busan City Museum opened in 1978, and Gyeonggi Provincial Museum was established in 1996. In 2008 this museum became an affiliate of the Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation. Amongst local areas noted for museum culture, Yeongwol in Gangwon-do stands out. Because of the abundance of museums, this county is dubbed “Creative Yeongwol, A Roofless Museum.” It strikes tourists as a complex cultural space, and some of its notable museums are: Comics Museum; Kim Satgat Culture Hall; Muksan Art Museum; Danjong Historic Hall; Yeongwol Book Museum; Hoya Geography Museum; Insect Museum; Cheongjeon Pavilion Museum; Seogang Art Museum; Fossil Museum; International Modern Art Museum; Donggang Photography Museum; and Hoan Tea Utensils Museum. Korea also has several museums set up by commercial companies, the first being Han-Dok Pharmaceutical Museum (韓獨藥史館), established on 27 April 1964. In 1974 it was renamed “Han-Dok Medico-Pharma Museum,” and opened an exhibition complex, containing Korea Hall, International Hall and Han-Dok Material Room, in Eumseong, Chungcheongbuk-do. Amongst private museums in Korea, the Ho-Am Art Museum (湖巖美術館) and Horim Museum (湖林博物館) are noteworthy for the range and richness of their collection. The Ho-Am Art Museum was based on the collection of the founder of the Samsung Group, the late Lee Byeong-cheol (sobriquet, Ho-Am). Located at Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, the museum is built over a total area of 4,300 sq. meters in the traditional Korean architectural style, and it has the added attraction of a traditional Korean garden of 66,000 square meters. The building was completed in 1978, and the museum opened in 1982. This museum spans Korean art and culture from pre-historic times to the present day, and it is indeed a great storehouse of Korean treasures. In 2004 Samsung Group opened another magnificent museum, called Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, which exhibits the essence of Korean culture, and which also displays fascinating works of modern art by Korean and foreign artists. Horim Museum was founded by Chairman Yun Jangseop who established the Sungbo Cultural Foundation in 1981, contributing 835 antiquities. The Horim Museum opened in October 1982 at Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, and in May 1999 it built exhibition galleries in Sillim-dong, Gwanak-gu where numerous masterpieces of Korean art including porcelains and celadon are on display. The museum opened a branch in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, in June 2009. In order to understand the history of Korean museums, it is necessary to examine related issues which may be summarized as follows: 1961: University Museum Association established 1976: Korean People Museum Association (predecessor of the Korean Museums Association) established 1984: Museum Act passed 1991: Museum Promotion Act legislated by the Ministry of Culture (Reg. No. 51) 1998: Korean Museums Association established 1999: Museum Promotion Act partially amended (qualification system of curatorship implemented) The fact that the University Museum Association was established in Korea fifteen years before the establishment of the Korean Museums Association clearly demonstrates the great importance of university museums in Korea. Another point which is worthy of note is the Museum Promotion Act legislated by the Ministry of Culture in 1991, and its amendment in 1999. The Museum Promotion Act of 1991 led to the rapid increase in the number of museums, reaching 600 to date, and when the act was amended and the qualifications of curatorship were firmly laid down, Korean museums were equipped with a foundation for their qualitative growth and sustained development. V CENTENNIAL PROJECTS FOR THE FUTURE The National Museum of Korea and the Korean Museums Association organized numerous programs on the occasion of the centenary of Korean museums in order to celebrate the achievements of the past one hundred years and to pave the way for their growth in the next one hundred years. All the major museums, art galleries and museum-related organizations helped to promote commemorative projects. First of all, in order to discuss the idea of a ‘museum complex’ or an integrated cultural space with environment-friendly museums, galleries, and recreational facilities, the NMK organized an international conference on 22 May 2009 in which Korean and foreign museum specialists presented papers. On 29 August the NMK organized Museum Fashion Show, which blended fashion with Korean cultural items such as porcelain, handicrafts, folk painting and sculpture. The Fashion Show shattered the stereotypical image of the museum and established its reputation as a place of innovation and imagination. The NMK also organized a concert on 12 September and a grand performance by 100 vocalists on 1 November, which served as an opportunity to forge and consolidate the bonds between the museum and the national community. A small pavilion named Cheongjajeong, was newly built above the Reflecting Pond inside the museum, and unveiled as part of the centennial. A remarkable feature of the pavilion is the cheongja or blue porcelain, used for its roof-tiles. On 2 November, the day the formal centennial ceremony was held, a special Gojoseon Room was built to showcase the history of Korea’s first state. On the following day an international conference was held at the NMK. The Chairperson of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the President of the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM) and museum directors from all over the world, including the Directors of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Tokyo National Museum, and the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg discussed strategies and visions for world museums in the 21st century. These events were organized with the goal of formulating a vision that could sustain the growth of museums in Korea in the future. The NMK used the occasion of the centenary year to consolidate its links with museums and art galleries all over the country, and organized special exhibitions in different parts of the country in cooperation with local museums. The NMK produced brochures in order to publicize various commemorative special exhibitions and a map which included road directions and details of all the museums in the country. These were the pioneering initiatives taken by the NMK, and proved very successful. “Korean Museum, 100 Years in Remembrance,” an exhibition of rare cultural heritages to reflect on the journey of the past 100 years and to nurture dreams for the next 100 years, was a blockbuster event as people lined up for several hours to get a ticket. The NMK also successfully hosted special exhibitions to show Egyptian Civilization Exhibition from April to August 2009 to local audiences, while Inca Civilization Exhibition commenced in December 2009. The exhibitions in the Historical Gallery were reorganized in order to provide a systematic understanding of Korean history from prehistoric times to the modern era in a chronological format. Gojoseon and Goryeo Rooms were built, and the Buyeo–Samhan, Unified Silla and Balhae Rooms were reorganized. The construction of the Joseon Room is currently under way, and when this project is completed this year, the NMK will be equipped with a solid infrastructure for the dissemination of knowledge of Korean history. A grand Museum Festival, a museum expo and performance were organized by the NMK, Korean Museums Association, and Friends of the National Museum of Korea in October 2009. A book, The 100th Anniversary of Korean Museums, was published by the National Museum of Korea and Korean Museum Association. The NMK also made an adroit use of the centennial occasion by expanding its donation campaign at a national level through more active advertisement and holding two special exhibitions of donated items. It is apparent that the centennial landmark provided a context within which Korean museums could consolidate their past achievements and develop strategies for their remarkable growth in the 21st century. In order to chalk out the plans of the commemorative events effectively the NMK constituted a commemoration project committee, chaired by Mr. Lee O-ryeong, the first Culture Minister of Korea, and in order to implement these plans an Organizing Committee chaired jointly by the Director of the NMK and the President of the Korean Museums Association was also formed. In this commemorative project all the national, public, private and university museums and art galleries took part. It is also remarkable that Association of the Directors of Korean Museums, an umbrella organization of museum chiefs in Korea, was established for the first time in the centennial year to serve as a forum for discussing the problems faced by public, private and university museums in the country and developing common strategies for their future expansion and enrichment. VI CONCLUSION Commemorative events to mark the centennial of museums in Korea have woven the museums in Korea into a cohesive web and transformed them into festival sites. The word museum is derived from mouseion, the seat of the Muses, the nine Greek goddesses who were the inspiration for cultural and literary accomplishments such as poetry, music, comedy, history and astronomy. Museums are the place to celebrate these achievements of national culture. Directors and the other concerned officials of national, public, private and university museums and art galleries used the occasion of the centenary to unite their efforts and commit themselves to the new vision and goals. In the past century, museums served the purpose of consolidating national identity and conferring legitimacy to the state, but the 21st century has ushered in a new concept. Museums have to play a pivotal role in promoting the “national brand” by providing abundant cultural content. The Centennial landmark also provided a context within which museums in Korea reflected on the long and arduous path they traversed in the last one hundred years and explored ways and means to usher into the future with renewed strength for their ever-increasing pace of growth. Various museums in Korea combined their strength on this occasion and established their reputation domestically and internationally as a cultural powerhouse. The centennial celebration was organized not only by the NMK but also by over 600 museums and art galleries across the country which teamed up to promote various events and pledged to forge bonds with the spirit of the nation, increase contacts with the local community and develop greater relevance to the lives of the people. These commemorative events will doubtless serve as a strong foundation on which the new structure of museums and art galleries as a complex of Korean art and culture will be erected. “Korean Museum, 100 Years in Remembrance,” a special exhibition held from 9 September to 8 November 2009 for yeonminhaerak, or "sharing joy with the people," to celebrate the centennial of Korea’s museum system, is particularly noteworthy. It served as an occasion to reflect on the century of footprints with dispassionate objectivity and a moment to pledge ourselves to the challenging tasks of further development in the future. The centennial commemorative project made Korean people feel much closer to museums and art galleries, and the media also gave rave reviews, and as a result the prestige of the museum system in Korea was considerably enhanced. Discussion about the vision and developmental strategies at the International Conference helped us evolve a policy framework for the future direction of museums in Korea in the 21st century. Presentation of learned papers and discussions on the plan of Yongsan Museum Complex helped us realize with keen acuteness that this envisioned landmark, a multi-purpose space which will integrate and harmonize culture, art, science and nature, is an issue of crucial significance. It will determine the future shape and growth of the museum system in Korea.
The Musical Instruments of Prehistoric Korea
  • Cho Hyunjong(Curatorial Affairs Office, National Museum of Korea)
The world’s oldest known musical instrument is a flute found at a Neanderthal habitation site in Slovenia which was made around 82,000-43,000 years ago from the bone of a cave bear. Bone flutes dating to approximately 9,000~7,000 years ago have also been excavated from Jiahu (賈湖) in Henan (河南) Province, and Hemudu (河姆渡) in Zhejiang (浙江) Province, China. However, it is very likely that use of percussion instruments, in which sounds were made by striking stones or pieces of wood, preceded the appearance of wind instruments, such as flutes made of bone or horn, and string instruments. This is because stones and wood would have been easily found and do not require special manufacture. Prehistoric instruments found in the Korean peninsula include a bone flute from Seopohang and a small bell (小鐸, sotak) from Chodo, Najin, both of which can be dated to the Bronze Age. Instruments dating to the Korean Dagger Culture period (4th century BC – 1st century AD) consist of bronze bells with clappers (銅鐸, dongtak), moulds for bronze bells (銅範, dongbeom), bronze bells with beads (銅鈴, dongnyeong), and circular bronze instruments (圓形銅器). Finally, a type of large zither called se (瑟, i.e. a string instrument), clay bells, and instruments made of wood, antler or horn which were rubbed together to make sounds have been identified from the earlier part of the Proto-Three Kingdoms period. It is believed that such instruments would have been used to communicate with supernatural beings during ceremonies of a shamanistic nature, in which fertility and success in hunting were prayed for, or for other types of ritual ceremonies, such as ancestral rites. This is because most of the instruments from this period are thought to have been objects owned and used by shamans or by chiefs in charge of the rituals. Thus the appearance and development of musical instruments were organically intertwined with the social structure of the time. As mentioned above, the oldest instrument to have been found in the Korean peninsula is a Bronze Age bone flute which comes from the site of Seopohang, in Unggi, Hamgyeongbuk-do (Figure 1). Excavated by the Institute of Archaeology of North Korea in 1961, this flute was made from the leg bone of a bird.1 ( Figure 1 ) Left: Bone flute from the Seopohang site The flute was displayed by the Korean Central History Museum (조선중앙력사박물관) in Pyeongyang as part of its collection. In April 2006, during a visit to the museum in which the loan of artefacts to be displayed at an exhibition in Seoul was negotiated, an opportunity arose to examine the actual bone flute. The flute, which was broken into several pieces at the time of its excavation, had been reconstructed almost perfectly to its original state. It had been made by boring holes into a hollow bone from a large bird such as a crane; the boring method, using a pump drill or bow drill, could be identified through a close examination of the flute holes. Of the artefacts on display in the current exhibition, the Early Iron Age bronze bell mould (銅鐸範, dongtakbeom), said to have come from Pyeongyang,2 and a bronze bell of unknown provenance are also from the collection of the Korean Central History Museum. The importance of all three artefacts cannot be overstated, especially as the bronze bell mould and bone flute are seen as being of National Treasure and Semi-National Treasure status, respectively. Consequently, this article will focus on their significance as prehistoric musical instruments. In addition, musical instruments which have been found at other prehistoric sites in Korea will be considered according to instrument type3, and their context of discovery, characteristics, social function and meaning will be briefly examined.4 II TYPES OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS The musical instruments examined here have been divided into wind instruments, percussion instruments, string instruments and friction instruments. Although friction instruments may be seen as a sub-category of percussion instrument, they have been examined separately here in order to focus on their distinctive form. 01 WIND INSTRUMENTS In the case of wind instruments, sound is made when air is blown across the holes in the body of the instrument. The only example to have been discovered in Korea is the bone flute from the Seopohang site. An image of a man blowing a horn5 has also been identified on a rock engraving from Bangudae (盤龜臺). 1) Bone Flute The Seopohang site is located in Seopohang-dong, Gulpo-ri, Seonbong in Raseon City (previously Unggi), Hamgyeongbuk-do. Five seasons of excavations were carried out at the site from 1960 to 1964, and nine cultural layers from the Paleolithic to Neolithic to Bronze Age were identified. Not only is Seopohang the first Paleolithic site to have been discovered in Korea following liberation from Japanese occupation, it is a key site in understanding the Neolithic culture of the peninsula’s northeast region and in the study of the transition to the Bronze Age. The top two cultural layers of this site belong to the Bronze Age; the lower layer has been dated to the earlier part and the upper layer to the later part of the second millennium BC. The bone flute was discovered in 1961, during the second season of excavation (Figure 1). Its pieces were found in the deposit around Bronze Age Burial No. 1 and House No. 15, located in Area 4. As this deposit corresponded to the lower (i.e. earlier) Bronze Age cultural layer, the flute was identified as the oldest musical instrument from Korea. The flute is shaped like a slender tube and is 18 centimeters long. It is completely hollow inside. It was discovered with one end intact and the other end broken off. The flute has a diameter of 1.0-1.5 centimeters. Thirteen evenly-spaced holes, which form a straight line, have been bored into the body of the flute. The holes measure approximately 0.3-0.45 centimeters in diameter and are located at intervals of 0.7-1.0 centimeters. It was observed that the flute holes were relatively numerous and spaced at short intervals; it has been suggested that this would not have affected the harmony of the sounds made.6 The holes were bored using a drill of similar size, and it is thought that a pump drill or a bow drill, such as hwalbibi, was used to make them. Based on the traces of friction found on the holes, it appears that the holes were made before the bone was completely dry. Burial No. 1 from this site yielded a bone needle case decorated with a band of triangle motifs filled with slanting lines, illustrating the high quality of bone tool manufacturing techniques at the time. However, in the case of bone flutes recently discovered in China, they were found to have approximately six to eight holes, and it has been observed that the ulna (尺骨) from the wing of a red crane was used.7 Therefore, further studies need to be carried out in order to identify the particular bone used to make the Seopohang bone flute, as well as to understand the positioning of the holes and their number. 2) Musical Instruments Depicted in Rock Engravings The Bangudae rock engraving, located in Eonyang-eup, Ulju-gun, Ulsan, includes an image of a figure blowing an instrument (Figure 2). The figure is realistically represented, with legs spread slightly apart and holding with both hands a horn-like instrument to his mouth. The figure is depicted in a naked state with his phallus emphasized. At first sight, the length of the instrument depicted in the rock art carving appears to be greater than the height of the figure. However, closer examination suggests that not all of the extended section can be regarded as forming a single instrument, such as a horn. In terms of form, the section of the instrument from the mouthpiece to where it is held has been described as being short and straight; beyond that point, it curves slightly and its outline consists of a ragged silhouette. One possible explanation is that this last section is a deliberate visual representation of high and low sounds vibrating strongly and spreading afar. If this interpretation is indeed correct, it may be that the type of instrument being played by the figure was a short flute, rather than a horn. ( Figure 2 ) Top Right: Figure with an instrument from Bangudae rock engraving Regarding the identity of the figure, several possibilities have been suggested, but it is most likely that he was a magician playing the instrument as part of a ritual. Another rock engraving from Bangudae (Figure 3) has been interpreted as a chief priest carrying out a ceremony before hunting.8 In other words, the instrument can be regarded as a sacred object which provided its owner with high status and sanctity. A similar image of a male figure with an exposed phallus and a bird’s feather in his head (Figure 22), ploughing a field, can be found on a ritual bronze object, said to have come from Daejeon and now in the collection of the National Museum of Korea.9 Therefore, the figure playing the instrument may also be associated with agricultural fertility rituals.10 In other words, the act of blowing an instrument and thus producing a mystical sound while naked and exposing one’s phallus may be regarded as an act intended to obtain supernatural power, while the act of ploughing while naked can be regarded as an act intended to stimulate and satisfy the Earth Goddess and thus boost food production and ensure a bountiful harvest. These rock engravings are believed to have been made mostly from the 10th century BC to the 1st century AD (during the Bronze Age to Early Iron Age). ( Figure 3 ) Bottom Right: Chief priest from Bangudae rock engraving 02 PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS Prehistoric percussion instruments, which made sounds when struck or shaken, consist of the following three types: bells with a clapper (鐸類, tak bells); bells with pellets (鈴類, ryeong bells); and circular bronze dishes (圓形銅器). The tak bell consists of an elongated cylindrical body, open at the bottom; sounds were made when a clapper, made of bronze or iron, struck the lower part of the bell. The ryeong bell consists of a hollow, round or cylindrical body which enclosed a pellet made of clay, bronze or iron; sounds were made when the instrument was shaken. Both types of bells were ritual bronze objects of the Korean Bronze Age, but these instruments differ in both form and function. The majority of bells discovered so far have been made of bronze; stone moulds for bells, clay bells and clay replicas of bells have also been identified. 1) Tak Bells The tak bells and associated artefacts which have been identified are as follows: bronze tak bells; small bronze tak bells (also known as horse bells, 馬鐸, matak); clappers (鐸舌, takseol); bronze tak bell moulds (銅鐸範, dongtakbeom); and bronze-bell-shaped objects made of clay. In the case of tak bells, sounds are made when the clapper, which is suspended from the top of the bell, is made to strike the body of the bell. This type of bell is found in later Bronze Age sites in the Korean peninsula. The base of tak bells found in Korea tends to extend outwards and is a flattened circle in cross-section when viewed from below. A semi-circular knop is attached to the top of the bell, while the clapper, which makes the sound, is suspended within. The clapper is usually attached to two holes bored into the upper part of the bell, but sometimes it is directly attached to the knop though a single circular hole located in the center of the top part of the bell. The knops are generally round or oval shaped in cross section and in many cases show evidence of wear. It is thought that this is because the bells were hung from their knops and shaken to make sounds. Evidence of wear can also be found on the protruding band which goes along the inner base of the bell. The bells are generally undecorated and range from 10 to 16 centimeters in size – the largest tak bell to have been found, which comes from Hapsong-ri, Buyeo (Figure 4), measures 16.1 centimeters in height. Smaller tak bells (i.e. matak), which are decorated and measure around 5 centimeters in height, appear relatively later, in the Early Iron Age, and continue to be used into the Proto-Three Kingdoms period (ca. 1 – 300 AD). A large tak bell clapper, 20.7 centimeters long, was excavated from the site of Pyeongni-dong, Daegu, making it possible to infer the existence of large tak bells, but an actual example has yet to be found. The body of the tak bell also contained square or rhomboid holes which served to attach the inner core, which formed the hollow space within the bell body, to the outer mould; they therefore provide key evidence regarding the casting process. With regard to silhouette, the sides of earlier tak bells descended in a straight line. Clappers were first made of bronze, but then came to be made of iron. Soon afterwards, smaller horse tak bells appeared, the lower part of which curved inwards. These smaller tak bells have been found in association with vehicle trappings and therefore tend to be regarded as horse trappings rather than instruments. However, we cannot be certain about this since similar small bells found in bundles, which are shaken, can be found in the assemblage of ritual objects still used today by chiefs of ritual ceremonies. The appearance of metal percussion instruments led to the creation of pure metallic sounds, which would have opened the way for new concepts of space and time. The main audience for whom the sounds were made would most surely have been the gods associated with agriculture. Indeed, it has been suggested, based on the imagery of the ritual bronze from Daejeon (Figure 22), that the tak bells would have functioned to tell the gods, who came from afar riding on birds, where to descend.11 ( Figure 4 ) Bronze tak bell from the Hapsong-ri site, Buyeo 1-1) The Bronze Tak Bell from the Korean Central History Museum Collection This dongtak or bronze tak bell, which was found completely intact, is shaped like a trapezoid and is oval in horizontal cross-section (Figure 5). Areas of bluish-green bronze rust and black corrosion can be observed on its surface and the nature of casting is generally rough. It has a total height of 13.6 centimeters, of which the knop is 2.6 centimeters high, and the bell body approximately 11 centimeters. The bell width is around 3.6 centimeters at the top and 7.5 centimeters near the bottom. The comb-shaped knop attached to the top of the bell is oval in cross-section with a slightly protruding center. At its center, which is also its highest point, it is around 0.5 centimeters thick. ( Figure 5 ) Bronze tak bells of unknown provenance The walls of the bell are around 0.3 centimeters thick, with slight variations. The uppermost part of the bell, where the knop is attached, is its thickest section; it measures approximately 0.5 centimeters. Inside the bell body, a section of the bell clapper was identified; it was made of iron and the remaining 3.5 centimeter piece was found fixed to the bell. This piece is shaped like a rod and has a circular cross section measuring 0.8 centimeters in diameter. The uppermost part, around 2 centimeters in length, is curved into a ring-shape. It is thought that this part of the iron rod was bent so that the bell clapper could be attached inside the top of the tak bell. A protruding band, 0.3 centimeters wide and 0.1 centimeters thick, runs around the inner part of the bell body, near its base. It is thought that this is where the clapper would have struck the bell body, and that the band was installed in order to prevent damage to the bottom section of the bell. This artefact was cast using a two-part mould and an inner core, which would probably have been carved from talc (Chinese bronze bells, however, were cast in earthenware moulds). It appears that the two moulds were not exactly identical in form, resulting in slight differences in the shape of the front and back sides of the bell – this can be clearly observed in the cross section of the knop. The two sides are seen to be slightly disjointed throughout the bell, and it is thought that this was the result of the two moulds not being perfectly aligned during casting. The protruding seam where the two moulds met was filed down after casting in the case of the bell body. However, this was not the case for the knop, and therefore the rough seam edges can still be seen. In total, four holes used to fix the inner core in place during casting were observed: a square hole with rounded corners, 1.5 x 1.5 centimeters in size and a rectangular hole, 1.2 x 1.5 centimeters in size on the front and back sides of the bell body, respectively. One hole of irregular shape was also identified, 0.8-1.4 x 0.8-1.0 centimeters in size, on each side where the two outer moulds met, near the center of the moulding seam. In addition, a rectangular-shaped knop hole (1.1 x 1.3 centimeters in size) was found on the top of the bell. All of the holes used to fix the inner core in place were shaped at an angle so that each hole was wider inside than outside. It is thought that this way of shaping the holes so that they were trapezoid-shaped in cross-section was to facilitate the removal of the plugs or spacers after casting, by pushing them in. In addition, in the case of the holes located on the edges of the bell (i.e. along the casting seams), it is thought that they were originally intended to be both symmetrical and similar shape. However, due to the accidental moving of the plugs during casting, thereby allowing the molten metal to seep in, they ended up becoming irregularly shaped. This can also be taken as evidence indicating that the plugs were attached to the inner core during casting. Vertical bands, 1.0-1.5 millimeters wide, were observed on sections of the bell surface; it is believed that they derived from traces made on the outer surface of the core when it was carved. Thin protruding lines are also seen on sections of the surface; these are believed to reflect cracks in the mould. In addition, a protrusion 2.5 centimeters long, 1.4 centimeters high and shaped almost like a triangle was found located on the outer surface of the bell, near its base. This is thought to be the trace of the mould gate or sprue, through which the molten bronze alloy was poured.12 The position of the mould gate can be also dimly observed based on the fact that the band-like protrusions found throughout the surface were trimmed around the base of the bell. 1-2) The Bronze Tak Bell Mould from the Korean Central History Museum Collection Although the provenance of this artefact is unknown, it has been introduced as an artefact found near Pyeongyang during the Japanese colonial period.13 It therefore appears to be a dongbeom or mould for bronze tak bell which originated in Pyeongyang. Upon hearing from Koizumi Akio that this mould was in the collection of the Governor General Office Museum, Umehara Sueji came to Korea and noted that the mould was one of several artefacts collected by Nakamura Shinzaburo; it had been stored along with artefacts from Nangnang (樂浪, Chinese: Lelang) purchased by the Museum of the Government General of Joseon and was said to have been found around Pyeongyang. The artefact comprises one part (Figure 6) of a two-part tak bell mould made of talc. Overall, it is missing several pieces but the cavity of the mould is relatively intact, making it possible to infer the form of the finished bronze tak bell. The bell would have been 26.7 centimeters long, 6.9 centimeters wide at its top, and an estimated 12.7 centimeters wide at its base; it would have had a height of 8.8 centimeters. The silhouette of the bell would have been trapezoid-shaped, as was its mould. The mould was made from a piece of stone which formed a hexahedron, and was trapezoid-shaped in cross-section. One half of the tak bell was carved into the upper surface of the mould, making it concave; the lower section of the mould had rounded edges. ( Figure 6 ) Talc mould for a bronze tak bell presumably from Pyeongyang Located above this was the comb-shaped (櫛形) cavity for the knop. At its widest point, the bell knop was 6.7 centimeters wide – the same as the upper width of the bell – and 2.7 centimeters high. The cast knop would have formed a semi-circle; its cross-section was oval and 1.0 centimeters across. Based on the cavity carved into the mould, it can be inferred that the bronze tak bell was cylindrical in form, albeit narrower at the top than at the bottom. Its horizontal cross-section was shaped like an oval. The upper width of the bell was 6.7 centimeters and its exact height is unknown. If we compare the cavity carved into the mould with other bronze tak bells, it is possible to confirm that the cavity for the knop is relatively greater than that of other actual bells of similar height. The mould therefore demonstrates a different ratio between knop and bell. However, it appears that the bronze tak bell cast using the bell mould would have been approximately 16 centimeters tall, making it similar in height to the bell from Goejeong-dong. The casting surface (i.e. cavity) of the mould was found to have been blackened during the casting process. However, there was a 3 centimeter wide section near the lower part of the cavity which was not blackened and did not demonstrate any change in color due to heat. It is thought that this was where the inner core was joined to the outer mould, so that this part was not affected by the molten bronze. This can therefore be used as important evidence, based on which the length of the cast bronze tak bell can be inferred. If we apply this logic, the body of the bronze tak bell (i.e. not including its knop) can be estimated to be approximately 16 centimeters long. The back and right sides of the mould were damaged, but it was still possible to identify markings that appear to have been associated with the production process. The markings would have been used to note the position of the two pieces of the mould so that they would be perfectly aligned. It is thought that the upper, lower, right and left side of each mould piece (but not the front and back) would have contained a pair of markings, although at present, it is only the left and upper side of the mould which has two markings. In the case of the right and lower side of the mould, only a single mark remains. In addition, the back side of the mould, as well as its left and right sides, was found to contain a linear groove 0.2 centimeters wide and 0.9 centimeters deep which was cut into the stone. It appears that the cord used to tie together and fasten the two outer mould parts during casting would have fitted into this groove. Another characteristic feature of the mould is a groove, which measures approximately 7 x 3 centimeters, located on the center-left section of the mould. It is L-shaped forming a raised spot towards the back of the mould. It is thought that its function was to make it easy to grip the mould, thereby facilitating the separation of the two mould assembly following casting. Bronze tak bells are generally found to contain a single hole at the top of the body through which the bell clapper was attached, as well as additional holes used to hold the inner core in place during casting. However, the shape and location of these holes cannot be identified from the mould. There may be two possible reasons for this: firstly, the outer mould, inner core and spacers consisted of separate pieces which were assembled; secondly, the spacers used to keep the inner core apart from the outer mould existed as protrusions on the former. In terms of the quality of the finished product, it would have been more efficient to have the spacers attached to the inner core. Indeed, it was observed that, in the case of the bronze tak bell from the same collection, the spacers would have been attached to the inner core (Figure 5). Finally, it may be suggested that the mould gate, which is a necessary component of the casting process, allowing the molten alloy to be poured into the mould assembly, was installed after the two outer mould sections were assembled around the inner core, with mould positioned so that the lower part of the bell faced upwards. This is because it is impossible to find any traces of the mould gate on the present mould piece, particularly near the bell knop. Of course, we cannot discount the possibility that the mould gate would have been located on the other outer section of the whole mould assembly. 1-3) Clay Object Shaped Like a Bronze Tak Bell Only one example of a clay object shaped like a dongtak or bronze tak bell has been discovered in Korea; it comes from Sinchang-dong, Gwangju (Figure 7).14 ( Figure 7 ) Clay object shaped like a bronze tak bell from the Sinchang-dong site It is only the relatively flat and oval-shaped upper section of this clay object which remains. However it is here that the traces of knop holes were found. Although the body of the bell is damaged, the inner surface contains evidence of a hollow space. Overall, it appears that the clay object was made in an attempt to imitate the form of the bronze tak bell. It is significant that the object was found within a settlement context, in contrast to the majority of bronze tak bells which, as ritual bronzes, were deposited in burials. 2) Ryeong Bells (鈴類) The ryeong bells unearthed at prehistoric sites in Korea appear to have been ritual objects used by chief shamans in the period of the Korean Dagger Culture (Figure 8). Their distribution is limited to the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula. Chronologically, their appearance follows after that of the bronze tak bell. Artefacts which can be regarded as ryeong bells include eight-branched ryeong bells (八珠鈴, paljuryeong), double-headed ryeong bells (雙頭鈴, ssangduryeong), composite double-headed ryeong bells, elongated pole-top ryeong bells (竿頭鈴, ganduryeong), round staff-end ryeong bells (炳附銅鈴, byeongbudongryeong), silkworm cocoon-shaped ryeong bells (蠶形鈴, jamhyeongryeong), all of which were made of bronze, and clay ryeong bells (土鈴, toryeong). ( Figure 8 ) Various bronze ryeong bells presumably from Deoksan 2-1) Double-Headed Ryeong Bell The eight-branched ryeong bell consists of an octagonal bronze plate which has a ryeong bell attached to each of the eight protruding corners. So far, this type of bell has been discovered at Daegok-ri in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do (Figure 9); other examples are said to have come from Deoksan and Nonsan. It appears that this type of bell usually occurs in sets of two. Of these, the eight-branched ryeong bell from Daegok-ri shows decoration of superior quality and is the only example of certain provenance. The central section is decorated with a radiating sunbeam motif, and the edges of the octagonal plate are again decorated with a sunbeam motif, formed by engraving a band of short lines. A small ring was made on the back of the bell, through which a cord would have likely been threaded; the bell would have been held by hand or attached to clothing via this cord, and sounds would have been made when the bell was shaken. A pair of symmetrical fern leaf motifs were incised onto the surface of each small bell. In the case of the Daegok-ri eight-branched ryeong bell, the backs of the small bells were left undecorated. However, identical motifs were found decorating the front and back surface of each small bell in the case of the eight-branched ryeong bell said to have come from Nonsan. Such eight-branched ryeong bells are not found in contemporary archaeological contexts from surrounding areas, such as China and Japan, and therefore may be understood as a distinctive type of bronze artefact found only in Korea. ( Figure 9 ) Eight-branched ryeong bell from the Daegok-ri site 2-2) Eight-Branched Ryeong Bell The double-headed ryeong bell consists of a tubular bronze rod with a ryeong bell attached at each end. These have normally been found in pairs. One was found at the Chopo-ri site, in Hampyeong, while others are said to have come from Duksan and Nonsan. The single example illustrated here was excavated from Daegok-ri, in Hwasun (Figure 10). Although some have been left undecorated, others have been decorated using short slanting lines and triangular motifs. A rectangular hole pierces the center of the rod which connects the two ryeong bells and it is thought that a wooden staff or a cord would have been inserted into this hole. The connecting rod was also decorated using motifs similar to those found on the bells. ( Figure 10 ) Double-headed ryeong bell from the Daegok-ri site 2-3) Composite Double- Headed Ryeong Bell The composite double-headed ryeong bell was made by joining and intersecting two bronze rods, each of which had a ryeong bell attached to one end (Figure 11). The section where the two rods met, located at the opposite end, formed a tongue and groove structure through which the ends were joined. The bell would have been held by this section and shaken. Three examples have been identified so far, which are from Daegok-ri in Hwasun, and Chopo-ri in Hampyeong, and presumably from Nonsan. ( Figure 11 ) Composite double-headed ryeong bell from the Chopo-ri site 2-4) Elongated Pole-Top Ryeong Bell This instrument was attached as a finial to the end of a pole and shaken to make a sound. It is also called a yeongbyeongdu. At the base of the elongated ryeong bell was a hollow space into which the pole was inserted. A protruding band went around its center and a torpedo-shaped bell formed the upper section of this instrument. Radiating slits and a cross-shaped sunbeam motif are found decorating this upper section, while stamped triangle and square patterns decorate the lower section. The decorative nature of elongated pole-top ryeong bells appears to have become stronger with time, as can be seen from the Nonsan example, which was followed by the Chopo-ri example (Figure 12), and finally the Jukdong-ri example. ( Figure 12 ) Left: Elongated pole-finial ryeong bell from the Chopo-ri site 2-5) Round Staff-End Ryeong Bell The round staff-end ryeong bell consists of a ryeong bell attached to a hollow socketed extension, into which a wooden staff could be inserted. The earliest example, which is also the best known, comes from the site of Chopo-ri, in Hampyeong. Another example was found at Ipsil-ri. The round staff-end ryeong bell from Chopo-ri is of the mother-and-son type, in which a smaller inner bell is located within the larger outer bell. Located at the top of the outer bell is a square-shaped protrusion which is pierced by a hole; it appears that threads used to decorate the bell were inserted into this hole. The socketed extension located at the bottom of the bell extends in a straight manner, becoming wider at the end. Based on the fact that a piece of wood was found within this socketed extension, it is likely that a wooden staff would have been inserted when using the bell (Figure 13). ( Figure 13 ) Center: Round staff-end ryeong bell from the Chopo-ri site 2-6) Silkworm Cocoon-Shaped Ryeong Bell This type of ryeong bell in the shape of a silkworm cocoon was found in the Jeongbaek-dong area of Pyeongyang (Figure 14); another example comes from a collection from Gyeongju or the surrounding area. Overall, the bell is shaped like a peanut, with a slender central section flanked to the left and right by rounded sections. A circular ring sits on the top of the bell. Based on its form, it is highly likely that the bell was used as an ornament to embellish the hilt of a sword used by a ritual chief. The sounds of the bell would have been made by the beads put into either side of the slender central section of the bell. This type of bell emerged around the end of the Early Iron Age but soon disappeared. ( Figure 14 ) Right: Silkworm cocoon-shaped ryeong bell from the Sinchang-dong site 2-7) Clay Ryeong Bell Clay ryeong bells dating to the prehistoric period consist of the elongated egg-shaped bell (Figure 15) and the bell with a face motif (Figure 16) both from Sinchang-dong, Gwangju. The former was found in a half-destroyed state, but it was possible to identify the presence of a knop hole, which suggests that the clay bell would have been hung or attached to a cord. The artefact was found to contain a small pellet within its hollow inner space, allowing the bell to make a sound when shaken. The clay bell with a face seems to be associated with a godly appearance; the top and base of the object was flat and an eyebrow was drawn near the center of its body, thereby giving it the appearance of a face. This bell was also hollow and also contained a small pellet which made a sound when the bell was shaken. A similar example of a face can be found on the shell mask from the Neolithic site of Dongsam-dong, although the function of this artefact would have been different to that of the ryeong bell. Such faces, in which the eye or face of a god was expressed, appear to have been associated with rituals; they usually demonstrate stern or stiff expressions. ( Figure 15 ) Left: Clay ryeong bell from the Sinchang-dong site ( Figure 16 ) Center: Clay ryeong bell from the Sinchang-dong site 3) Circular Bronze Dishes Other types of percussion instruments include circular bronze dishes with relatively thin walls. In Korean, it is also called a wongae type (圓蓋, round cover) or wonpan (圓板, round disc) bronze instrument. It is a round object, shaped like a plate, and gently convex in the center. A single knop adorns this convex area, allowing it to be held by a threaded cord. Larger examples of this instrument, from Goejeong-dong (Figure 17), Dongseo-ri and Hapsong-ri, were found to contain cracks or were slightly broken, making it possible to infer that the instruments may have been held in one hand using a cord and hit with a rod, as with the gong. A small circular instrument excavated from Chodo, Najin, may be not be directly related. Another circular bronze instrument excavated from Iksan is decorated, in its central concave section, with crosses surrounded by radiating sunbeams. This ornamental motif is similar to the cross-shaped sunbeam motif found on bronze mirrors and eight-branched ryeong bells. The back of the Iksan instrument contained a double row of dotted lines forming a circle; the trace of a knop can be found in its center.15 ( Figure 17 ) Right: Round bronze instrument from the Goejeong-dong site 03 STRING INSTRUMENT FROM THE SINCHANG-DONG SITE A stringed instrument was discovered at the wetland site of Sinchang-dong, Gwangju, in 1997 (Figure 18). It has a total length of 77.2 centimeters. Its main body is shaped, in plan, like a rectangle with rounded edges at one end; in the middle of this rounded part is a protruding section which looks like an inverted triangle in plan. The ends of this protruding section are shaped like the ridge-end tiles (鴟尾, chimi) of a roof, and two square-shaped holes (方形孔) lie below. It is thought that wooden pegs may have been inserted firmly into these holes in order to attach the strings to the bottom of the instrument. The holes measure approximately 2.3 x 1.8-1.9 centimeters in size and are 2.6 centimeters deep; they are located 2.4 centimeters apart. The instrument is 77.2 centimeters long in total, and the remaining body is 15.9 centimeters at its widest point (the reconstructed body is 28.4 centimeters wide). The walls of the instrument are thickest at its protruding section, measuring 5.7 centimeters; they gradually become thinner, and measure around 1.6 centimeters where the string holes are located (絃孔部, hyeongongbu). The main section of the instrument where the strings would have been plucked or struck, thereby producing sound (彈音部, taneumbu), was ‘U’ shaped. This section was formed by carving out the inner space and leaving a ‘U’ shaped perimeter and the center of its lower part protruding slightly upwards. This instrument was not found in a complete state, and only six string holes remain. However, based on its structure and form, it appears that ten string holes would have existed. In other words, this artefact from Sinchang-dong was originally a ten-stringed instrument. An actual example of such a string instrument, similar to the one from Sinchang-dong, has also been discovered at the Imdang site, in Gyeongsan, in the wooden coffin burial No. A-I-121.16 ( Figure 18 ) String instrument from the Sinchang-dong site Evidence of a lacquered musical instrument was also identified in a wooden coffin burial at the Daho-ri site. It therefore appears that such string instruments were deposited in the burials of high status individuals, such as chiefs. This may suggest that the string instruments were played during funerary rituals and were buried afterwards as offerings. 04 FRICTION INSTRUMENTS FROM THE SINCHANG-DONG SITE Friction instruments (擦音樂器) were made by cutting notches into the surface of rods made of antler or wood. Sounds were made when a pick was rubbed against the notched surface. The site of Sinchang-dong has yielded wooden friction instruments, while others made of antlers have been found at sites such as the Jodo shell mound in Busan (Figure 19), the Seongsan shell mound in Masan, and the Geumpyeong shell mound in Boseong, which can clearly be distinguished from knife handles (刀子柄) made of similar materials. The two wooden friction instruments from Sinchang-dong had, or are thought to have had, handles (柄部) (Figure 20). The main body of the instrument, attached to the handle, contained notches (劾目) which were relatively deeply cut and shaped like inverted triangles in cross-section. It is the depth and interval of these notches which determined the sounds made through friction, and differences in pick form and friction speed also produced various types of sounds. The friction picks (摩擦棒) were made of wood or bamboo, and different pick shapes were used according to the desired types of sounds. It is thought that such friction instruments were used to keep time when performing magical ceremonies or when singing songs during agricultural work. Although we do not know much about their origins, it appears that the notched bone objects (劾骨) found at various sites from the Bronze Age onwards may demonstrate genealogical links, in terms of form, to this instrument. ( Figure 19 ) Various notched bone objects from the Jodo shell mound ( Figure 20 ) Friction instrument from the Sinchang-dong site III INSTRUMENTS IN TEXTUAL RECORDS The earliest recorded mention of instruments in Korea comes from the Dongyi-zhuan (東夷傳, Accounts of the Eastern Barbarians) of the Weishu (巍書, Wei History), which forms part of the Sanguozhi (三國志, History of Three Kingdoms) compiled by Chen Shou (陳壽). Given Chen Shou’s dates of birth and death (233-97), it appears that this text of Chinese history was compiled during the late third century; in other words, this text represents the accumulation of records made prior to this period. In particular, given that they chart how the division, consolidation and stratification of communities in the Korean peninsula progressed immensely following the introduction of iron, ultimately leading to the establishment of states, the records should be regarded as a chronicle of social developments accumulated over a long period of time, rather than as a single body of work produced at a single point in time. These changes, in fact, took place between the second century BC to the third century AD, which coincides with the archaeological periods of the Early Iron Age and Proto-Three Kingdoms period. 01 TAK BELL DANCE (鐸舞, TAKMU), RYEONG BELL AND DRUM (鈴敲, YEONGGO) RITUAL The “Monograph on the Han (韓條)” of the Dongyi-zhuan records that “Each year in May, after sowing, ancestral rites are carried out for the spirits. They come together and sing and dance and drink throughout the day and night. Dozens of people dance together, forming a line; they step on the ground, crouch and stand up, all the while keeping rhythm with their hands and feet; the noise produced by this makes it sound as if it were a tak bell dance. This takes place again after the harvest in October.” Along with the record about the sodo (蘇塗, sacred place; Chinese: sutu),17 this is the section most often quoted. It relates to the types of rituals that pray for an abundant harvest, which can be seen in the folk practices of agricultural societies; it may therefore be regarded as a record relevant to the nature of agricultural life around the time that the bronze tak bell appeared. In other words, this record describes the feasts of the agricultural community which took place after sowing in order to pray for an abundant harvest, as well as to celebrate the joy of harvesting and the promise of a similar harvest next year. This ritual was compared to a ‘tak bell dance’, and it is therefore highly likely that this dance featured the bronze tak bell. Although the specific nature of the tak bell dance cannot be known, some have suggested that it would have been similar to the bronze drum rituals (銅鼓儀禮) of Yunnan Province (雲南省) in China.18 This ritual is usually accompanied by the act of dancing while stepping on the earth, in synchronization with a pair of [male and female] bronze drums. The rock art of the Zuo River (左江), in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also contains images of a similar form of bronze tak bell dance (Figure 21). Much of the rock panel depicts figures carrying out the bronze drum ritual; the images consist of figures standing in a row with arms and legs spread apart, coordinating movements, as well as figures sitting up and down, clapping.19 This is consistent with the description of the tak bell dance which appears in the Dongyi-zhuan. In particular, it is of great interest that a figure has been depicted with bird feathers in his or her hair (烏裝人物), similar to the figure which appears in the ritual bronze from Daejeon (Figure 22). Further research is required in order to better understand how this image may be related to the record in the Dongyi-zhuan, but it can be regarded as important material which can shed light on the nature of the society in which this type of agricultural ritual was carried out. ( Figure 21 ) Zuo River rock art of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region ( Figure 22 ) Ritual bronze object with farming scene, presumably from Daejeon In addition, the Miao people (苗族) are said to plant, in the sacred square of the village, a windswept tree – regarded as a guardian tree – and hang upon its branches a bronze drum.20 In the case of the Yao people (布努瑤族), they are said to always hang a pair of [male and female] bronze drums. These bronze drum rituals coincide with the account in the “Monograph on the Han” of the Dongyi-zhuan which records that “They plant a large tree upon which they hang bells and drums and carry out ancestral rites for the spirits.” In particular, the fact that, at villages where the bronze drum ritual is carried out, the Miao people refer to the central square of the village as lushengping (盧笙坪),21 “arena for the gourd flute” and regard it as a sacred place.22 This also coincides with the account which notes that “… there is a special area called the sodo... anyone who seeks refuge there will not be turned away…” in relation to the existence of a holy place.23 Of the instruments discovered at archaeological sites in Korea, a drum has yet to be found. However, given the presence of deer bones in shell mound sites, it is highly likely that instruments, such as drums, which utilized deer hides were present from an early period. 02 THE SE (LARGE ZITHER) The Weishu Dongyi zhuan24 notes that “There is a tribe that likes dancing and drinking. They have an instrument called the se (瑟, strings, Korean: seul) the appearance of which is similar to that of the zhu (筑, ancient lute, Korean: chuk). Sounds are made when it is struck,” which indicates that the zither was already in existence at the time. The issue remains, however, whether the string instruments found at the sites of Sinchang-dong and Imdang referred to above can be identified as the zither. The Dongyi-zhuan notes that the se was rectangular in shape, over 160 centimeters long and 40 centimeters wide, and had a sound box, whereas one of the string instruments from Korea is, for example, only 77.2 centimeters long.25 In addition, the annals say that the se was similar to the zhu, but the zhu is usually made of bamboo, is long and narrow, and has a simple structure. It has also been widely noted that the number of strings differs from that of the instrument from Sinchang-dong. An actual example of the Chinese zhu instrument was discovered at the Kofun period site of Tzunetake Nishiura, located in Shizuoka, Japan; it is clearly different in form to the instrument from Sinchang-dong. In addition, the Sinchang-dong instrument, at 77.2 centimeters, is too short to have been played with one end resting on the knee, as was the custom in early China. Therefore, if we accept the record which states that the se was similar to the zhu, there is still the possibility that the string instruments from Sinchang-dong and Imdang were instruments not related to the se, but indigenous to the Korean peninsula. A fresh and refined approach to the study of these instruments is thus keenly needed, which can overcome the paucity of the Korean material and the differences in form which exist. A comprehensive analysis which considers the nature of the material, remaining features, contexts of discovery, manufacturing techniques applied may be of use. IV CONCLUSION: THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF PREHISTORIC INSTRUMENTS The aim of this paper has been to examine the different types of instruments found at prehistoric sites in the Korean peninsula, with focus on the actual artefacts which could be observed from the Korean Central History Museum in Pyeongyang. Artefacts associated with the production of artificial sounds include the bone flute, which is the oldest instrument to have been found in Korea, tak and ryeong bells which emerged during the later period of the Bronze Age, the string instrument from Sinchang-dong, clay bells and friction instruments made of notched wood and antler. With regard to the instrument depicted in the Bangudae rock engraving, it was interpreted as a flute-like object, although there remains the possibility that it may be portraying a horn. Even if the present paper could not provide further insight regarding the flute as the earliest-appearing instrument, it was able to confirm that the appearance of bronze musical instruments, which comprise the majority of surviving prehistoric musical instruments, was centered around the Korean Dagger Culture period. The bronze tak bells were in wide use during Phase I of the Korean Dagger Culture period, and the various types of bronze ryeong bells were prevalent during Phase II of the Korean Dagger Culture period.26 In terms of spatial distribution, bronze musical instruments first appeared around the western parts of the south-central region of the Korean peninsula; they gradually spread to the Yeongnam (i.e. Gyeongsang-do) region, and came to be made of iron. That these instruments were closely associated with various ritual practices which took place in the Bronze Age was suggested through several examples. Rituals which pray for abundance and give thanks for the harvest continue to this day, although times have changed. This is because acknowledging the limitation of human vis-à-vis the godly power of nature belongs to the realm of faith – of the gods – and becomes the basis for rituals. It is widely accepted that the bronze objects found in archaeological contexts belonged to the shamans who presided over rituals in a theocratic society. Of these objects, the bronze tak bell made sounds when it was shaken and the clapper struck the side of the bell body. The tak bell first emerged, along with the bronze drum, during the Shang Dynasty of China; in the Korean peninsula, it appeared around the end of the Bronze Age. It was believed that, when the ceremonial chief rung the bronze tak bell during rituals, the sound was transmitted to the gods. This type of ritual is well documented in a ritual bronze object from the Bronze Age. In this bronze object, said to have come from Daejeon, a scene from an agricultural ritual is depicted, in which a male priest with a feather in his head and his phallus exposed is shown ploughing a field. Similar depictions of figures, thought to be priests, wearing bird feathers and bird masks can be found on Japanese ceramic jars of the Yayoi period27 and the bronze vessel from the Gaoya tomb of the Chu state from the Warring States period, which is located in Huaiyin County, Jiangsu Province.28 A bronze drum from Yunnan Province was also found to contain an image of a priest, dressed as a bird, riding a boat. The bronze tak bell dance recorded in the Weishu Dongyi zhuan can be understood in relation to the images of the bronze drum ritual depicted on the rock art of the Zuo River, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, in which dancing and the playing of instruments is shown to be coordinated by a figure dressed as a bird. In addition, the discovery of a string instrument at Sinchang-dong indicates that percussion instruments, such as bronze tak bells, later came to be accompanied by string instruments. It may be suggested that this represents the broadening of instrument function; no longer were they merely objects intended to communicate with and please the gods, but were instruments, producing various sounds, which could also be enjoyed by the participants of the rituals. This can also be taken to indicate the diversification of ritual practices that accompanied changes in the structure of agricultural society, the latter emerging as a result of the widespread use of iron which brought about an expansion of farmlands and an increase in agricultural production. Such diversity in ritual practices can also be gleaned through the clay ryeong bell with a face, bird-shaped wooden object, pigshaped clay figurine, clay ryeong bell, bronze tak bell (represented by the presence of a bell clapper), clay object shaped like a bronze tak bell, friction instrument, string instrument, and weapon-shaped wooden instrument from Sinchang-dong, as well as symbolic representations, such as that of the bird, which formed part of the ceremonial chief priest’s dress. Such artefacts, which do not occur in earlier periods, are highly likely to have been associated with agricultural rituals. Moreover, when ancestral rites are included, the number of objects associated with rituals can be seen to increase greatly, encompassing oracle bones, snake-patterned lacquer objects which were used as talismans to protect against danger, and various miniatures which were used in a variety of contexts. Of the archaeological material associated with the agricultural rituals of the time, the bird-shaped wooden figures are of particular interest. Two different types have been identified: those which have been sculptured three-dimensionally and those which are flatter, cut out from wooden boards. Although these figures do not contain peg holes into which the wings of the bird could have been inserted, it cannot be denied that they were indeed birds. These wooden bird figures can be understood in a similar way to the bird sitting on a tree on the ritual bronze said to come from Daejeon since both may be regarded as ‘birds which call the gods’, which were an important symbolic component of farming rituals. In addition, the agricultural landscape described in the Weishu Dongyi zhuan, in which every spring and autumn, bells and drums were utilized during ancestral rites which took place at special, sacred places called sodo, may be regarded as generally representing the reality of agricultural life in the Bronze Age villages of the Korean peninsula.
The Manufacturing Technique of National Treasure No.141: Bronze Mirror with Twin Knops and Fine Geometric Design
  • Park Haksoo(Conservation Science Team, National Museum of Korea)
National Treasure No. 141 – Bronze Mirror with Twin Knops and Fine Geometric Design (hereafter referred to as NT 141) – which is in the collection of the Korean Christian Museum at Soongsil University, is regarded, on account of the detailed and elaborate nature of its geometric design, as a key artefact illustrating the high quality of bronze manufacturing techniques in Bronze Age Korea. It is surprising that such a bronze mirror could have been made using the manufacturing techniques available at the time. Various possibilities have been suggested and numerous experiments have been carried out, but the manufacturing technique of NT 141 has yet to be revealed.1 Detailed investigation of the mirror was therefore carried out in conjunction with the conservation process which took place between July 2007 and August 2008.2 The present paper aims to examine, based on the results of this investigation, the techniques used to manufacture this fine bronze mirror. II INVESTIGATION METHOD NT 141 was examined in detail through photography and the use of a stereomicroscope; a digital camera was used to make image recordings. The recorded images were then measured quantitatively using an image analyzer. The measurement of circles, such as those dividing the different areas of decoration or the concentric circles located in the mirror’s outer section, was carried out as follows: three points were selected from the circumference of the circle, a new circle which passed through these three points was redrawn, and the radius of the new circle was measured. Vernier calipers and a thickness gauge were amongst the tools used to carry out measurement. Certain parts of the mirror were found to have been deformed due to defects which occurred during casting. In addition, it should be noted that measurement took place following the re-attachment of dislocated pieces; the values obtained may therefore differ slightly from the original dimensions of the cast mirror. Finally, as the back (the decorated side) of the mirror was not perfectly flat, a slight error may exist in its measurement. III RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION 01 MIRROR FORM As seen in Figure 1, NT 141 has a horizontal diameter of 212.1mm and a vertical diameter of 212.8mm. The front of the mirror is flat while the back has two knops and is decorated with a geometric design. The decorations on the back of the mirror can be divided into three ring-shaped zones: inner, middle and outer. The outer zone contains vertical rows of triangles filled with slanting lines, in between which lie four pairs of concentric circles.3 The middle zone was also decorated using triangles filled with slanting lines. Finally, the inner section of the mirror was divided into four panels, each of which was again decorated using triangles filled with slanting lines. The two knops are located slightly above the center point of the mirror and knop core prints can be found on either side of the knop holes. The inner zone of the mirror was found to be relatively thicker than the outer zone, thereby making the mirror convex in form. The rim of the mirror is semicircular in cross section, and evidence of chamfering was observed around the front edge (Figure 2). ( Figure 1 ) NT 141, the Bronze Mirror with Twin Knops and Fine Geometric Design after conservation treatment ( Figure 2 ) Cross section of the Bronze Mirror prior to conservation treatment The bronze mirror currently consists of 19 fragments, with a missing section extending vertically between the two knops. Missing sections are also located along the upper parts of the rim, to the left and right. The lower part of the outer zone also contains a missing section. 02 CASTING DEFECTS Casting defects occur when casting conditions are not ideal, and as each casting defect has a corresponding reason, the investigation of these casting defects may allow us to infer casting conditions. A number of such casting defects can be found on NT 141. Some of the main casting defects are presented in Figure 3. The rim above Circle 1 (for ease of description, each concentric circle has been given a number (1~8), beginning with the upper left concentric circle) contains an imprint of the outer section and rim (hereafter Defect 1) due to parts of the mould having become detached (Figure 3-1). This defect starts at the rim, continues along the lower left part of the back of the mirror, and goes on to the front. This defect had previously been covered by restoration material and therefore had not been discovered. A corner scab defect occurred along the mirror’s outer section and rim, between Circle 1 and Circle 2 (hereafter Defect 2), leading to the original decoration being erased (Figure 3-2). Circle 2 was found to contain an imprint of a piece of the mould detached from the outer section and rim (hereafter Defect 3) (Figure 3-3). Defects 1 and 3 were found to cover the surface of Defect 2 when moved to their original positions, thereby indicating the area from which they were detached (Figure 3-7, 3-8). Several rat-tail defects which extended to the rim were identified on the mirror’s surface. The lower part of the mirror (Figure 3-4) and the area to the left of Defect 1 (Figure 3-5) were observed to be at the stage just prior to scab formation; this had occurred due to the expansion of the mould which led to a decrease in the thickness of the casting. A defect resulting from the inclusion of sand detached from the mould was also found on the front side of the mirror, parts of which were located directly underneath Defect 3 (Figure 3-6). Based on the presence of corner scabs and rat-tail defects, it appears that there was too much moisture or too little clay in the mould.4 ( Figure 3 ) Casting defects 03 MOULD 1) Material Various suggestions have previously been put forth regarding the material of the mould. Among the possibilities has been the use of an earthen mould onto which the mirror design was incised,5 the use of a stone mould onto which the mirror design was carved directly,6 and finally the use of a cast made of beeswax (which in turn was made from a stone mould containing the mirror design) which was then covered with the material used to make the final mould.7 An attempt can be made to infer the material of the mould by examining the casting defects which can be observed on the mirror. Defect 1, located on the rim, continues along the edge of the mirror and onto the front (Figure 4), and sand inclusions which appear to have come from the mould are present in between the front and back of the mirror, as can be seen in Figure 4-1. As mentioned above, this part was found to have been detached from the outer zone area of Defect 2, and was also identified as containing evidence of a curved design, as well as traces of sand (Figure 4-2, 4-3). In addition, sandy material was also observed within Defect 3 [illustrated above in Figure 3], Figure 4-4 and the lower part of the rim (Figure 4-5, 4-6). ( Figure 4 ) Distribution of moulding sand This indicates that the use of a stone mould is unlikely. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that casting took place using a lost wax process. In this case the final mould could have also been made of earth. Therefore it is necessary that we focus on the structure of the mould, rather than its material. In the case that space for the core print was cut into the stone mould and the core installed (the cores were used to make the knop holes in the mould), the wax-cast made through this process would have contained evidence of damage around the knop hole, as a result of removing the core. However, as can be seen in Figure 5, the design around the knops does not contain any evidence of damage. In addition, if this were the case, the redrawn line which can be seen on the knop core print could not have existed. ( Figure 5 ) Designs around the boundary of the knops Even in the case that the mould was made without detaching the knop core from the original cast, the infill between the core and the stone mould would have disintegrated upon separating the knop core and wax-cast from the stone mould. Therefore, the boundary between the core print and the surrounding design could not be as clear as is in fact the case. Another possibility is that the knop holes were made after the wax-cast was completed. However, in this case, the core print would not have been required at all, and therefore would not have left a trace. Based on the above findings, NT 141 was manufactured using a sand-based mould of hardened moulding sand. 2) Type With regard to the manufacture of bronze objects, there exists the question of whether an open or closed mould would have been used.8 Even in the case that an open mould was used, the manufacture of bronze mirrors would have been possible by polishing the parts which had contracted during the solidification process. Clues regarding the type of mould used can be obtained from the sand inclusions found in the defect located on the mirror’s rim [Defect 1, see Figure 3]. When pieces of the mould become detached during the casting process, they float to the top as their density is lower than that of the molten metal. Therefore, in the case that an open mould was used, such mould debris should only be found on the front of the mirror. However, as debris was identified on both the front and the decorated back of the mirror, distributed in a diagonal direction, it is possible to confirm that an open mould was not used. The type of phenomenon described above occurs when detached mould pieces floating to the top become trapped on either side of a closed mould. It can therefore be assumed that the type of mould used in the case of NT 141 was a closed mould. Though chamfering identified on the front side of the mirror, it cannot be known if such a feature had been present on the actual mould or if it occurred after casting, during the polishing process. 3) The Possible Use of Multiple Materials One other possibility regarding the mould is that the design of the mirror was carved onto a clay layer which was added to a stone mould.9 This may be suggested based on observations that have been made on the use of the stone mould for a bronze mirror with multiple knops, currently in the collection of Soongsil University, which is said to have come from Yeongam, Jeollanam-do. As discussed above, the mould of NT 141 was made of sand. Upon removing the earth caught in the lower right part of the rim (Defect 4), which had come from the matrix surrounding the buried mirror, it was possible to observe particles from the mould (Figure 4-5, 4-6). It is possible to observe that the distribution of mould remains nearly reaches the uppermost part of the rim. As traces of moulding sand can be observed, it can be said that at least up to this point, the type of mould used was a sand mould. In addition, as can be seen in Figure 6, rat-tails which were formed by a defect in the mould extend continuously from the outer zone of the mirror to the rim. This indicates that the entire surface which came in contact with the molten alloy was made using the same material – moulding sand. ( Figure 6 ) Distribution of rat-tail casting defects 04 DECORATION 1) Appearance and Drawing Method The circles which divided the respective decoration zones were re-drawn using an image analyzer, by selecting three different points on the circumference of each original circle. The results of this are presented in Figure 7. The re-drawn circles were found to be identical to the original circles, and the center points of the circles were also found to be nearly identical. However the circle that was drawn using three points from the circumference of the rim did not conform to the actual outline of the latter, with some sections falling outside and other sections lying within the mirror’s outline. The center point of the rim circle was also located separately from that of the other circles. When a circle was drawn at the point where the centers of the other circles met (hereafter Center Point O), and passed the outermost point of the rim [the red circle in Figure 7], it was possible to observe that the upper edge of the mirror coincided with the boundary of the red circle, while the side and lower edges of the mirror did not extend to this boundary. It is assumed that this is because, although the mirror was originally planned and drawn out as a circle, the outline of the rim was carved unevenly or unevenness occurred during the process of polishing which took place after the mirror was cast. Based on the fact that the boundary between the rim and the outer zone forms an even circle, it is more likely that this unevenness in the outline of the rim resulted from manufacturing processes which took place after casting. The circles of the inner section were also found to have a similar center point where re-drawn using the image analyzer. However, this center point did not match that of the cross which divided the inner section into four panels. In addition, the vertical line of the cross did not form a right angle with its horizontal line; the angle between the vertical line and the horizontal line to the left was found to be 85°. As the lines forming the cross were not perfectly straight, the measurement of the angle took place by connecting the end points of the lines to the Center Point O. The unevenness of these lines is thought to derive from the fact that the back of the mirror is not perfectly flat but slightly convex. This means that the mould for the back of the mirror would have been slightly concave, making the drawing of the geometric designs a difficult task. ( Figure 7 ) Re-drawn boundary lines and concentric circles 2) Concentric Circles in the Outer Zone In the case of the eight concentric circles located in the outer zone, the center point of each was established by re-drawing the outermost circle, based on the above-described method of selecting three points. An attempt was then made to draw another circle which passed through the centers of the concentric circles and had Center Point O as its center (Figure 7). However, it was impossible to draw such a circle which passed through all of the centers of the concentric circles. Therefore, the angle between each of the concentric circles was obtained using Center Point O. The results of this are presented in Table 1. The angle between concentric circles forming pairs was found to range between 21.5° to 22.3° and the angle between the four pairs of concentric circles was found to range between 89.3° to 90.5°. As it is difficult to achieve this degree of closeness to a right angle based on the naked eye alone, it can be assumed that knowledge of how to bisect an angle existed at the time. In addition, in the case of the concentric circles forming pairs, the angles were found to fall slightly short of the 22.5° which can be obtained through the bisection of angles. It is difficult to know at present whether this was due to errors which occurred during the process of bisecting angles, or if the center point of each concentric circle hand, in fact, was established by selecting a point which lays at a certain distance from a nearby circle. ( Table 1 ) Angle between the concentric circles Concentric circle Angle (°) Concentric circle Angle (°) 1-2 21.9 1-3 89.3 2-3 67.4 2-4 89.7 3-4 22.3 3-5 90.5 4-5 68.3 4-6 89.9 5-6 21.6 5-7 90.2 6-7 68.6 6-8 90.1 7-8 21.5 7-1 90.0 8-1 68.5 8-2 90.4 3) Carving Method The radii of the concentric circles in the outer zone can be obtained by selecting three points on the circumference using an image analyzer – in doing so, a circle can be drawn and its center point established. Through this method, the radii of the 21 circles which comprise each concentric circle (excluding the two to three curved lines in the center) were obtained. Table 2 presents a list of the radius measurements, and Figure 8 presents the distribution of these values. ( Table 2 ) Radius of concentric circles (unit: mm) Circle Circle 1 Circle 2 Circle 3 Circle 4 Circle 5 Circle 6 Circle 7 Circle 8 Average Standard deviation Sequence 1 1.87 1.83 1.85 1.81 1.95 1.96 1.86 1.87 1.87 0.05 2 2.38 2.33 2.34 2.31 2.36 2.34 2.35 2.38 2.35 0.02 3 2.92 2.86 2.73 2.85 2.87 2.85 2.87 2.87 2.85 0.05 4 3.34 3.29 3.25 3.29 3.30 3.30 3.22 3.29 3.29 0.04 5 3.73 3.68 3.67 3.69 3.72 3.67 3.71 3.68 3.69 0.02 6 4.21 4.14 4.13 4.15 4.17 4.13 4.13 4.13 4.15 0.03 7 4.63 4.56 4.52 4.56 4.58 4.54 4.55 4.53 4.56 0.03 8 5.16 5.09 5.04 5.10 5.13 4.99 5.09 5.08 5.09 0.05 9 5.64 5.55 5.53 5.58 5.61 5.54 5.56 5.52 5.56 0.04 10 6.08 6.02 5.98 6.05 6.07 6.01 6.01 5.99 6.03 0.04 11 6.52 6.46 6.40 6.47 6.50 6.39 6.43 6.41 6.45 0.05 12 6.94 6.86 6.83 6.90 6.93 6.83 6.88 6.82 6.88 0.05 13 7.41 7.32 7.36 7.35 7.39 7.26 7.32 7.29 7.34 0.05 14 7.90 7.82 7.77 7.84 7.92 7.81 7.80 7.78 7.83 0.05 15 8.42 8.31 8.23 8.32 8.39 8.28 8.30 8.26 8.31 0.06 16 8.78 8.68 8.62 8.72 8.75 8.64 8.69 8.64 8.69 0.06 17 9.18 9.05 8.99 9.09 9.15 9.02 9.06 9.02 9.07 0.07 18 9.60 9.46 9.40 9.53 9.56 9.43 9.50 9.45 9.49 0.07 19 10.00 9.87 9.76 9.86 9.94 9.84 9.89 9.82 9.87 0.07 20 10.35 10.22 10.15 10.25 10.33 10.22 10.26 10.19 10.25 0.07 21 10.71 10.56 10.50 10.60 10.70 10.57 10.63 10.58 10.60 0.07 ( Figure 8 ) Distribution of radius values from the concentric circles of the mirror’s outer zone The distribution of the radius values of the 21 circles which form each concentric circle was found to be similar in nature, thereby suggesting that the concentric circles had been drawn at the same time using a multiple-toothed implement. In addition, the circles near the curved lines (which had been drawn by hand) were found to have been slightly modified or contained erased parts, as can be seen in Figure 9. One possible explanation for this is that in drawing the circles with a compass, the holes left by the compass spike were later filled in using moulding sand, some of which became trapped in the incised circles, therefore, these zones had to be re-drawn by hand later. The possibility that the compass spike hole would have been erased by infilling it with earth or sand has previously been suggested by others as well.10 ( Figure 9 ) Concentric circles Top left: (1) Center of Concentric circle No. 1 Top right: (2) Center of Concentric circle No. 2 Bottom left: (3) Center of Concentric circle No. 3 Bottom right: (4) Center of Concentric circle No. 4 Figure 10 presents the circles located just outside the inner zone of the mirror. The points where the starting and end point of each drawn circle met can be observed near the top of the circles, but interestingly enough, these meeting points do not form a straight line from the Center Point O (Figure 10-1, 10-2). This would not be the case if the circles had been drawn simultaneously using a multiple-toothed implement. In addition, the meeting point of a circle can also be observed to the lower right hand side of the inner zone (Figure 10-3, 10-4). Therefore, it should be assumed that the circles located just outside of the mirror’s inner zone were drawn individually using a compass. All of this is presented schematically in Figure 11 which demonstrates visually how the meeting points of the circles located just outside the inner zone are not aligned according to a straight line starting at Center Point O. Experimental reproductions of bronze mirrors have been carried out in which the entire decoration on the back of the mirror was carved into the mirror mould by using a sweep cutting edge which contained the shape of the back.11 In such cases, the difference in height between the boundary where the mirror’s outer zone and the rim meet and the highest point of the rim (i.e. the area where the mould was carved the deepest) was found to be constant. NT 141 was similarly examined, with the thickness of the rim and boundary of the outer zone measured according to units of 10°. Figure 12 presents the differences in the thickness measured. Even when values which represent casting defects and areas that have experienced conservation are excluded, it can be observed that the thickness was not even. If a stamp mould had been used, as illustrated in Figure 13, and if that stamp mould had been pressed unevenly, leading to differences in the thickness in the left and right parts of the rim (a1<a2), the right side of the outer zone should be thicker than its left side (b1<b2), and the difference in thickness between the outer zone and the rim should also be greater on the right than on the left (c1<c2), as schematically demonstrated. However if we look at Figure 13-2 which shows the left and right cross-sections of NT 141 upside-down, it is possible to confirm that the thickness of the left outer zone is greater than that of the right (b1>b2). Therefore, it appears that in forming the rim, a sweeping cutting edge was not used. The fact that the center point of the inner circle of the rim (i.e. its boundary with the outer zone) coincides with the center points of the other circles, makes it also unlikely that the rim was carved out using a pre-existing pattern. In other words, it appears that the rim was first drawn onto the mould and then carved out. As for the other areas of the mirror back, it is difficult to know how the designs were made. However, the use of a sweep cutting edge would have made it easier to establish the center point, thereby facilitating the drawing of circles which were later added on. It is therefore likely that a sweep cutting edge was used which did not include the shape of the rim. ( Figure 10 ) Circles located just outside the inner zone of the mirror Top left: (1) Area above the inner zone Top right: (2) Close-up of (1) Bottom left: (3) Area below the inner zone Bottom right: (4) Close-up of (3) ( Figure 11 ) Schematic drawing of circle meeting points and actual meeting points of circles located outside the inner zone of the mirror ( Figure 12 ) Thickness of the outer zone and rim and the distribution of differences in this thickness ( Figure 13 ) Diagrammatic cross-section showing possible use of a sweep cutting edge (1) Changes in cross-section thickness when a sweep cutting edge is used (2) Cross-sections of the outer zone and rim (left and right) 4) Carving Sequence The lines which divide the respective decorative zones were judged to have been carved first, followed by the fine design lines decorating each zone. The sequence in which the carving of decorative designs took place is presented in Table 3. This carving sequence was analyzed and divided according to the four sections of the mirror – the inner zone, middle zone, outer zone and rim – and it was concluded that the lower the position within each column, the later the designs had been carved. However, it should be noted that across the different columns, row position does indicate relative carving sequence; in the case where carving sequence could be established across different columns, this relationship was marked using a double line. In the instance that the carving sequence within a specific decoration section could not be established, the carving actions were presented side by side. For example, the knop and core print would have been carved separately, but their sequence cannot be established. ( Table 3 ) Manufacture sequence of each section Section Inner zone Middle zone Outer zone Rim Gating system Sequence Earlier↓Later Carve out main space Section dividing lines Cross-shaped line Radiating lines Radiating lines Radiating lines Concentric circles Dividing straight lines Slanted lines Triangles Triangles Slanted lines Slanted lines Triangles Slanted lines Knop Core print Slanted lines Slanted lines Rim Gating system Of course, in carving the decorations, it would have been natural, generally, to begin with the inner zone and continue towards the outer zone, as this would have prevented designs which were already carved from being damaged during subsequent carving actions. Interestingly enough, in the case of the core print of the right knop, the dividing line was redrawn later, as is shown in Figure 5-4. As this line goes beyond the trajectory of the original circle, it is assumed that it was redrawn by hand, rather than with a compass, in an effort to restore the original design. In carving the decorations of the mirror, the first step would have been to carve out the center of the mould in order to make a concave space for the convex mirror back. It has been identified that, if the rim and outer zone had been formed together using a sweep cutting edge (i.e. if the rim had been formed prior to carving the lines of the outer zone), the designs of the outer zone, located adjacent to the rim, would have tended to extend further and encroach upon the rim where it meets the outer zone.12 However, in the case of NT 141 (Figure 14), the decorative lines of the outer zone located near the boundary where it meets the rim do not demonstrate any differences in height, as can be seen in Figure 14-1. Therefore, in the case of NT 141, it appears that the rim was carved subsequent to the decorations of the outer zone. In addition, if we continue to adopt the above reasoning, it can be said that the knops were carved after the decorations of the inner zone, since none of the patterns of the inner zone extend to the knop (Figure 14-2). ( Figure 14 ) Line decorations which demonstrate carving sequence Top left: (1) Detail of a circle in the outer zone near the rim (visible in the top right corner) Top right: (2) Inner section of right knop Bottom left: (3) Undecorated triangle pattern from the outer zone Center right: (4) Close-up of (3) (left undecorated triangle pattern) Bottom right: (5) Close-up of (3) (right undecorated triangle pattern) Finally, it can be observed that some of the triangles located in the lower right side of the outer zone were not in-filled with slanting lines (Figure 14-3~14-5). This illustrates that the slanting lines were added after the triangle motifs were drawn, but it is unclear why these patterns were left unfinished. 5) Polishing As the main objective of a mirror is to reflect the image of objects, the front surface of the mirror must be smooth.13 However, the surface of metal objects manufactured through casting are too rough to be used as mirrors and therefore must be additionally polished. Figure 15 presents the polished states of the mirror’s surface. Since corroded parts and flaws are present, the surface of the front of the mirror appears rough. However, the smooth surface of other parts indicates that the front of the mirror was originally polished. The rim was not as finely polished as the front of the mirror, and its boundary with the outer zone was not polished at all. It is likely that this was in order to prevent the designs of the outer section from being erased during polishing. The fact that Defect 4 remained on the rim, as well as the fact that traces of rat-tail defects are still present, indicates that the polishing was not heavily carried out. ( Figure 15 ) Polished state of each section Top left: (1) Front of the mirror and edge Top right: (2) Front of the mirror Bottom left: (3) Close-up of the front of the mirror Bottom right: (4) Detail of the rim 6) Possibility of Use and the Appearance of the Knops Whether or not the mirror had been used was determined by inspecting the degree of roughness of the edges of the knops. If the mirror had been hung using a cord fastened to the knop, the friction caused by the cord would be expected to result in differing degrees of surface roughness, compared to the parts of the knop which were not rubbed by the cord. Figure 16 presents the inward-facing and outward facing surfaces of the knops; the latter were found to demonstrate similar degrees of roughness to those on the inward-facing sides. On the other hand, the outward facing surfaces of both knops were found to be smooth from the center to the upper part of the knops, unlike the edge surface which was rough. This smooth surface would not have been possible when the knop sections were originally cast, and therefore can be regarded as being the result of wear due to friction. The fact that such a smooth surface exists only on the upper surfaces of the knops indicates that the mirror was hung using a single cord inserted through the holes of both knops. The mirror would have hung at an angle, as is suggested by the nature of the wear. Observation of the knop hole from the side confirmed that it was oval in shape, as illustrated in Figure 17. The space between the knop hole and the edge of the knop was found to go in slightly, and this area was separated from the edge of the knop by an arc-shaped line (Figure 16). This shows that the core print section on the mould, where the core print of the core was located, was made by carving an arc-shaped space (in cross-section) and installing an oval core. The gap between this arc-shaped space and the core print was found to have been packed with infill material, and it appears that this infill was slightly pushed out. On the other hand, observation of the knop from above shows that the area where the core print was originally placed was pushed out slightly (Figure 5-1~5-3). It is assumed that the evaporation of moisture caused the infill to shrink and its area was pushed out after casting. ( Figure 16 ) Traces of wear on the knops Left: (1) Inward-facing side of the left knop Right: (2) Inward-facing side of the right knop Left: (3) Outward-facing side of the left knop Right: (4) Outward-facing side of the right knop Left: (5) Area of wear on the outward-facing side of the left knop Right: (6) Area of wear on the outward-facing side of the right knop Left: (7) Area of wear on the outward-facing side of the left knop Right: (8) Area of wear on the outward-facing side of the right knop ( Figure 17 ) Appearance of the knop (1) Knop hole of the left knop(2) Knop hole of the right knop IV CONCLUSION The present paper has attempted to consider certain aspects of the manufacturing technique of National Treasure No. 141, the Bronze Mirror with Twin Knops and Fine Geometric Design. It was identified that a sand mould, made of hardened moulding sand, had been used, and that this mould had not been strong, resulting in casting defects such as scabs and rat-tail defects. The designs of the mirror appear to have been drawn using a compass and the bisection of angles; the designs were finely executed even though the surface of the mirror was not completely flat. The concentric circles of the outer zone were made using a multiple-toothed implement, and the circles which divided the different zones of decoration were drawn, one by one, using a compass. The rim does not appear to have been formed using a sweep cutting edge, but was rather carved after the outer zone had been decorated. Polishing was carried out subsequent to casting, and the knops contained traces of wear which indicate use. It should be noted that the above represents only a fraction of the manufacturing techniques involved in the production of NT 141. In addition, they require discussion and examination through further studies. It is hoped that the understanding of the casting process of this National Treasure will lead to further in-depth studies on the manufacturing techniques of ancient bronze objects and that many researches will contribute to this worthy endeavor.
Korean Genre Painting
  • Ahn Hwi-Joon(Seoul National University)
Genre painting refers to pictures depicting scenes and events from everyday life of ordinary people. The corresponding Korean term, pungsokhwa, literally means “folk custom painting.” The lexical meaning of pungsok, “custom,” is “everyday practice or habits handed down in a society from the past,” “popular trends” (風氣) or “conventions” (時體).1 Korean folk customs as they are known today may be traced back to the Bronze Age, when people began regularly cultivating crops and forming agrarian communities. Traditional genre painting may be divided into two types. In the broad sense, the term covers paintings depicting events, customs, traditions, and other situations and scenes of daily life of people. Among these are events in the royal court and palace, activities and practices of the literati class, everyday lives of commoners, popular games, folk religion, rites of passage (冠婚喪祭), and seasonal customs.2 More specifically, in the narrow sense, genre painting may be defined as “secular painting” (俗畵). It comprises “paintings depicting mainly mundane affairs in markets and on the streets, miscellanies in the lives of commoners, leisure activities of the nobility, scenes of farming and weaving, and suggestive pictures charged with sexual desire.”3 The latter are quite distinct from paintings describing the lofty and decorous life of aristocrats. The scenes depicted by Kim Hongdo (金弘道, 1745–after 1816; sobriquet, Danwon) and Shin Yunbok (申潤福, 1758?–after 1813; sobriquet, Hyewon) of the late Joseon period belong to this category of secular painting. But while they are quintessential genre scenes, it would not be right to consider them as the sole representatives of genre painting. Otherwise, under such a narrow definition, a considerable heritage of paintings depicting events in royal palaces, fraternal gatherings of scholars (契會), and other important documentary pictures of an official nature might be excluded. A broad range of observation would be helpful for understanding the diverse customs and lifestyles of different periods. Genre painting, in the broad sense, should mean paintings depicting all types of customs in human communities. Realism (寫實性) and documentary precision (記錄性) are the two most essential elements of genre painting, which is a genre of the fine arts primarily intended to depict aspects of human life as exactly as they are. No less important in this regard is historical integrity (時代性). An abstract or non-representative presentation of a genre scene or a modern artist's imaginary depiction of ancient customs cannot be considered a genre painting in the proper sense. If it is to evoke sympathy and touch the viewer, a genre painting would also need a certain degree of “dignity, tasteful and lyrical mood."4 It requires artistic and aesthetic sensibility(藝術性). Works by Kim Hongdo and Shin Yunbok, painted over two centuries ago, can appeal to Koreans today, and even be delightful, because they are rendered with realistic documentary precision and historical integrity, artistic expertise as well as uniquely Korean atmosphere. These may be defined as the “five most important virtues” of Korean genre painting. Korea has a large corpus of genre paintings forming a prominent tradition from remote ancient times to the late years of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). As faithful mirrors of the lifestyles, thoughts and emotions of the Korean people as well as intense representations of Korean aesthetics, genre scenes constitute an integral part of Korean painting history. They are also vital sources of inspiration for today's Koreans in reassessing their history, culture, lifestyle and aestheticism. II PRE-JOSEON GENRE PAINTINGS It is reasonable to assume that the type of painting which is called genre painting today emerged after mankind had developed a community life and painting technique had reached a certain level. On the Korean peninsula these two basic conditions were met during the Bronze Age. Ancestors of present-day Koreans had begun to settle down and live collectively during the Neolithic period, but the origins of genre painting should be found in Bronze Age relics which began to contain painterly expressions. The oldest known record about Korean folk customs is found in Dongyizhuan (東夷傳: Accounts of the Eastern Barbarians) from the Houhanshu (後漢書, History of the Later Han). According to this ancient Chinese source, people of early Korean kingdoms such as Buyeo, Goguryeo and Ye (濊, Yemaek) conducted rites in the tenth month or in the twelfth month (Buyeo) after the harvest to thank the heavens for granting them rich crops.5 These rites, called respectively yeonggo (迎鼓), dongmaeng (同盟) and mucheon (舞天) in the three states, were accompanied by drinking, dancing and merrymaking to promote harmony among villagers. They were all basically thanksgiving customs rooted in early agricultural society. Regrettably, there are no paintings depicting these activities that remain today. 01 BRONZE AGE The earliest extant relics that may be regarded as analogous to genre painting in Korea are the Bangudae (盤龜壹) petroglyphs in Daegok-ri, Eonyang, Ulju (蔚州), Gyeongsangbuk-do, and the Bronze ritual object with farming scenes (農耕文靑銅器) in the collection of the National Museum of Korea. The rock carvings of Bangudae (盤龜臺) provide glimpses of the life of early inhabitants of the Korean peninsula, who engaged in fishing and hunting. The engravings feature many motifs including marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and turtles, and land animals such as tigers and deer, as well as scenes of hunting with nets, a captive animal confined in a wooden enclosure, and whale hunters at sea.6 Noteworthy in particular are images of pregnant animals and men with erect phalluses, symbolic of aspirations for fertility and abundance. Drawing no less attention in this regard is the Bronze ritual object with farming scenes (Figure 1). Partially destroyed, the front of this presumed ritual object has a Y-shaped tree with a pair of birds looking across at each other from the two branch tips (only part of the bird on the right branch remains). A tree with birds perched on top probably portrays a ritual altar (蘇塗).7 On the back, to the right are featured two men, one with erect phalluses and tilling a field with a small plough and the other digging earth with a hoe. To the left of these images is another man about to put grain into a vessel covered with a net. These scenes depict farmers ploughing in the spring and harvesting in the autumn. The highly symbolic and simplified motifs are carved in a semi-abstract style on a plain background. Through this ritual piece some crucial aspects of the lifestyles and customs of Bronze Age people as well as their spiritual world can be observed. Prayers for abundance symbolically expressed on this bronze object are probably related to harvest rituals and festivals conducted in the ancient kingdoms of Buyeo, Goguryeo and Ye. ( Figure 1 ) Bronze object with farming scenes (農耕文靑銅器), 7.3 (h) x 12.8 (w)cm, assumed to be from Daejeon, National Museum of Korea 02 THREE KINGDOMS AND THE SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN DYNASTIES During the Three Kingdoms period (57 BC–668 AD), more varied lifestyles emerged and everyday customs diversified further. As painting achieved remarkable development at this time, it would certainly have attempted to reflect diverse aspects of life. But, except for tomb murals of the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 BC– 668 AD), no genre scenes remain from this period. Over the past century and more, tombs in the northern state of Goguryeo have been found to contain mural paintings portraying diverse aspects of life, including clothing styles, architecture, religious faith and thought.8 Most murals in the tombs dating from the fourth to the sixth centuries describe daily customs of Goguryeo through scenes from the life of the deceased while those of the 7th century or later tend to focus on celestial deities such as the guardians of the four cardinal directions reflecting the influence of Daoism. Among the tombs of the first period (the 4th to the early 5th centuries), the most remarkable are Anak Tomb No. 3, dated 357, the 13th year of the Yonghe (永和) era; and the Old Tomb of Deokheung-ri, built in 408, the 18th year of Yongle (永樂). On the walls of these tomb chambers, both located in North Korea, are rendered portraits of the deceased (Figure 2) and scenes from their lives in this world such as ceremonial processions (Figure 3), while the ceilings portray the celestial world where the masters of the tombs would dwell in the afterlife. Hence the tombs form a small universe as conceived by the people of Goguryeo, and the murals show the stylistic characteristics of painting and daily life in the ancient kingdom as well as its religious, spiritual and philosophical views. ( Figure 2 ) “Tomb Owner,” on the wall of the main burial chamber of Anak Tomb No. 3, 357, Hwanghae-do, North Korea ( Figure 3 ) “Ceremonial Procession,” on the corridor wall leading to the main burial chamber of the Anak Tomb No. 3, 357, Hwanghae-do, North Korea Most Goguryeo tombs from the early period and the middle period (early 4th to the 6th centuries) had two or more chambers and therefore offered plenty of space to paint. Consequently, their murals feature diverse themes including portraits of the tomb owners, processions, hunting scenes, scenes of combat, dancers and musicians, and sacrificial offerings. These themes are set against different backdrops, including the interiors of aristocratic homes, kitchens, mills, butcher shops, garages, stables, cattle sheds, fortress walls and pavilions.9 The ceilings are adorned with celestial and mythical motifs such as the sun, the moon, constellations, flying fairies, immortals, mythical beasts, panacean herbs and lotus flowers. While the murals on the walls obviously describe domestic daily life, those on the ceilings strongly represent Buddhist and Daoist ideas introduced from China, which suggests that these imported religious and philosophical traditions must have added diversity to native customs. Also, some of the mythical beasts and plants and geometric patterns indicate cultural exchanges with not only China but Central and Western Asia as well. With these physical records, it can be assumed that daily customs in Goguryeo had embraced foreign influences from China and beyond by this time. The Goguryeo tomb murals from the early to the middle periods have dual characteristics. The paintings on the walls are typically realistic, explanatory, epic and documentary, while those on the ceilings tend to be imaginary, ideological and religious. Generally, however, the tomb murals of Goguryeo are characteristically dynamic and tense, a tendency that becomes even more obvious in the murals of Muyongchong (舞踊塚, Tomb of the Dancers), Gakjeochong (角扺塚, Tomb of the Wrestlers) and other tombs from the third period. The full blossoming of the powerful style of Goguryeo tomb murals came in the late period as evident in Gangseodaemyo (江西大墓, Great Tomb of Gangseo), Sasinchong (四神塚, Tomb of Four Deities) in Tungkou (通溝), Jinpa-ri (眞坡理) Tomb No. 1 and Tomb No. 4 of Ohoebun (五盔墳, Five Helmet Tombs). As mentioned above, however, genre scenes rapidly disappeared from the tomb murals of later Goguryeo as the worship of the four directional gods and immortals grew increasingly popular under Daoist influence. No less important is the practical reason that painting space got drastically smaller as single-chamber tombs became popular. Certainly, with limited space available for mural painting inside the tombs, it became impossible to depict episodes from the life of the deceased with epic grandeur. Apart from the Goguryeo tomb murals, few paintings that may be regarded as genre pictures remain from the Three Kingdoms and the Southern and Northern Dynasties (Unified Silla, 668–935; and Balhae, 698–926) periods. Most of these have previously been systematically discussed in other publications by the writer, and will not be discussed here.10 Nevertheless, a mural tomb discovered in 1985 in Sunheung (順興), Gyeongsangbuk-do deserves attention as it is one of the few ancient mural tombs located in South Korea. Believed to be a Silla tomb built in 479 or 539, it shows a strong influence from Goguryeo, particularly the murals painted on the four walls of the stone burial chamber.11 The four walls feature different themes: the eastern wall shows mountains and a medallion containing the image of a bird, which is believed to be a representation of sunlight; on the northern wall are figures of a propitious bird and lotus flowers amid the mountains stretching from the eastern wall; on the western wall is a house and a tall willow tree surrounded by walls; and on the southern wall is a human figure holding a catfish banner near the entranceway. Above this human figure is an ink inscription: "己未中 墓像 人名.” From the inscription it has been found that the tomb was made in the gimi (己未) year, corresponding to 539 or 479. The catafalque (棺臺) is decorated with boshan (博山), the stylized Daoist mountain design, on the upper front panel; the motif of trees and more mountains is repeated below. A guardian warrior (力士) is painted on each side of the entranceway (羡道), one running to the outside, holding up a snake, and the other with an alien face (梵顔胡相). The murals in this tomb generally look archaic. The mountains, in particular, are painted in the archaic style found in the hunting scenes of the Tomb of Deokheung-ri (德興理) and the Muyongchong (Figure 4). The lotus and mountain designs are thought to combine Buddhist and Daoist elements. But one particular mural, painted on the western wall, smacks of a genre view: the house, a tall willow tree and the walls surrounding them are clearly reminiscent of the background pictures of second-period Goguryeo tomb murals. Hence it may be assumed that genre paintings were often produced in Silla under influences from Goguryeo. ( Figure 4 ) “Hunting Scene,” on the wall main burial chamber of the Muyongchong, Tomb of the Dancers, late 5th century, Jian, China The tomb of Princess Jeonghyo (貞孝公主, 757–792) of Balhae, located on Mt. Xilongtou (西龍頭山) in Helong (和龍縣), Yanbian (延邊), Korean Autonomous Prefecture, in China’s Jilin Province (吉林省), contains important murals providing glimpses into the life and painting style in the northern kingdom.12 The murals, rendered in beautiful colors, feature tomb keepers, guards, attendants, musicians and eunuchs. They are dressed in long robes with hoods and leather boots. These human figures, mostly depicted in profile, seem to combine traditions from Goguryeo and Chinese figure paintings of the Tang period (618–907) in view of their style of dress and plump physique. It can be gleaned from these murals that the people of Balhae believed in an afterlife and decorated the interiors of their tombs with mural paintings, as did their Goguryeo forebears. It can also be conjectured that Balhae inherited its dress and daily customs from Goguryeo while embracing Chinese culture from Tang at the same time. 03 GORYEO PERIOD As evidenced by historical records and extant works of art, Korean painting made great progress in many genres including figure paintings, portraits, landscapes, animals, birds-and-flowers, bamboo and palace scenes as well as Buddhist painting during the Goryeo period (918–1392).13 Lifestyles also grew markedly diverse and upper-class culture was permeated by aristocratic tastes. Goryeo had distinctive dress and food as well as general lifestyle. Both Chinese emperors and Korean kings expressed keen interest in each other’s customs. For example, Emperor Zhezong (r. 1085–1100) of Northern Song gave the visiting Goryeo envoy Yi Jaeui (李資義, ?–1095) a list of books that he wanted to receive from Goryeo, which included a copy of Goryeo pungsokgi (高麗風俗記, Record of Goryeo Customs) and 30 volumes of Pungsok tongeui (風俗通義, Folk Customs Encyclopedia). Emperor Shizu (r. 1260–1293) of Yuan (1271–1368) sent a document titled Fengsu baishi (風俗百事, A Hundred Customs) at Goryeo’s request in 1278, the 4th year of King Chungnyeol’s reign (1274–1308).14 As is widely known, Goryeo followed Mongol customs and during the latter part of the period, Goryeo’s own customs were also well known in Yuan. Goryeosa (高麗史, History of Goryeo) and Xuanhe fengshi Gaoli tujing (宣和奉使高麗圖經, Illustrated Record of an Embassy to Goryeo in the Xuanhe Era), a 12th-century source written by the Song diplomat Xu Jing (徐兢, dates unknown), provide glimpses of everyday customs of the period.15 Given the advanced level of painting and the diversity of folk customs in Goryeo, it is possible that daily lifestyles were popular themes among painters. The lifestyles of the royal family and the nobility, in particular, must have been attractive subjects of painting. The literati class probably gave rise to a distinct sub-culture during the early part of the Goryeo period as evidenced by a painting by Yi Jeon (李佺, dates unknown), Haedong girohoedo (海東耆老會圖, Gathering of Retired Officials), depicting a scene from an elderly retired officials' fraternity meeting led by Choe Dang (崔讜, 1135-1211). The scene was also engraved on stone and fraternity meetings of elderly officials became even more popular.16 The works Yeseonggangdo (禮成江圖, Yeseong River) and Cheonsusa nammundo (天壽寺南門圖, South Gate of Cheonsu Temple) painted by Yi Nyeong (李寧, active in the 12th century) and Geumgangsando (金剛山圖, Mt. Geumgang) and Jinyang sansudo (晋陽山水圖, Landscape of Jinyang) by an anonymous painter attest to a tradition of realistic landscape painting established in Goryeo.17 This implies that genre paintings in the broad sense were also produced, but due to a dearth of paintings remaining from this period, further details are not available. Extant fragments of the paintings titled Suryeopdo (狩獵圖, Hunting Scene), attributed to King Gongmin (r. 1351–1374) and Gima dogangdo (騎馬渡江圖, Horse Riders Crossing a River) by Yi Jehyeon (李齊賢, 1287–1367), testify to the aforementioned popularity of Mongol customs and hunting among the aristocrats of Goryeo. Buddhist paintings provide fragmentary but useful glimpses of the daily customs in Goryeo. Among the most notable works in this regard is Mireuk hasaeng byeonsangdo (彌勒下生經變相, Frontispiece for the Sutra on the Descent of Maitreya), painted by Hoejeon (悔前, dates unknown) in 1350, which is preserved at Shinnou-in (親王院) in Mount Kouya in Wakayama, Japan. Another piece with the same title is at Chion-in (智恩院) in Kyoto, Japan.18 The lower sections of these Buddhist paintings feature farming scenes of ox-drawn ploughing, rice harvesting and threshing. Buddhist paintings offer useful clues to lifestyles in the secular world through portrayals of gorgeous houses with tiled roofs, their interiors and the costumes of human figures. Large-scale Buddhist festivals organized by the state, such as yeondeunghoe (燃燈會, Lantern Festival) and palgwanhoe (八關會, Festival of the Eight Vows), were attended by the royalty as well as the general public. It is regrettable that no paintings depicting these annual celebrations remain today as they must have been intimately tied to folk customs at the time. III GENRE PAINTINGS OF THE EARLIER HALF OF THE JOSEON PERIOD The Joseon period (1392–1910) witnessed further development of painting in diverse genres, including those depicting folk customs. In terms of painting style and the nature of subjects depicted, the Joseon era that lasted about five centuries may be divided into four periods: the early period from 1392 to around 1550, the middle period from around 1550 to around 1700, the late period from around 1700 to around 1850, and the last period from around 1850 to 1910. Throughout these periods, Joseon produced documentary pictures of important events of the state and the palace, including uigwedo (儀軌圖, illustrations for royal protocols). Among the most remarkable genre scenes painted during the early period was Daesoga euijangdo (大小駕儀仗圖, Honor Guards in Full Armor) by An Gyeon (安堅, active 1440s-1460s).19 Also notable as genre paintings of outstanding documentary value are Sindojongmyosajik gwanjeonjosi hyeongsejido (新都宗廟社稷官殿朝市形勢之圖, Royal Ancestral Shrine, State Altars, Palaces and Cityscape of the New Capital), painted during the reign of the founding monarch, Taejo (r. 1392–1398), Jungmyojo seoyeongwan sayeondo (中廟朝書筵官賜宴圖, Banquet for Instructors of the Crown Prince in the Reign of King Jungjong), painted during the reign of Jungjong (r. 1506–1544), albums of genre scenes produced under Injong (r. 1544–1545) and scenes of state examinations painted under Myeongjong (r. 1545–1567).20 The literati, or the scholar-bureaucrats, frequently held fraternity meetings (契會, gyehoe), which often resulted in the production of commemorative pictures by court painters during the early Joseon Dynasty.21 Most of these meetings were held in the mountains or riversides in spring or autumn and paintings depicting these gatherings naturally included the landscape. These pictures typically have a title at the top, a scene of the meeting in the middle, and a list of participants at the bottom. This style was predominant in pictures of fraternity meetings of the early and the middle periods of Joseon. Kim Hongdo, who was active during the late period, maintained this style as shown by his 1804 work, Giroseyeon gyedo (耆老世聯稧圖, Fraternal Legacy of Elders). Documentary pictures of literati fraternity meetings produced during the early Joseon period characteristically emphasized a huge overwhelming landscape in the style of An Gyeon, looming over a tiny symbolic image of the gathering, as shown in Miwon gyehoedo (薇垣契會圖, Fraternity Meeting of the Office of Censor-General), Hagwan gyehoedo (夏官契會圖, Fraternity Meeting of the Ministry of Defence), and Dokseodang gyehoedo (讀書堂契會圖, Fraternity Meeting of the Royal Athenaeum). Closer observation will lead to a useful understanding of popular patterns of entertainment: the participants are clad in official robes and silk hats; the wine jars placed on a table speak of their love for nature and drinking with friends in the outdoors as a means of cultivating a noble and valiant spirit. In particular, “Fraternity Meeting of the Royal Athenaeum” clearly shows some traits of a genre scene, marked by such details as catching fish with a net in the Han River (漢江). Pictures of fraternity meetings changed greatly from around 1550. More of the meetings came to be held indoors, which resulted in a greater focus on portraying the meetings themselves rather than landscapes in the background. Consequently, the pictures memorializing fraternity meetings from this period show stronger characteristics as genre paintings. These changes can be easily confirmed through a few outstanding pieces, such as Hojonanggwan gyehoedo (戶曹郎官契會圖, Fraternity Meeting of Mid-level Officials of the Ministry of Revenue) (Figure 5), and Namji giyeonghoedo (南池耆英會圖, Fraternity Meeting of Retired Senior Officials by the South Pond) by Yi Giryong (李起龍, 1600-?) (Figure 6). ( Figure 5 ) “Fraternity Meeting of Mid-level Officials of the Ministry of Revenue” (detail), anonymous, ca. 1550, ink and light color on silk, 121 (h) x 59 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 6 ) “Fraternity Meeting of Retired Senior Officials by the South Pond”, Yi Giryong, ink and color on silk, 116.7 (h) x 72.4 (w) cm, Seoul National University Museum During the late period from around 1700 to around 1850, this style of documentary pictures of fraternity meetings of the literati declined, giving way to paintings in freer styles depicting elegant gatherings of the nobility (雅集圖). However, this did not mean the end of painting memorials of the gatherings of retired officials aged 70 or older who had served in positions of the major second rank or higher. The artists focused on depicting the meetings without landscape backgrounds. Gisagyecheop (耆社契帖), albums of fraternity meetings of retired senior officials, represent this style well. Pictures of fraternity meetings of the literati after the middle period contain more genre views as they treat the meetings with greater care. Seonjojo giyeonghoedo (宣祖朝耆英會圖, Meeting of Senior Officials under the Reign of Seonjo) (Figure 7), painted in 1585, is a good example. The meeting appears to be taking place indoors. The participants are dressed in official robes and seated against a backdrop of a landscape painting rendered over six panels in the style of the Zhe school (浙派). Each of the participants is being offered a portable table with food and drink by women as they watch two female dancers performing. In the center of the foreground is a red lacquered table on which a white porcelain jar holds flowers. On either side of the table six beautiful women are portrayed in profile. Two lit candles in the hall indicate that the meeting lasted until the evening. Outside the hall are positioned musicians playing various instruments, maids standing beside wine jars and braziers, and attendants on their knees, standing by. Thus the painting provides glimpses of various aspects of the culture of the mid-Joseon period, such as the architectural style, interior decoration and dresses, not to mention the meeting itself. The composition and painting style served as the basis for Gisagyecheop produced a century and a half later, which expressed the protocol and formalities of such meetings in greater detail. This precise documentary style was dominant in the illustrations of manuals for royal protocols, called euigwedo (儀軌圖), describing major events in the palace during the mid-to-late Joseon period.22 ( Figure 7 ) “Meeting of Senior Officials under the Reign of Seonjo,” anonymous, 1585, ink and color on silk, 40.9 (h) x 59.2 (w) cm, Seoul National University Museum Chinese paintings on popular themes, such as Binfengtu (豳風圖, Illustrations of the Odes of Bin), Wuyitu (無逸圖, Illustrations to ‘Against Luxurious Ease’) and Gengzhitu (耕織圖, Pictures of Tilling and Weaving), stimulated the development of genre painting in Joseon. Binfengtu illustrates the chapter “Illustrations on the Seventh Month from the Ode of Bin (豳風七月篇)” of Shijing (詩經, Book of Odes), said to have been written by the Duke of Zhou, the younger brother of King Wu (武王) of Bin (the homeland of the Zhou) who served as regent for his young nephew, King Cheng (成王). The poem was intended to instruct the young ruler. Also known by the title Binfeng Qiyuetu (豳風七月圖, Illustrations on the Seventh Month from the Odes of Bin), the poem depicts the life of farmers engaged in tilling and silkworm raising, along with the changing scenes of nature from month to month. As such, the illustrations naturally featured the daily customs in farming villages, an important theme of traditional genre painting. In Korea, from the early to mid-Joseon, similar paintings were produced under the same title, pronounced as Binpungdo, according to Joseon wangjo sillok (朝鮮王朝實錄, Annals of the Joseon Dynasty).23 One of the earliest extant works with this title is an eight-leaf album by Yi Bangun (李昉運, 1716–?).24 The album contains pictures depicting different scenes of rural life, including farming and silkworm raising in natural scenery (Figure 8). This is a style frequently noticed in genre scenes by other painters, such as Kim Duryang (金斗樑, 1696–1763) and his son, Kim Deokha (金德廈, 1722–1772), who collaborated in painting rural landscapes of the four seasons, under the titles Chunha doriwon hoheunggyeongdo (春夏桃李園豪興景圖, Exciting Scenes at Peach and Cucumber Orchards in Spring and Summer) and Chudong jeonwon haengnyeop seunghoedo (秋冬田園行獵勝會圖, Hunting Contest in the Countryside in Autumn and Winter). ( Figure 8 ) “Illustrations on the Seventh Month from the Odes of Bin,” Yi Bang-un, ink and light color on paper, 25.6 (h) x 20.1 (w) cm (each piece), National Museum of Korea The verse under the title Wuyi (無逸) from the “Document of Zhou” in Shujing (書經, Classic of History) is the subject of Wuyitu. This is another verse composed by the Duke of Zhou to warn his nephew, King Cheng, who ascended the throne at young age, against indulging in ease. The earliest known painting under this title is attributed to Sun Shi (孫奭, 962-1033), a literati painter during the reign of Emperor Renzhong of the Song Dynasty. Sun is said to have presented his painting to the emperor so that it was hung in the Pavilion of Reading.25 Likewise, in the royal court of Joseon from the early years under the founding ruler, Taejo, to Jungjong in the early 16th century, paintings on similar themes were often produced under the title Muildo and presented to the king or became a subject of discussion.26 Both Binpungdo and Muildo were intended to promote good governance by reminding the king of the difficulties experienced by their subjects in carrying out their occupations. Therefore, these paintings had to depict the life of Koreans although their underlying themes were derived from ancient Chinese classics. In effect, they were genre paintings in the broad sense that they were often seen in the royal palace during the early and middle periods of Joseon. The aforementioned Binpungdo by Yi Bangun is one such painting. Regrettably, to this author’s knowledge, there is no extant example of Muildo painted during the Joseon period. Joseon wangjo sillok contains accounts on paintings of diverse themes related with the life of the people, which obviously developed under the influence of classical Chinese paintings on subjects concerning proper state governance. Among them are Gasaekdo (稼稽圖, Grain Cultivation), Junggungjamdo byeongpung (中宮蠶圖屛風, Screen with Pictures of the Queen Engaged in Sericulture), Gwan-gado (觀稼圖, Watching Grain Growing), Samindo (四民圖, Four Classes of People), Anmindo (安民圖, Peace for the People), Yumindo (流民圖, Wanderers) and Jinmindo (賑民圖, Relief for Suffering People).27 These paintings not only served to encourage good governance and public welfare but also provided strong momentum for the development of genre painting. The two ancient themes, Binpungdo and Wuyitu gradually lost influence by around the reign of Jungjong (r. 1506–1544) as these and the more concrete themes of Gengzhitu (耕織圖) were introduced.28 Gengzhitu, or Pictures of Tilling and Weaving, were first compiled by Lou Shou (樓瓖, 1090–1162), a county magistrate of Yuquan (於潛), Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279). Lou painted 45 scenes of agricultural activities — 21 of tilling and 24 of weaving — each annotated with a five-character verse, and presented the collection to Emperor Gaozong (r. 1127–1162).29 Each of these scenes depicts a different step in tilling and weaving. The pictures of tilling feature (1) soaking rice seeds (浸種), (2) paddy ploughing (耕), (3) rough harrowing (耙耨), (4) fine harrowing (耖), (5) raking (碌礒), (6) sowing seeds (布秧), (7) fertilizing (布秧), (8) lifting seedlings (拔秧), (9) transplanting seedlings (揷秧), (10) first round weeding (一耘), (11) second round weeding (二耘), (12) third round weeding (三耘), (13) irrigating (灌漑), (14) harvesting rice (收刈), (15) piling up sheaves of rice (登場), (16) threshing (持穗), (17) winnowing (簸場), (18) grinding (礱), (19) pounding (春碓), (20) sifting (籭), and (21) storing (入倉). The pictures of silk farming and weaving portrayed scenes of (1) washing silkworms (浴蠶), (2) laying the worms in breeding baskets (下蠶), (3) feeding worms (餧蠶), (4) first moult (一眠), (5) second moult (二眠), (6) third moult (三眠), (7) transferring some worms into other baskets to avoid overcrowding (分箔), (8) picking mulberry leaves (釆桑), (9) the larvae finish eating (大起), (10) setting up cocoon beds (提績), (11) mounting worms on the beds (上簇), (12) blocking baskets (灸箔), (13) removing cocoons from the beds (下簇), (14) sorting out cocoons (擇繭), (15) storing cocoons (窖繭), (16) drawing the thread (練絲), (17) moths emerging from cocoons (蠶蛾), (18) holding thanksgiving rites (祀謝), (19) reeling thread (絡絲), (20) making the warp (經), (21) preparing the weft (緯), (22) silk weaving (織), (23) weaving patterns (攀花), and (24) cutting silk (剪帛). Many subsequent editions of these illustrations were produced under various emperors. Most famously, they were reorganized into 46 pictures, 23 each for tilling and weaving, under the reign of Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝, r. 1661–1722) of the Qing Dynasty. The court painter Jiao Bingzhen (焦秉貞, dates unknown) completed the edition in 1696 under the title Peiwenzhai gengzhitu (佩文齋耕織圖, Study Hall Edition of the Pictures of Tilling and Weaving). Woodblock prints were also produced based on these pictures. These paintings spread even among the commoners in Korea during the latter part of the Joseon period.30 These Chinese paintings depicting the daily activities of farmers exerted tremendous influence on Korean genre painting during the latter part of the Joseon period. Genre scenes painted in later Joseon often portray farmers ploughing rice paddies, planting rice seedlings, cutting rice stalks, threshing, reeling thread, or weaving — in remarkably similar compositions and techniques. Probably, they were influenced by the Qing printed version of Peiwenzhai gengzhitu. IV GENRE PAINTINGS OF THE LATTER HALF OF THE JOSEON PERIOD Korean genre painting reached its apogee during the later Joseon (from around 1700 to around 1850) and waned in its last period (ca.1850-1910). The flowering of genre painting of the later period occurred in parallel with the development of jin’gyeongsansu (眞景山水, true-view landscape). This was probably owing to genre amidst the burgeoning of national awareness in scholarly and artistic circles under the reigns of Yeongjo (r. 1724–1776), Jeongjo (r. 1776–1800) and Sunjo (r. 1800–1834). In this remarkable era of self-awakening, scholars and artists pursued aspirations more felicitous for themselves and their society and country, giving rise to new trends in literature, painting, music and the sciences. Rational and practicable approaches were sought in scholarly research, resulting in the emergence of Silhak (實學, Practical Learning). Vernacular novels, such as Chunhyangjeon (春香傳, Story of Chunhyang), Shimcheongjeon (沈淸傳, Story of Shim Cheong) and Heungbujeon (興夫傳, Story of Heungbu), were widely enjoyed. In this milieu, true-view landscape describing the actual scenery of Korea and genre views delving into the daily lives of native folks gained strong momentum in the fine arts.31 Stimulating these strides were economic development and the subsequent rise in cultural aspirations as well as the spread of Qing culture and consequent accommodation of Western painting technique.32 Pictures of the everyday lives of commoners constituted the essence of Korean genre painting of this vibrant era. These genre paintings are generally divided into those with landscape backgrounds and those without them. The landscape backgrounds of genre paintings are in turn divided into those following the Zhe school style which was popular in the mid-Joseon period and those reflecting influences from the style of the Southern School. But landscapes gradually waned and eventually disappeared amid the tendency to highlight only the genre scenes. In terms of subject matter there was also a notable shift away from paintings of a documentary nature or serving didactic and political purposes toward paintings intended as pure genre scenes. 01 GENRE PAINTINGS OF THE LATE JOSEON PERIOD (ca. 1700– ca. 1850) In the latter part of the Joseon period, as in landscape painting, several painters explored new horizons in genre painting while staunchly adhering to traditional elements. Among the pioneers were Yun Duseo (尹斗緒, 1668–1715; sobriquet, Gongjae) and his family, Yun’s student Kim Duryang (1696–1763), and Jo Yeongseok (趙榮柘, 1686–1761; sobriquet, Gwanajae). With the exception of Kim Duryang, all the leading genre painters at this time were literati painters. Kim Hongdo and other court painters of the next generation consolidated the foundation laid by these pioneers. Deserving particular attention in this regard are Yun Duseo and his son, Yun Deokhui (尹德熙, 1685–1776) and grandson, Yun Yong (尹熔, 1708–40), who developed a distinctive family style. Adept in landscape as well as figure and horse painting, they followed the conservative Zhe style in general but also embraced Southern School techniques.33 They all showed considerable interest in genre scenes as well. In his painting titled Chaeaedo (採艾圖, Gathering Mugwort) (Figure 9), Yun Duseo depicted two women collecting wild herbs on a steep mountain slope in a style obviously showing remnants of the Zhe school influence stressing landscape as background. The composition gives a stuffy feeling as the distant mountain rising behind the women looks too nearby, the result of an excessive emphasis on the background landscape. The women are also awkwardly poised, one bending forward with her back stooped and one standing straight with her head turned back. Through this composition it can be assumed that landscape was regarded as important as human figures in genre scenes painted at the beginning of this period. ( Figure 9 ) “Gathering Mugwort,” Yun Duseo, ink and light color on silk, 30.2 (h) x 25 (w) cm, House of Yun Yeong-seon in Haenam, Jeollanam-do In spite of its overall clumsy impression, the painting still provides a glimpse of Yun's artistry through his depiction of the women's clothing in particular. He obviously had a shrewd eye for observation and the ability for accurate description with his smooth and spirited brushwork. In his collection of critical essays, Gijol (記拙, Humble Writings), Yun gave high praise to Kim Si (金禔, 1524–93) and other mid-Joseon painters who had emulated the landscape style of the Zhe school.34 Yun’s views are also expressed in his paintings, Chaeaedo and Jipsinsamgi (Making Straw Shoes) (Figure 10). In the latter work, the shoemaker is presented in a semi-circular space framed by drooping branches of a big tree in the back and rocks and shrubbery in the foreground, depicted in monochrome in the Zhe school style. The composition, though indisputably a genre scene, is based on both tradition and a new style. ( Figure 10 ) “Making Straw Shoes,” Yun Duseo, ink on paper, 32.4 (h) x 21.1 (w) cm, House of Yun Yeong-seon in Haenam, Jeollanam-do A leading literati painter of his time, Yun believed in principle that landscape, depicted in the Zhe school style in particular, should be part of genre scenes. Sometimes, as in Seonchado (旋車圖, Wood Turner) (Figure 11), he completely eliminated landscape from his genre scenes. Thus it may be said that Yun worked in both styles, though in principle he favored adding landscape backgrounds. ( Figure 11 ) “Wood Turner,” Yun Duseo, ink on paper, 32.4 (h) x 20 (w) cm, House of Yun Yeong-seon in Haenam, Jeollanam-do Yun Duseo's genre painting style was faithfully passed on to his descendants, as shown in Gongginori (Playing Marbles) by his son Yun Deokhui and Hyeomnong chaechun (挾籠採春, Gathering Spring Herbs) (Figure 12) by his grandson Yun Yong. In particular, Yun Yong painted a woman seen from the back as she looks around standing up from gathering wild vegetables, holding a hoe in one hand and with a basket slung over the other shoulder. Her pose clearly echoes his grand father’s earlier work, Chaeaedo but the painting is more accomplished. It may be said that Yun Yong inherited his family style but outdid his forebears. He depicted some plants denoting the ground but left the rest of the space empty, which makes the painting look all the more impressive. ( Figure 12 ) “Gathering Spring Herbs with Basket,” Yun Yong, ink and light color on paper, 27.6 (h) x 21.2 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Landscape backgrounds continued to take an important place in the works of Kim Duryang (1696–1763),35 as seen in Mokdongosu (牧童午睡, Oxherd Taking a Nap) (Figure 13) and Sagyepungsok (四季風俗, Customs of the Four Seasons). In the painting of the oxherd, a tree rising from a corner and the grass growing around show Zhe style methods, but the depiction of the sleeping boy with his round belly exposed and the grazing ox reveal influences from the newly-introduced Western painting technique. Following Yun Duseo's Seonchado, this may be another example where Western culture provided a certain stimulus to the development of genre painting in the latter part of the Joseon period. In contrast, residual Southern School methods still prevail in Kim's other work, Sagyepungsokdo (四季風俗圖, Customs of the Four Seasons). This is a serial work consisting of two long horizontal scrolls, Chunhadoriwon hoheunggyeongdo (春夏桃李園豪興景圖, Exciting Scenes at Peach and Cucumber Orchards in Spring and Summer) (Figure 14-15) and Chudong jeonwon haengryeop seunghoedo (秋冬田園行獵勝會圖, Hunting Contest in the Countryside in Autumn and Winter) (Figure 16-17). What is noteworthy about these paintings, which depict seasonal folk customs set against elaborate landscape backgrounds, is that the spring and summer scenes are arranged from right to left in the traditional style, but the autumn and winter scenes unfold from left to right. ( Figure 13 ) “Oxherd Taking a Nap,” Kim Duryang, ink and light color on paper, 31 (h) x 51 (w) cm, unknown private collection ( Figure 14 ) “Exciting Scenes at Peach and Cucumber Orchards in Spring and Summer,” Kim Duryang and Kim Deok-ha, ink and light color on silk, 8.4 (h) x 184 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 15 ) “Exciting Scenes at Peach and Cucumber Orchards in Spring and Summer” (detail), Kim Duryang and Kim Deok-ha, ink and light color on silk, 8.4 (h) x 184 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 16 ) “'Rice Threshing' in the Hunting Contest in the Countryside in Autumn and Winter,” (detail) Kim Duryang and Kim Deok-ha, ink and light color on silk, 7.2 (h) x 182.9 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 17 ) “Hunting Contest in the Countryside in Autumn and Winter” (detail), Kim Duryang and Kim Deok-ha, ink and light color on silk, 7.2 (h) x 182.9 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea These paintings of seasonal customs also show a close resemblance to the pictures of tilling and weaving, especially in depictions of detailed activities like rice threshing. In this context, the paintings reflect composite trends such as the lingering importance of the traditional landscape background, the adoption of Southern School techniques, borrowing from pictures of tilling and weaving, and exploration of a new style in genre painting. The farm scenes, in particular, continued to be depicted frequently by later artists such as Kim Hongdo and Kim Deuksin (金得臣, 1754-1822; sobriquet, Geungjae). Jo Yeongseok stood out among genre painters before Kim Hongdo.36 A typical literati painter, Jo was especially good at figure and genre painting and was a close friend of Jeong Seon (鄭敾, 1676–1759; sobriquet, Gyeomjae), Korea’s most renowned true-view landscape painter, who was ten years older. A collection of his writings, titled Gwanajaego (觀我齋稿, Manuscripts of Gwanajae) after his pen name, was found in 1984 and then an album of genre scenes was also uncovered by his descendants, shedding more light on his life and thought.37 Unlike his friend Jeong Seon, Jo painted landscapes showing influences of the Zhe school and had obviously embraced Southern School techniques as well, but his album of genre scenes clearly show that he also explored a new style in genre painting. The album, carrying the intriguing title, Sajecheop (麝臍帖, Musk Deer Navel Album), has a warning written on the cover: “Never show this to others. Anyone who disobeys is not my descendant (勿示人 犯者非吾子孫).” This stern warning suggests that Jo did not want his genre paintings to be known widely. The paintings in the album attest to his remarkable achievement in exploring a radically new style in genre painting. Most of his genre paintings eschew landscape backgrounds and focus completely on the folk custom itself. If a little awkward at first glance his genre scenes are honest without exaggeration and overflow with pleasant humor. In particular, Sugong seonchado (Wood Turner) (Figure 18) recalls the similar scene painted by Yun Duseo under the title Seonchado (Figure 11) while Saecham (Snack Time) (Figure 19) depicts a scene similar to Jeomsim (Lunch) by Kim Hongdo and Gangbyeon hoeum (Riverside Picnic) (Figure 20) by Kim Deuksin in his later years. The commoners seated with their backs turned toward the viewer are recalled by the humble figures appearing in Park Sugeun’s oil paintings in the 20th century. The resemblance may be incidental but the figures come alive through the brushstrokes of the two artists who, though separated by time and space, saw with the same eyes and captured the same mood of ordinary Koreans at work and play. ( Figure 18 ) “Wood Turner,” Jo Yeongseok, ink and light color on paper, 28 (h) x 20.7 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul ( Figure 19 ) “Snack Time,” Jo Yeongseok, ink and light color on paper, 20 (h)x 24.5 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul ( Figure 20 ) “Riverside Picnic,” Kim Deuksin, ink and light color on paper, 22.4 (h) x 27 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Through Yun Duseo and Jo Yeongseok, it can be reaffirmed that literati painters were more active than professional court painters in exploring and embracing new painting styles. It was a persistent trend in painting throughout the Joseon period. Genre painting was no exception. It is widely known that Jeong Seon was a pioneer in exploring and establishing the remarkable tradition of depicting the “true view” of Korean landscapes.38 But, as shown in his painting Dokseoyeoga (讀書餘假, A Break from Reading) (Figure 21),39 he also possessed a peerless ability in depicting motifs in genre style. The painting features an old scholar gazing at potted plants in the yard, sitting sideways on a verandah, a folding fan painted with a landscape design in his hand. Behind the scholar, who may be Jeong himself, is seen the interior of his study. A bookcase with many books neatly piled up, the inside of an open bookcase door lined with an archaic picture of a sage contemplating a waterfall, a window detailed with an iron knob with decorative flower design open to the view of an old juniper tree, a bamboo mat with exquisite patterns on the floor, the wavy grain of the verandah’s wooden floor, a pair of pretty leather shoes on the ground, and the plants in beautiful flower pots outside — all these motifs are elegantly harmonized to create a lyrical ambience. The skillful diagonal composition giving depth to the scene and realistic depiction of motifs aside, what is especially impressive is the graceful dignity and poetic atmosphere. The painting fully shows that Jeong could have made an ingenious contribution to the development of genre painting if he had wanted to. ( Figure 21 ) “A Break from Reading,” Jeong Seon, ink and light color on silk, 24.1 (h) x 17 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Jeong Hwang (鄭榥, 1737–?), a grandson of Jeong Seon, emulated the true-view landscape style of his grandfather but also had an interest in genre painting, as is well shown in Ianwa suseok sihoedo (易安窩壽席詩會圖, Poetry Meeting for Celebrating the Longevity of Nam Gihan) (Figure 22). The painting depicts elderly men seated in two rows facing each other in an open space surrounded by square walls. The venue is decorated with potted plants and a miniature rock collection with a tall tree rising from a corner in the foreground. The composition and technique resonate with the influence of Jeong Seon. ( Figure 22 ) “Poetry Meeting for Celebrating Longevity of Nam Gihan,” Jeong Hwang, ink and light color on paper, 25 (h) x 57 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul Among other notable genre painters before Kim Hongdo are Kang Huieon (姜希彦, 1738–1784), Yi In-sang (李麟祥, 1710–1760) and Kang Sehwang (姜世晃, 1713–1791).40 They were all amateur literati painters famous for landscape painting rather than genre pictures. Seokgongdo (石工圖, Masons) by Kang Huieon betrays a certain resemblance to Jo Yeongseok in its Zhe style composition and neat depiction of figures. Kang was obviously trying to explore his own style in Sainsamgyeongdo (士人三景圖, Three Literati Scenes) (Figures 23–25) but he still remained under the influence of Jo in these serial works. For example, the scholars writing or drawing while sitting on the floor and leaning forward in Sainhwiho (士人揮毫, Literati Wielding Brush) (Figure 23) look appealingly fresh but the overall composition, especially a tree shown at the upper left corner, definitely resembles Sugong seonchado (Figure 18) by Jo Yeongseok, attesting to a close stylistic relationship between the two artists. This painting also reveals a certain affinity with Hyeonjeong seungjipdo (玄亭勝集圖, Pleasant Gathering at the Hyeonjeong Pavilion) (Figure 26) by Kang Sehwang (姜世晃, 1713-1791). And yet, it can't be denied that Kang Huieon’s remarkable originality clearly showed in his enduring interest in refined cultural activities of the literati rather than the daily life of commoners as well as his simple and lyrical expression of essential themes. ( Figure 23 ) “Literati Wielding Brush” from “Three Literati Scenes,” Kang Huieon, ink and light color on paper, 26 (h) x 21 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul ( Figure 24 ) “Literati Composing Poems” from “Three Literati Scenes,” Kang Huieon, ink and light color on paper, 26 (h) x 21 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul ( Figure 25 ) “Literati Performing Archery” from “Three Literati Scenes,” Kang Huieon, ink and light color on paper, 26 (h) x 21 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul ( Figure 26 ) “Pleasant Gathering at the Hyeonjeong Pavilion,” Kang Sehwang, ink on paper, 101.8 (h) x 35 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul Also a part of the serial work, Sainsaye (士人射藝, Literati Performing Achery) (Figure 25) adopted traditional ideas of composition in the three figures arranged in a triangle under a pine tree rising from a corner and the importance of the landscape background. But the technique employed for depicting human figures, the shape of the pine tree and the women in the background reveal the unique painting style which prevailed during the late Joseon period, and the pine tree looks somewhat similar to those by Yi In-sang. Moreover, the women in the background present a crucial clue to the stylistic lineage flowing down to the two master genre painters, Kim Hongdo and Shin Yunbok, of the following generation. Along with Kang Sehwang, Yi In-sang (李麟祥, 1710-1760) contributed remarkably to the development of literati painting in the Southern School style during the latter part of the Joseon period. He is better known for both figure and landscape painting than for genre.41 But two paintings attributed to him, Songha sueopdo (松下授業圖, Study under Pine Tree) (Figure 27) and Yucheonjeom bongnodo (柳川店蓬壚圖, Taverns at Yucheonjeom) (Figure 28) explicitly reveal that he had considerable interest in genre scenes. ( Figure 27 ) “Study under Pine Tree,” Yi Insang, 18th century, ink and color on paper, 28.7 (h) x 27.5 (w) cm, private collection ( Figure 28 ) “Taverns at Yucheonjeom,” Yi In-sang, ink on paper, 24 (h) x 43.2 (w) cm, private collection in Seoul Songha sueopdo depicts a teacher and a student studying in the shade of a pine tree with a large rock in the background. The landscape in the background is undoubtedly the work of Yi In-sang, but as pointed out by Lee Dongju (李東洲), the human figures foreshadow the brush technique of Kim Deuksin (1754–1822),42 who was only six years old in 1760, when Yi died. But the composition highlighting two men against a landscape background, the serious facial expressions of teacher and student, and the props laid out beside them, such as a pitcher and cup, and an ink stone and water dropper, well reflect the lifestyle of scholars at the time. In contrast, Yucheonjeom bongnodo successfully expressed an interesting aspect of the late Joseon lifestyle by adroitly depicting commoners’ houses, stable, thatched lookout post and travelers with a skillful dry brush. As mentioned above, Kang Sehwang made an enormous contribution to the development of Southern School painting during the latter part of Joseon. He morally supported many professional painters including Kim Hongdo and wrote encomia on their works, but was known to have left behind no genre painting by himself. But one of his early works, Hyeonjeong seungjipdo, painted when he was 34 years old, portrays a popular custom of the literati class through a picture of upper-class scholars leisurely enjoying refined hobbies like a game of go, reading, and music (Figure 26).43 In spite of somewhat immature brushwork, the painting is impressively lyrical and even betrays a close kinship with Sainsieum (士人詩吟, Literati Composing Poems) by Kang Huieon in terms of subject and composition (Figure 24). Since they are known to have been distantly related, it may be considered natural that they painted in a similar style. One distinctive difference, however, is that Kang Sehwang’s paintings are more refined and Kang Huieon’s far simpler and more straightforward. Kang Sehwang was three years younger than Kang Huieon, but in view of his superior expertise in painting, his power in the art world and social position, it is assumed that he exerted influence on the latter. Despite a few early works depicting genre scenes and his comments on numerous genre paintings, after middle age Kang Sehwang does not seem to have painted any genre scenes. It was probably because he, as a man of the literati class, was reluctant to deal with mundane subjects. Genre painting of the late Joseon period attained its marvelous ingenuity through Kim Hongdo, Kim Deuksin, and Shin Yunbok. Kim Hongdo distinguished himself in all areas of painting landscapes, figures, and birds-and-flowers, but he made truly monumental achievements in genre scenes.44 When he was young, Kim studied under Kang Sehwang, who ever after remained his stalwart mentor. A collection of Kang's writings, Pyoamyugo (豹菴遺稿, Posthumous Manuscripts of Pyoam) contains pages titled “Record on Danwon (檀園記),” where he wrote about Kim: And he also has incredible skill in portraying people and customs of our country, such as scholars reading, pedlars heading to market, travelers, boudoir scenes, peasants, women growing silkworms, many-roomed homes, double doors, craggy mountains, and trees in the fields. He can describe all these exactly as they are — an ability with no precedent at all.45 In another section of the same book Kang wrote “A Second Record on Danwon (檀園記又一本)”: It may be said he possesses skills as yet unheard of in the past four hundred years. Furthermore, he is so good at depicting all daily customs of people precisely as they appear, as well as the streets, ferries, shops and stores, scenes at public service examinations and playgrounds that no sooner than he lays down his brush, everyone can't help applauding and exclaiming in wonder. These are the very renowned genre pictures painted by Kim Saneung (金士能, another name of Kim Hongdo). How could he ever attain such artistry without his smart brain and enigmatic apprehension which led him to lofty awakening?46 These records vividly bring to light the dexterity displayed by Kim Hongdo in depicting genre scenes and the high regard given to his works. Through most of his thirties Kim enjoyed painting landscapes as well as houses and street scenes in traditional concepts. Among notable works from this period are Haengnyeo pungsokdo (行旅風俗圖, Journey through Everyday Scenes) (Figures 29, 30), which was painted in 1778 when Kim was 34 years old; Modang Hong Yisang pyeongsaengdo (慕當 洪履祥平生圖, Scenes from the Life of Hong Yisang), dated 1781, when he was 37; and Damwa Hong Gyehui pyeongsaengdo (淡窩 洪啓禧平生圖, Scenes from the Life of Hong Gyehui),” also believed to have been painted during his thirties. At 34, Kim also produced Seowonajipdo (西園雅集圖, Literati Gathering in the Western Garden) in Chinese style on a folding screen and on a fan,47 where the landscape background is emphasized. ( Figure 29 ) “Rice Threshing” (detail) from “Journey through Everyday Scenes” (eight-panel screen), Kim Hongdo, 1778, ink and light color on silk, 90.9 (h) x 42.9 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 30 ) “Blacksmith's Workshop” (detail) from “Journey through Everyday Scenes” (eight-panel screen), Kim Hongdo, 1778, ink and light color on silk, 90.9 (h) x 42.9 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea A few important facts can be confirmed through these early genre paintings by Kim from his thirties. First, he regarded landscapes and houses as important backgrounds. Second, he often painted scenes from the lives of members of the literati at their request. Third, Chinese paintings of tilling and weaving exerted considerable influence on Kim's genre scenes of this period. Later in life, however, Kim Hongdo developed his own genre painting style by removing the landscape and houses from the background and highlighting the activities of people. For example, when the threshing scene on the folding screen is compared with farming scenes from his famous work, Pungsok hwacheop (風俗畵帖, Album of Scenes from Daily Life) (Figures 31–39) in the National Museum of Korea, where the paintings are more refined and mature in technique than those on the screen and also convey a far more artistic impression. ( Figure 31 ) “Roof Tiling” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 32 ) “Tavern” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 33 ) “Ppalaeteo” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 34 ) “Mat Weaving” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 35 ) “Rice Threshing” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 36 ) “Lunch” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 37 ) “Blacksmith's Workshop” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 38 ) “Village School” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea ( Figure 39 ) “Wrestling” from “Album of Scenes from Daily Life,” Kim Hongdo, ink and light color on paper, 27 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea Therefore, as mentioned earlier, it is believed that Kim painted most of the less refined genre scenes with landscape or house backgrounds while in his thirties and those works focusing on human figures engaged in their activities against a plain background were painted later. This is again backed by the fact that the subjects of “Journey through Everyday Scenes” are remarkably similar in theme but less lively and dynamic when compared with genre scenes in the album at the National Museum of Korea, especially Tajak (Rice Threshing) (Figure 35), Daejanggan (Blacksmith’s Workshop) (Figure 37) and Nojung sangbong (路中相逢, Reunion on the Road). The change in style was probably necessitated by a need to effectively meet demand in a short time and to add humor and vitality — in other words, greater effects for less time and effort. Besides, landscape backgrounds had naturally to be abandoned when working on album leaves that were much smaller than screen panels. Kim still employed landscape or houses in the background after his forties, as shown in Samgong bulhwando (三公不換圖, Life Worthy of Three High Councilors’ Positions) or Giro seyeongyedo (耆老世聯楔圖, Fraternal Legacy of Elder Statesmen),48 but these paintings were probably done under mandatory conditions of respecting traditional style or subject. In this regard, they must be seen under a different category from his genre paintings. What is noteworthy is that both these works show an absolutely original brush technique in spite of their conventional subject and composition. There was obviously great demand for genre paintings by Kim Hongdo among royalty and the literati as well as the rich middle class, considering that he painted scenes from the lives of such private patrons as Hong I-sang and Hong Gye-hui and that he was supported by the wealthy salt merchant Kim Han-tae.49 Kim satisfied demands from his powerful and wealthy patrons but he was interested more fundamentally in observing the daily life of ordinary people engaged in their occupations and depicting them with a humorous touch, as shown by his numerous genre scenes, including Giwaigi (Roof Tiling) (Figure 31), Jumak (Tavern) (Figure 32), Ppalaeteo (Washing Place) (Figure 33), Jarijjagi (Mat Weaving) (Figure 34), Dambaesseolgi (Cutting Tobacco Leaves), Umulga (A Scene by the Well), Seodang (Village School) (Figure 38) and Ssireum (Wrestling) (Figure 39). These paintings tell clearly why, as his mentor Kang Sehwang gushed, “everyone can’t help applauding and exclaiming in wonder as soon as he laid down his brush.” His vivid and realistic genre scenes appeal strongly to viewers beyond time because they are based on his attentive observation of the life of people at the grass roots. As evidenced by his Pungsok hwacheop at the National Museum of Korea, Kim’s genre scenes are characterized by immaculate composition based on circular or X shapes, vibrant depictions of human figures with dynamic facial expressions, and energetic and powerful brushwork. His style has influenced Kim Deuksin, Shin Yunbok and other professional painters of his time as well as folk painters of later years. Paintings by Kim Deuksin faithfully echo the style of Kim Hongdo. For example, Pungsok palgok byeong (風俗八曲屛, Eight-panel Screen with Everyday Scenes) reveals a close stylistic resemblance to early genre scenes by Kim Hongdo, especially in rendering landscapes and figures. The obvious influences from Chinese tilling and weaving scenes also seem to have come through Kim Hongdo. Human figures, houses, cattle and horses, chicken and other domestic fowl, and tree branches all attest to a strong influence from Kim Hongdo. Kim Deuksin’s ability as a genre painter is well expressed in an album in the collection of the Kansong Art Museum. Paintings in this album show a far more powerful technique by all measures than those in another album at the Ho-Am Art Museum. Including Milhuitujeon (密戯鬪牋, Secret Gambling) (Figure 40), Songha giseung (松下棋僧, A Buddhist Monk Engaged in a Chess Game under Pine Tree)(Figure 41), Seonghajingni (盛夏織履, Shoe Weaving in Midsummer) (Figure 42) and Gangbyeon hoeum (江邊會飮, Riverside Picnic)(Figure 20), the paintings in the album at Kansong Art Museum still tend to place weight on background, though more moderately in comparison with the works that Kim Hongdo painted in his forties or later. A notable characteristic is that in most cases the background was simplified rather than completely removed. These paintings also reflect an unmistakable influence from Kim Hongdo but at the same time reveal the originality of Kim Deuksin. A clear resemblance is noted in the facial expressions of human figures vibrant with lively spirit and the concise but clear depiction of subjects, while folds in the clothes are tightly drawn with thinner lines. Generally, it can be said Kim Deuksin developed his own style based on influence from Kim Hongdo. ( Figure 40 ) “Secret Gambling,” Kim Deuksin, ink and light color on paper, 22.4 (h) x 27 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum ( Figure 41 ) “A Buddhist Monk Engaged in a Chess Game under Pine Tree,” Kim Deuksin, ink and light color on paper, 22.4 (h) x 27 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum ( Figure 42 ) “Shoe Weaving in Midsummer,” Kim Deuksin, ink and light color on paper, 22.4 (h) x 27 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Needless to say, Shin Yunbok along with Kim Hongdo formed the two pinnacles in genre painting of the late Joseon period. He was the son of Shin Hanpyeong (申漢枰, 1726–?), a court painter who was distinguished in painting landscapes, figures, and flowers and grass, and participated in the production of royal portraits for King Yeongjo (r. 1724–1776) in 1773 and Jeongjo (r. 1776–1800) in 1787. Shin Yunbok was certainly influenced by his father to a great extent. The clear affinity between the father and son in terms of subject matter, supple brushwork and pleasant coloring technique is confirmed through Shin Hanpyeong’s work Jamoyugado (子母育兒圖, Mother Caring for Her Children) (Figure 43), bearing his sobriquet Iljae (逸齋), in the collection of the Kansong Art Museum. It is believed that the son developed his father’s style. ( Figure 43 ) “Mother Caring for Her Children,” Shin Hanpyeong, ink and color on paper, 31 (h) x 23.5 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Shin Yunbok was also influenced by Kim Hongdo, a junior colleague of his father. His calligraphic style and drawing techniques for depicting landscape elements such as oddly-shaped rocks, the swell of the sea and variations in the lotus-leaf texture stroke exhibit similarities to Kim. He also resembles Kim in not a few genre elements. As he developed a distinctively original style of genre painting, however, Shin at a glance looks entirely unrelated to Kim. It may be said that he developed his own style based on legacies from Shin Hanpyeong and Kim Hongdo. Shin is markedly different from Kim Hongdo, however, in his choice and command of subject matter, composition method, description of human figures and coloring technique. In terms of subjects, Shin energetically delved into the world of hedonists and courtesans, whereas Kim’s primary interest was in the daily lives of ordinary commoners. This is why, though he sometimes dealt with commoners’ themes, Shin’s genre scenes frequently portray erotic themes or have such an atmosphere (Figure 44).50 ( Figure 44 ) “A Scene on the Fifth Day of the Fifth Month,” Shin Yunbok, ink and light color on paper, 28.2 (h) x 35.2 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum To effectively describe romantic and erotic scenes, Shin depicted backgrounds and props with great care and applied delicate and supple brush lines and gorgeous colors. As a result, his genre paintings look remarkably sophisticated. And through elaborate backgrounds they realistically present household goods and dress and hair styles as well as the season or the hour of the day. As in the case of Danopungjeong (端午風情, A Scene on the Fifth Day of the Fifth Month) (Figure 44), his compositions often contain extra figures peeping at the main theme from the background, a technique of two-directional viewing that originated from Kim Hongdo’s Ppalaeteo (Washing Place) (Figure 33). Shin also intended a specific motif to draw the viewer's attention within a composition. In Danopungjeong, the woman on a swing takes the role of eye-catcher. Also, men and women in his paintings all have more or less similar faces so they appear to lack diversity. The landscape background is sometimes excessively stressed at times and this undermines the overall effect of the composition. In general, however, Shin’s genre paintings are absolutely original and extremely refined and romantic. They are charming and realistic representations of everyday scenes and styles of late Joseon culture, particularly the life of the affluent classes, which would otherwise have been forgotten. This is a valuable contribution of Shin Yunbok and also an important reason why his genre scenes are cherished. In this sense, Shin deserves even deeper appreciation for bravely putting his seal on works that might have been viewed as disgraceful or immoral in his day. It would have been even more helpful for research about him if he had dated his works. It is regrettable that he didn’t do so. Shin’s genre paintings exerted influence on several painters of later years and his style was even adopted in folk painting. After him, however, Korean genre painting began to wane. 02 GENRE PAINTINGS OF THE LAST PERIOD OF JOSEON (ca. 1850-1910) Genre painting rapidly declined along with the contemporary true-view landscape painting from around 1850 through the final years of the Joseon Dynasty. Behind this trend was probably the dominance of Southern School theory which placed greater emphasis on xieyi (寫意) or the “freehand” style stressing the meaning hidden in the subject, rather than the likeness (形似) in external appearance. As Kim Jeong-hui (金正喜, 1786–1856; sobriquet, Chusa) led this trend, the emergence of Kim and his school should be associated with the fast decline of genre painting.51 Some painters continued to paint genre scenes during the final years of Joseon. Among them were Yu Suk (劉淑,1827–1873; sobriquet Hyesan) and Kim Jun-geun (金俊根, dates unknown; sobriquet, Gisan).52 But their works no longer had the powerful appeal and charm that typified the genre paintings of previous generations. Yu Suk’s painting style is clearly revealed in Daekwaedo (大快圖, Grand Matches) (Figure 45), the best-known of his works, which is in the collection of the Seoul National University Museum.53 It depicts two combat sports matches – traditional Korean wrestling (ssireum) and martial art (taekgyeon) – each taking place between a pair of boys on a vacant lot alongside the old Seoul city wall. The painting is clearly reminiscent of Kim Hongdo’s Ssireum (Wrestling) in theme and replicates another painting with the same title attributed to Shin Yunbok in composition. Yu appears to have attempted to paint a work of his own by combining the styles of two masters of the previous century. But his painting ended up falling far short of the ingenious artistry of his forebears. The slanted oval composition, featuring the young fighters surrounded by spectators, lacks tension and vigor as the focus is divided between the two simultaneous matches, one in the foreground and the other in the background. Also distracting is the landscape depicted in detail. The combating boys, all with similarly bulging heads, look languid and expressionless and so do most of the lookers-on. The sporting scene seems spiritless and inanimate. It no longer echoes with the exciting screams that reverberated across the genre scenes of the previous era. ( Figure 45 ) “Grand Matches” Yu Suk, 1836, ink and color on paper, 104.7 (h) x 52.5 (w) cm, Seoul University Museum Most of the outstanding traits of the above painting by Yu Suk are also detected in the works by the late 19th century professional genre painter Kim Jun-geun, who is believed to have hailed from Pyeongyang. Kim left behind over 1,000 works, many of them scattered abroad in various countries including the United States, Germany, France and Denmark. Kim worked mostly in Choryang and Wonsan, where he could easily contact Western missionaries who were interested in Korean folk customs. Hence his paintings were carried by the missionaries when they returned home. Genre paintings attributed to Kim appear to have been produced in collaboration with other painters, probably in a workshop system.54 The mass production system enabled him to make prints to illustrate a Korean edition of Tyeollo ryeokjeong (天路歷程, The Pilgrim’s Progress).55 Kim eliminated landscape backgrounds and focused on human figures, but his genre scenes almost invariably look inanimate. The human figures are small and weak, all with similar expressionless faces and bulging heads, and generally wearing dyed clothes. His heads are reminiscent of human figures depicted by Yu Suk, and compositions replicate genre scenes of Shin Yunbok. Julgwangdae (Tightrope Walker) (Figure 46) exemplifies this lifeless style. Most of Kim’s paintings have a title written in Korean script in a corner, another conspicuous change from the previous era. ( Figure 46 ) “Tightrope Walker” from “Gisan’s Genre Painting Album,” Kim Jun-geun, ink and light color on paper, 18 (h) x 25.5 (w) cm, Hamburg Museum of Ethnology, Germany During the late Joseon period, genre scenes were also frequent motifs of folk painters, who referred most often to works by Kim Hongdo and Shin Yunbok. This indicates the genre painting styles of leading court artists spread widely among ordinary painters. The nectar ritual paintings (甘露圖) of the Joseon period also deserve attention as they contain scenes such as folk entertainments from the lives of the deceased in this world, that resemble secular paintings in both subject matter and style.56 These Buddhist temple paintings, depicting the “sweet dew” ceremony for guiding the souls of those who met untimely or tragic deaths to heaven, also feature diverse scenes representing the pain and suffering experienced by mortals while they are alive, such as war, hunger and accidents, as well as punishments in hell. These cannot be considered ordinary scenes from daily life but still deserve attention as they show thematic affinities to genre paintings.57 Commercial scenes depicted in lower sections of many nectar ritual paintings are especially worthy of note as they clearly resemble ordinary genre views.58 There are several dozens of this type of ritual paintings dated to the 16th to the 19th centuries, forming a treasure trove of not only Buddhist paintings but also secular genre paintings of the later Joseon period, which requires a thorough and systematic research.59 V CONCLUSION Korean genre painting achieved remarkable development from ancient times through the Joseon Dynasty. Genre paintings of the Goguryeo and late Joseon periods deserve to be highly valued for their successful depiction of Korean life and folk customs in unique and admirable artistic styles. They reflect diverse aspects of Korean history, culture, lifestyles, thought and aesthetics, and therefore can appeal strongly to Koreans even today. The value of their insightful observation, witty subjects, neat composition, and honest and humorous portrayals — the defining qualities of traditional Korean genre painting — should be rediscovered and utilized as sources of inspiration and wisdom in exploring new genre styles for the future. It is truly sad that the tradition of genre painting vanished in Korea during the turbulent years of colonial rule through modernization and there is hardly any sign of its revival. This lamentable situation has been caused by the decorative, sensual and escapist tendencies of fine arts and art education under Japanese rule and the overwhelming influence of Western painting, especially the widespread popularity of abstract painting. Compounding this is a lack of appreciation of genre scenes and the tendency to avoid sensitive themes among Korean artists today. Genre painting does not necessarily have to criticize reality. Good subjects can be found everywhere. The bustling subways, happy summer holidaymakers on the beach and in the mountains, markets pulsing with the energy of ordinary people, innocent children around elementary schools, pedlars crisscrossing alleyways to sell their goods, the earnest and joyful faces of visitors from home and abroad at museums and galleries — all these can make wonderful genre scenes. If the bright and vital images of these people everywhere can be conveyed onto the canvas along with their resonant spirit, they can make great genre paintings from a modern viewpoint. In this regard, it is earnestly hoped that the study and appreciation of genre paintings from the past may lead to the revival of modern Korean genre painting in new styles.
Painting from Actual Scenery and Painting from Memory: Viewpoint and Angle of View in Landscape Paintings of the Late Joseon Dynasty
  • Lee Tae-ho(Myongji University)
True-view landscape paintings of the late Joseon Dynasty represent an important artistic trend in the history of Korean culture. While there is nothing extraordinary about Joseon artists painting their native land, the development of true-view landscape painting, including the work of Jeong Seon (鄭敾, 1676-1759; sobriquet, Gyeomjae), is considered a landmark in the literary and artistic history of the late Joseon Dynasty. One reason is that it represents a quantum leap from the early-Joseon mode of landscape painting, which was largely inspired by Chinese styles from the Song and Ming dynasties. The emergence of true-view landscape painting (眞景山水畵, jingyeong sansuhwa), therefore, embodies the will of contemporary Korean artists to turn their attention back to their native land, refusing to follow Chinese ideals of landscape beauty. Ultimately, it was a notable shift from illusionary idealism to truthful realism. Above all, the real significance of true-view landscape painting is found in the painters’ abandonment of a long-established mannerism to create an art form that could best express the reality of their beloved homeland. Hence, in terms of cultural history, at least, greater value is placed on paintings with place names in their titles. True-view landscape painting enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 18th century, during which a vast number of great painters were produced under the influence of Jeong Seon. The ideology behind this new mode of painting and its formal characteristics were consistent with Silhak (實學), the school of “practical learning,” which advocated values like reality, originality, unrestrained expression of sensibilities, and pursuit of a “Joseon style,” as well as other new trends of the time in literature, music and the performing arts.1 Recently, old literary anthologies from the late Joseon Dynasty have been newly found or rediscovered in substantial numbers. These books contain numerous poems, afterwords and critiques about paintings, many of which are art and literature theories on the subject of true-view landscape painting.2 In addition, scholars of Korean painting history tend to show increased reliance on literature for their research, and are also eager to discover new literary materials on painting. It is a beneficial trend that will enrich materials for historical research. Writings that combine the subjects of literature and painting, however, often run the risk of disregarding the fundamental difference between these two fields of study. While poems (題詩), colophons (跋文), and critiques (畵評) about paintings are primary sources in literature, they are only secondary sources in art history. To take an example, few of the landscape paintings of Jeong Seon are a faithful depiction of the actual scenery. Specifically, his paintings of the Diamond Mountain (金剛山, Mt. Geumgang or Geumgangsan, located in today’s North Korea), while bearing the most salient features of his artistic style, show the greatest degree of distortion and modification. Yet his contemporaries lavished praise on his works with such false descriptions as: “exact likeness (形似, hyeongsa)” that reveals “both physical (形神) and spiritual qualities (神似)” of the subject; “corporeal expression of emotional resonance (傳神)” of the majestic scenery; or “great accuracy (寫眞)” that reveals the psychological meaning embedded in the subject.” In some extreme cases, expressions like “complete mirror image (臨鏡寫照)” or “lifelike illusion (眞幻)” are exaggerations that are pure fantasy. While some of these descriptions are almost fictional, they may have some importance to literature. But as a reference for art history, the wording often serves as an obstacle for objective analysis of individual paintings as it can lead to false interpretations. Korean ink and wash landscape painting has limitations in expressing the color and texture of the landscape due to some innate properties of the materials. For example, Samil Lake (三曰浦, a lake near Haegeum River in North Korea) was extolled for its deep blue color and glossy surface, often likened to a woman of sumptuous beauty. When Shim Sajeong (沈師正, 1707-1769; sobriquet, Hyeonjae) painted the place, he chose pale jade-green paper, probably taking the colors of the sky and water into account. In the painting he created, however, using hemp-fiber strokes (披麻皴) with the dry-brush technique (渴筆) and light colors, there is nothing sumptuous about the lake. The white clouds, blue sky, green woods and the water reflecting them were not expressed in the vivid colors we would see in the actual scenery. The same applies to Jeong Seon’s paintings of Samil Lake created around the same time.3 The weakness of ink landscapes by the two Joseon masters is apparent when compared with a painting of the same subject using Western materials, “Samil Lake” (三日浦, Samilpo, acrylic on canvas, 112 x 145 cm, private collection) from 1999 by Kang Yobae. Employing a bird’s-eye view (俯瞰視), Kang depicted the lake with a pale sun and early moon reflected on the water. From this color painting it is possible to truly appreciate the actual scenic beauty of the lake. This shortcoming of ink landscape painting is confirmed again when it is compared with Dutch landscape paintings of the 17th century and later works from Europe. While I traveled around the Netherlands in the summer of 2007, I saw “View of Delft” (oil on canvas, 96.5 x 115.7 cm, Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague) painted in 1660-1661 by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). Impressed, I went right away to see the actual site. It was as if the cityscape along the canal under the clear sky had been preserved just as it was depicted in the 17th-century landscape painting. It occurred to me that the landscape I had seen in the painting must be an illusion (幻影) but a truly lifelike illusion (眞幻) of the scenery that I was looking at with my own eyes.4 This realistic style influenced 18th-century Chinese and Japanese oil paintings and etchings. Major Chinese examples are oil paintings like “Emperor Qianlong on the Archery Field” (乾隆射箭圖) by Jean-Denis Attiret (王致誠, 1702-1768) and “Dyeing Factory” (織染工場) by an unknown artist.5 In the Edo period, Japan, Shiba Kokan (司馬江漢, 1747-1818) was a famous Western-style artist. His engravings like “The View from Mimeguri” (三圍景, 1783) and “Mt. Fuji in Suruga Province” (駿州八部富士, post 1787) reveal the strong influence of Dutch painting.6 Painting in 18th-century Joseon also went through new changes,7 but with few elements of European influence.8 Although three-dimensional shading and perspective were partly employed, neither color etchings nor oil paintings were produced as in Edo Japan and Qing China. Instead, the true-view landscape paintings of Jeong Seon and many of his contemporaries became a fixed trend, achieving a unique Joseon style. It is my personal belief that Joseon true-view landscape painting deserves a place in the world history of art. To prove my point, I attempted a comparison of the work of Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), credited as the father of modern Western painting, with that of Jeong Seon.9 In the summer of 2001, I visited southern France, the home of the French artist. While analyzing the multiple viewpoints and bird’s-eye view employed in his landscapes, I realized that it was the viewpoint (視方式) and angle of view (畵角) that make Korean true-view landscape painting so original. The idea for this paper was formed during that trip. II CLOSE, OR NOT SO CLOSE, TO REALITY I visited many of the places depicted in the true-view landscape paintings of the late Joseon Dynasty—including the Yeongnam region in 1980 and the Diamond Mountain in 1998—to compare the paintings with the actual scenes they represent.10 After the field surveys, I classified the paintings into two categories. One category is paintings that bear no resemblance to the place identified in the title. In this case, it is presumed the artist painted from memory a short time or a long time after visiting the place. The second category is paintings that bear a close resemblance to the place identified in the title. In this case, the artist is presumed to have made a full sketch, or at least a rough draft, on the spot and completed the painting later elsewhere. Interestingly, this classification also applies to 20th-century landscapes of the Diamond Mountain, to which painters from South Korea have limited access.11 These two categories also represent two different methods typically adopted when painting a given subject. One is “representation” of the external appearance. In theories of Asian painting, it is close to the concept of hyeongsa (形似, realism), making a copy of what is physically visible. The other is “expression” of the artist’s emotional response to the subject, which is close to the concept of saui (寫意, impressions), emphasis of the psychological meaning associated with the subject. Based on this distinction, painting from memory is a method inclined to emotional expression, while painting from real life promotes accurate representation. As is widely known, Jeong Seon was by far the most talented and prolific painter of true-view landscape painting. He brought the new style to perfection, and the majority of existing paintings of the kind are attributed to him. In this paper as well, Jeong Seon accounts for the greatest portion of the chapters about individual artists grouped together by style.12 This imbalance implies the unrivaled status that Jeong Seon occupied in true-view landscape painting. He excelled in style and artistry, as well as in choice of place. There were few sites of scenic beauty in Joseon that he did not explore. From the Diamond Mountain to Gwandong palgyeong (關東八景, the eight most scenic spots in eastern Korea), he painted all the most beautiful and famous sites, including the temples, Confucian academies, and provincial government offices he came across during his painting trips. In Seoul as well, either on commission or for pure joy, he painted a variety of famous places as well as houses, villas, and offices along the Han River (漢江), including Cheongsong Pavilion (靑松) and Jangdong palgyeong (壯洞八景, the eight most scenic spots in Jangdong, Seoul).13 Afterwards, Jeong’s followers and literati painters like Shim Sajeong and Yi Insang (李麟祥 1710-1760; sobriquet, Neunghogwan) broadened the potential of true-view landscape painting by introducing diverse stylistic elements. Succeeding this tradition, Kim Hongdo (金弘道, 1745-?; sobriquet, Danwon) made groundbreaking achievements for further development.14 Even so, Jeong’s work still serves as the standard for analyzing works of these subsequent painters. To Jeong, great accuracy of depiction was not of pivotal importance. True-view landscape painters can be divided into two groups: those who painted like Jeong Seon and those who painted with a close resemblance to reality. Kim Hongdo, with his superb skill for faithful depiction, falls under the second category. Considered chronologically, Jeong Seon’s style, which made bold modifications to the actual scenery, dominated the early 18th century (reign of King Yeongjo, 1724-1776), and Kim’s style, faithful to reality, prevailed in the late 18th century (reign of King Jeongjo, 1776-1800).15 Years ago, I sorted out this idea with the following statement: “King Yeongjo’s reign coincides with the age of Jeong Seon, who produced the solemn, early classical style, and King Jeongjo’s reign coincides with the age of Kim Hongdo, who created the varied and cheerful, late classical style based on complete internalization of the earlier style. In its last phase, the style of the golden age declined into mannerism. Just as late Joseon painting was hallmarked by the emergence of true-view landscape painting, the course of the former followed the development, sophistication and decline of the latter.”16 At the time, I had a debate with Professor Shim Gwang-hyeon (沈光鉉) on the social phenomena and cultural and artistic changes related with this topic.17 Later, I also attempted a different classification into Daoist and realistic true-view landscape painters. I placed Jeong Seon and his followers, Yi Insang, and Yun Jehong (尹濟弘, 1764-?; sobriquet, Haksan) in the first category, and Shim Sajeong and Kim Hongdo in the second.18 While looking through numerous true-view landscape paintings in preparation for this paper, I reconsidered this topic and came to the assumption that Jeong Seon’s unrealistic landscapes were mostly painted from memory, while Kim Hongdo’s realistic landscapes were recreated from actual scenery. Based on this assumption, I examined the difference in composition between the memory-dependent Daoist landscapes and the site-dependent realistic landscapes. I found out that the paintings fell under one of two types: those where the whole scene could be framed within the viewfinder of a 35mm camera and those where it could not. Jeong Seon’s landscape paintings usually depict a scene that cannot be captured with a lens of 28-50mm focal length. Only a wide-angle lens shorter than 28mm or a panoramic lens can contain the scene in one frame. On the contrary, most scenes in Kim Hongdo’s works can be framed in the viewfinder of a camera with a 35-50mm lens, which is similar to the angle of view employed in European paintings of the 17th-19th centuries. This experiment shows how a viewpoint—such as a bird’s-eye view, multiple viewpoints, a moving viewpoint—and the angle of view can serve as criteria to distinguish between painting from actual scenery and painting from memory. Viewing the landscape is as creative an act as painting it.19 Landscapes have such great significance to humans as places for living that the choice of site, along with the viewpoint and the scope of the captured scene is a meaningful standard for appraising a landscape painting. Scholars of civil engineering and landscape studies claim that the human vertical and horizontal fields of view are 10° and 20°, respectively. Roughly speaking, it is an area covered by the hands with arms stretched out in front.20 Our field of view is much narrower than we presume. Given this fact, Jeong Seon had a field of view five times wider than normal. It is commonly said that when we look ahead fixedly at a certain object, the widest range of vision is 60°. However, the Korea Ophthalmological Society claims that an adult can see as wide as 150° and children 130°.21 Back to the first claim, if humans can see 60° in the horizontal field with ease, this is equivalent to the angle of view covered by a 35mm lens. A 50mm standard lens generally covers 46°; 28mm and 17mm wide-angle lenses 75° and 104°, respectively; and 85mm and 135mm telephoto lenses 29° and 18°, respectively.22 With this information, I set off to analyze true-view landscape paintings one by one on the actual sites. On previous field trips I used to carry a camera with a 50mm standard lens and 35mm and 28mm wide-angle lenses. For a trip to the Diamond Mountain in August 1998, however, I carried a 180° panoramic lens, too. III PAINTERS WHO RELIED ON MEMORY Like their master Jeong Seon, some of his followers relied on memory at the expense of accuracy: Choe Buk (崔北, 1712-1786; sobriquet, Hosaenggwan), Jeong Hwang (鄭榥, 1735-?; sobriquet, Sonam), Kim Eunghwan (金應煥, 1742-1789; sobriquet, Bokheon), and Sin Hakgwon (申鶴權, 1785-1866, sobriquet, Doam). But another group of Jeong’s followers showed interest in accurate description: Kim Yun-gyeom (金允謙, 1711-1775; sobriquet, Jinjae) and Jeong Chungyeop (鄭忠燁, 1725-?; sobriquet, Yiho). Some literati painters also preferred to paint from memory: Yi Insang, Heo Pil (許佖, 1709-1761; sobriquet, Yeongaek), Yi Yunyeong (李胤永, 1714-1759; sobriquet, Danneung), Yun Jehong (尹濟弘, 1764~?; sobriquet, Haksan), and Yi Bang-un (李昉運, 1761-?; sobriquet, Giya). Consequently, their works bear a similar level of resemblance to the actual scenery in Jeong Seon’s work, that is, less than 50 percent. 01 JEONG SEON It seems that Jeong Seon was not interested in depicting the actual scenery as faithfully as possible. With one or two exceptions such as “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” (仁王霽色圖, Inwangjesaekdo, ink on paper, 79.2 x 138.2 cm, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art), most of his landscape paintings bear little resemblance to the actual scenery, probably because he painted mostly from memory. Jeong’s landscape paintings have deep emotional resonance because they express not only the actual topography of the site but also the artist’s impression or feelings about the landscape. A good example is “Bagyeon Falls” (朴淵瀑圖, Bagyeonpokdo, ink on paper, 119.5 x 52 cm, private collection) painted in the 1750s. The water crashing down from the falls has been expressed magnificently on the paper. By painting the falls twice as long as they are in reality and heightening the contrast of black ink and white paper, he managed to capture even the roaring sound of the water on a two-dimensional plane.23 The act of painting from memory involves a high degree of perception by the brain. Indeed, to recall shapes, looks, or sounds (of the falls, for example) is a highly intellectual process. Jeong was also a man of letters, well versed in the Chinese classics. A number of literary records refer to him as “a scholar devoted to The Book of Changes (周易) and The Doctrine of the Mean (中庸),” and state that his painting style was largely influenced by theories expounded in these works.24 The genealogical record of his family states that he wrote the book The Illustrated Account of the Book of Changes (圖說經解).25 The disparity in physical features between his landscape paintings and the actual scene was in fact a dominant style in the early Joseon period. To take his earlier work as an example, “Seongnyu Cave” (聖留窟, Seongnyugul, ink and light colors on paper, 27.3 x 28.5 cm, Kansong Art Museum), painted in the 1730s-40s, features at its center a rocky peak projecting skyward with small hills on the right and Wangpi River (王避川) on the left. In reality, however, the rocky peak and the adjacent hills are the same height. The exaggeration of the rocky peak at the center is in accordance with the composition of traditional landscapes. The surface of the rock was painted darker with repeated ink retouches, a technique originated from the axe-cut texture stroke (斧劈皴法) of the Chinese Northern School of painting. On the contrary, the hemp-fiber strokes and various dot texture strokes used to depict the earthy hills are techniques of the Chinese Southern School. Jeong Seon thus combined the two distinct styles to create his own original one.26 He also used this combination of techniques when painting other subjects, such as Danbal Ridge (斷髪嶺), various peaks of the Inner Diamond Mountain, the periphery of Mt. Inwang, and the Han River. 1) Landscape From a Bird’s-Eye View Painted in 1734, “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (金剛全圖, Geumgangjeondo, ink and light color on paper, 130.7 x 59 cm, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art) is a masterpiece of landscape painting by Jeong Seon. Some have attempted to analyze this painting based on the Book of Changes, focusing on the circular composition of the taegeuk (太極, taiji, or the Great Ultimate) as well as the yin-yang contrast of the dot texture strokes (rendered pressing the brush sideways) for the earthy mountains and the vertical strokes (rendered holding the brush vertically) for the rocky mountains.27 Others have compared the rhythm of his brushstrokes to the prosody of Jeongcheol’s (鄭澈, 1536x1593; sobriquet, Songgang) poetry, which has a 4(3)-3 meter.28 As these extraordinary efforts indicate, Jeong’s style embraced these contrasting elements with intriguing harmony: rhythmical expression of emotion and logical reinterpretation of those feelings. It’s almost certain he was an artist with a cool head and a warm heart. “General View of Mt. Geumgang” clearly shows the artist’s boldness in reconfiguring the scenery, using an unusual viewpoint—an aerial view—as if he had flown high into the sky and looked down on the entire mountain range with his head turning 360°, just like an owl. While the peaks in the upper middle section are seen from the front view, the rugged peaks on the sides are seen from the side. Together, the cluster of peaks creates a circular composition, which is quite a logical arrangement. In addition, the peaks rising one above another have been described with a high-distance perspective (高遠法). This unique viewpoint and composition emphasize the solemn beauty of the mountain and the originality of the artist (Figure 1). ( Figure 1 ) “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (金剛全圖), Jeong Seon, 1734, ink and light color on paper, 130.7 (h) x 59 (w) cm, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art Although this painting does not name the peaks, focusing only on its aesthetic aspect, some of Jeong’s other paintings of the same mountain name various spots, for example, “Complete View of the Inner Mt. Geumgang” (金剛內山總圖, Geumgangsan naechongdo, 1711), part of The Album of Paintings of Geumgangsan in Autumn (楓嶽圖帖, Pungakdocheop, ink and light color on silk, 36 x 37.4 cm, National Museum of Korea) and “Complete Survey of the Inner Mt. Geumgang in Autumn” (楓嶽內山總覽, Pungaknaesan chongnam, 1720s-30s, colors on silk, 100.5 x 73.6 cm, Kansong Art Museum). With names of over 30 spots, including the peaks such as Biro Peak (毘盧峰), Hyeolmang Peak (穴望峰), Sohyangno Peak (小香爐峰), Daehyangno Peak(大香爐峰), and Junghyang Crags (衆香城); valleys of Manpok Valley (萬瀑洞) and Baekcheondong (白川洞); and temples including Jangan Temple (長安寺), Pyohun Temple (表訓寺), and Jeongyang Temple (正陽寺), these paintings are almost like three-dimensional maps. No map before or after Jeong Seon had such detailed information of the mountain. In other words, these comprehensive paintings of the Diamond Mountain have no precedent of any kind. They are a patchwork of memories of spots surveyed by the artist. Of course, Jeong’s memory must have failed him sometimes, resulting in the wrong position or different shape of a certain peak or spot. Saja Cliff (獅子岩) in the “General View of Mt. Geumgang” would be a good example. The bird’s-eye view of the beautiful mountain captured in a circular composition contains all the peaks, valleys, and temples that Jeong visited on foot and memorized in his head. From Jangan Temple at the foot of the mountain to the highest Biro Peak, his viewpoint moved as he traveled. This way, he created a very original style that captured a wide expanse of mountain within a single frame. It is a wonderful idea that strikes a chord with anyone who has wished to see the whole spectacular mountain in one sight. This creative style is so closely associated with Koreans’ collective impression of the mountain that Jeong’s paintings of the Diamond Mountain have been loved by many people past and present. When compared with the actual landscape, the top section of “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (with Biro Peak surrounded by Junghyang Crags) is similar to the scenery as viewed from Bangu Cliff (盤龜臺). The only difference is that Biro Peak, the main peak of the mountain, has a rather round top in the painting (Figure 2). In spite of its similarity to the real scene, the bird’s-eye view indicates that the painting was based on the artist’s memories, considering the impossibility of the painter flying up like a kite or a bird to get a view of this vast mountain from the sky. In short, Jeong used both his feet and his imagination to create this breathtaking painting. ( Figure 2 ) Biro Peak (毘盧峯) surrounded by Junghyang Crags (衆香城) in “General View of Mt. Geumgang” In Biro Peak (毘盧峯, Birobong, ink on paper, 34.8 x 25.5 cm, private collection), which Jeong painted in the 1730s, the main peak has been extremely exaggerated, shooting skyward above the rugged crags of Junghyang Crags, perhaps in an attempt to emphasize the main peak’s towering presence. The painter’s whimsical boldness in wielding his brush is wonderfully expressed in a poem by his close friend Yi Byeongyeon (李秉淵, 1671-1751; sobriquet, Sacheon). An album of paintings and poetry, Transmission of the Spirit of the Ocean and Mountains (海岳傳神帖, Haeak jeonsincheop) contains the poem “My Friend Jeong Seon Paints Biro Peak in a Sea of Mist (鄭元伯霧中畵毘盧峯),” which reads as follows: “My friend Jeong Seon doesn’t even carry a brush. He steals one from me whenever he feels inclined to paint. Since his return from the Diamond Mountain, his brushstrokes have grown bold to the point of arrogance …”29 A line at the end of the same poem—“Full of mirth, he put aside the brush and just enjoyed himself in the mountain”—shows that the painter was more interested in enjoying the scenery than making sketches. A decade ago, an American art historian and a geographer from Germany conducted a joint study to find the possible spot from which Jeong Seon painted the Diamond Mountain. This involved creating a three-dimensional version of a map of the mountain.30 The painting under investigation was “General View of the Inner Mt. Geumgang” (金剛內山全圖, Geumgang naesan jeondo, colors on ink, 33.3 x 54.8 cm, Monastery of St. Ottilien). Painted in the 1730s-40s, this painting depicts the inner part of the mountain, similar to Jeong’s 1742 work “Inner Mt. Geumgang” (金剛內山, Geumgang naesan, ink and light colors on silk, 32.6 x 49.5 cm, Kansong Art Museum). On the far right side of the canvas is Jangan Temple, and next to it, to the left, are Pyohun Temple and Jeongyang Temple. The earthen peaks, where several temples are nestled, are rendered with dot texture strokes and placed at the bottom and on the left of the canvas, encircling the rocky peaks in the middle. The two scholars reported the result of their study as “disappointing.” Even with a map of the hypothetical topography, created by exaggerating the heights of the peaks, they could not find a single point that gave them a complete view of the entire area as depicted in the painting. This result confirms Jeong Seon’s unique viewpoint—the combination of a bird’s-eye view and a multiple viewpoint. 2) A Multiple Viewpoint and a Moving Point of View Jeong Seon used a bird’s-eye view, a multiple viewpoint (多視點) and a moving point of view (視點移動), all in one painting. The combination of viewpoints is easily found in his paintings of the entire mountain viewed from Danbal Ridge, as well as other paintings of Jangan Temple and Jeongyang Temple and Manpok Valley and Baekcheondong valleys. Unlike “General View of Mt. Geumgang,” these paintings reveal the painter’s original way of viewing the subject. It is as if the artist painted them while moving in the sky above the scenery. The Album of Paintings of the Mt. Geumgang in Autumn, completed in 1711, includes a painting that Jeong Seon created after returning from his first trip to the mountain: “Mt. Geumgang Viewed from Danbal Ridge” (斷髪嶺望金剛山, Danballyeongmang geumgangsan, ink and light colors on silk, 34.3 x 39 cm, National Museum of Korea). He painted the same scene 10-20 years later, and in the later version, titled “General View of Mt. Geumgang Viewed from Danbal Ridge” (斷髪嶺望金剛全圖, Danballyeongmang Geumgang jeondo, ink on paper, 25.7 x 28.5 cm, National Museum of Korea), the hill is lower and the mountain much higher. The painting dates to the 1730s, when the artist was in his late 40s or 50s. In reality, however, the mountain is barely visible from the hill. Many years after he had explored every nook and cranny of the mountain, Jeong might have found the mountain in his memory so imposing that he depicted it as clearly visible from the faraway hill. The later version, “General View of Mt. Geumgang Viewed from Danbal Ridge” has two distinct sections: the hill on the right is depicted as if viewed from below, from the foot of the hill, while the mountain on the left is a distant bird’s-eye view. There are three people at the top of the hill. Two of them are holding a piece of drawing paper. The third, presumed to be Jeong Seon himself, is painting the distant mountain with his back to the viewer. Dressed in a horsehair hat and white robe, the painter must have made some preliminary sketches on the spot, admiring the view spread out before him. The scene has a horizontal field of view close to 90°, meaning the entire scene could be framed by a wide-angle lens with a focal length of less than 28mm. No painter before Jeong Seon had thought of adopting this wide range of field. “Bihong Bridge at Jangan Temple” (長安寺飛虹橋, Jangansa Bihonggyo, colors on silk, 32 x 24.8 cm, Kansong Art Museum) from 1742, included in the Transmission of the Spirit of the Ocean and Mountains, gives a detailed view of the temple, similar to the simplified version that forms part of the 1734 work “General View of Mt. Geumgang.” The painting of the bridge at the foot of the mountain aptly illustrates how the painter used a moving point of view. Today, the arched bridge has been replaced by a horizontal concrete bridge, and only the site of the temple remains. However, a photograph of Jangan Temple taken in the 1930s shows that it was quite similar to the temple depicted in the painting. One obvious difference is the two-storey pavilion near the bridge, which is far closer to the water in the painting than in the photograph. In the “Bihong Bridge…” painting the scenery is viewed from higher up in the sky, compared with the corresponding scene in “General View…” Jeong’s confidence and dexterity in brushstrokes resulted in the masterpiece expressed with an excellent gradation of ink. Somewhere in the wooded peaks on the left of the canvas would be a path to Jeongyang Temple, and on the right, across the stream, we can see a path up to Janggyeong Peak and Myeonggyeong Cliff. This composition is very similar to the view I saw at Jangan Temple site. However, the peaks in the background, including the faintly distant view of Gwaneum Peak (觀音峯) at the center, are twice as high as the actual peaks. In this painting, following the ever-changing perspective of the painter, there are three distinct viewpoints: 1) Bihong Bridge viewed while approaching it from Naegang-ri; 2) Jangan Temple viewed from Bihong Bridge; and 3) Gwaneum Peak viewed from Jangan Temple. In 1998, I took two photographs at the site using a 35mm wide-angle lens, one of the temple bridge taken at a point downstream of the river and the other of the distant peak framed from the temple site. These two photographs represent the first and third viewpoints described above, while a photograph of Jangan Temple taken in the 1930s represents the second viewpoint. To reproduce the three separate viewpoints of the painting, the three photographs would have to be combined somehow in one frame. This analysis shows that Jeong Seon used a combination of a few different viewpoints recomposed in a bird’s-eye view (Figure 3). ( Figure 3 ) Comparison of Jeong Seon’s moving viewpoints. Left: “Bihong Bridge at Jangan Temple” (長安寺飛虹橋), Jeong Seon, from Transmission of the Spirit of the Ocean and Mountains (海岳傳神帖, Haeak jeonsincheop), 1742, color on silk, 32 (h)x 24.8 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Top right: A picture of Gwaneum Peak, taken by the author from Jangan Temple Center right: 1930s photograph of Jangan Temple Bottom right: Bihong Bridge at the entrance to Jangan Temple Painted in the 1740s, the fan painting “Jeongyang Temple” (扇面正陽寺, ink and light color on paper, 22 x 61 cm, National Museum of Korea) has a complete view of the Inner Diamond Mountain, with the temple as the main subject. The temple is nestled in one of the wooded peaks on the left, over which rocky crags are spread wide to cover the entire fan. The painter’s signature (謙老) and the title of the painting at the top left indicate that this is one of his later works. Depicting Jeongyang Temple and the entire inner mountain viewed from Cheonil Cliff (天一臺), the painting clearly reveals the artist’s skill in capturing an extensive range of view (Figure 4). ( Figure 4 ) “Jeonggyang Temple” (扇面正陽寺), Jeong Seon, 1740s, ink and light color on paper, 22 (h) x 61 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea A group of people, probably the painter and his party of travelers, is seen under the fir trees on Cheonil Cliff in the lower middle part of the fan. The field of view from the cliff that encompasses all the inner part of the mountain—including the peaks of Biro Peak, Junghyang Crags, Hyeolmang Peak, Daehyangno Peak and Sohyangno Peak—is almost 180°. The painter must have looked around the vast landscape turning his head from left to right, and then depicted them all in one scene. The painter’s group is pictured as seen from Banggwang Cliff (放光臺), the smaller peak of dotted texture at the far right bottom. In sum, this painting consists of three different viewpoints—the temple viewed from the cliff at the center; the rocky crags viewed from the same cliff; and the group of people viewed from the smaller cliff on the far right. All these different viewpoints are combined to produce a spectacular bird’s-eye view. There is no way to have this kind of view at any point on the land, which means this painting is a product of the painter’s imagination (Figure 5). ( Figure 5 ) Left: Inner Mt. Geumgang from Jeonggyang Temple, showing angle of view and viewpoint and comparison with real scenery Top right: Photo of Inner Mt. Geumgang taken by the author from the Heolseong Pavilion site Bottom right: 1930s photo of Heolseong Pavilion and Inner Mt. Geumgang The two-storey structure in the temple complex shown in the painting is Heolseong Pavilion (歇惺樓). When I visited the Diamond Mountain in 1998, I took a picture of the inner mountain from the site of the now non-existent pavilion. However, neither my photograph of the pavilion nor the one taken in the 1930s can capture the mountain in the background as magnificently as the painting. Although I tried both a 20mm wide-angle lens and a panoramic camera, the trees on the border of the pavilion site have grown so high that a wide view of the mountain was impossible to obtain. Then, I realized that the landscape reconfigured based on the painter’s memory and imagination delivered a sense of reality even stronger than photographs. The moving, multiple points of view employed in this painting is of great significance in understanding Jeong Seon’s landscape painting because this style is reflected in his masterpiece “General View of Mt. Geumgang” to a more amplified effect. In addition, it is quite reasonable to assume that his many other paintings depicting the general view of the mountain were also conceived on the cliff or the pavilion described in this painting. When compared with “Jeongyang Temple” (ink and light color on paper, 56 x 42.8 cm, Kansong Art Museum),31 part of Album of Paintings of Eight Scenic Spots in Mt. Geumgang (金剛八景圖帖, Geumgang palgyeong docheop) completed in the 1730s-40s, the fan painting indicates that the painter’s memory was sometimes inaccurate. Heolseong Pavilion, nicknamed “the main hall of the Diamond Mountain,” was a one-storey structure, but in this painting it is a two-storey one built on stone pillars. The hexagonal building at the center of the temple is Yaksa Hall (藥師殿), which remains intact today. Although depicting the same temple, the regular paper version has an angle of view half as narrow as that of the fan-painting version. It seems that a 28mm wide-angle lens would be able to frame the entire scenery. The temple is a view from Cheonildae; Biro Peak and the surrounding peaks are partly visible beyond the earthy peaks around the temple. Again, this painting is a combination of two different viewpoints: the temple from the cliff and the top of the mountain from the temple. These two paintings of Jeongyang Temple also incorporate multiple points of view in one frame with yet another viewpoint that integrates all the rest. The mountain peaks are seen from the pavilion at the temple; the pavilion is seen from the cliff at the center with the painter’s group on it; and the group of people is seen from the smaller cliff on the right. Finally, an imaginary third party looks down on all these, including the painter himself. In sum, this is the same style used in the above-mentioned paintings of Jangan Temple and of the Diamond Mountain viewed from Danbal Ridge. This composition represents the simultaneous presence of the spiritual (the third party overlooking the view from above), the human (the painter) and the material (the scenery). I want to link this composition to the thought of Practical Learning or Silhak, an influential school of thought during the time of Jeong Seon, which claimed that there was no distinction between human and material properties.32 I consider this composition to be related with the tradition of East Asian landscape painting, which described scenery not in isolation but with a human presence in the foreground—usually the painter himself with his house or pavilion surrounded by trees or woods. This is in parallel with the attitude of Asian philosophy to see the self and the other, and humans and the environment, not as a confronting pair but as one in harmonious unity. 3) Contracted and Simplified Landscape in a Wide-Angle View As confirmed by his characteristic use of viewpoint, Jeong Seon had an especially wide field of view. In addition, he was also skilled at contracting a wide view onto the narrow canvas. A good example is “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” (仁王霽色圖, Inwangjesaekdo) painted in 1751. One of his greatest masterpieces, this painting is so full of power and vitality that it is hard to believe it is the work of a 75-year-old artist. The massive rocks, rendered dark by repeated ink retouches, stand magnificently above the mist after summer rain (Figure 6). ( Figure 6 ) “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” (仁王霽色圖), Jeong Seon, 1751, ink on paper, 79.2 (h)x 138.2 (w) cm, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art The towering rocks are shrouded in mist at their feet, and the house in the foreground is surrounded by pine trees. This house must be the point from which the painter viewed the mountain. It seems to be located somewhere near Songseok Hill (松石園), halfway between Ongnyu Stream (玉流川) on the left and Cheongpung Valley (淸風溪) on the right. The house and its surroundings look similar to those described in “Samseung Pavilion” (三勝亭, Samseungjeong, 1741, ink and light color on silk, 40 x 66.7 cm, private collection) or “View from Samseung Pavilion” (三勝眺望, Samseung jomang, ink and light color on silk, 39.7 x 66.7 cm, private collection). These paintings were commissioned by Yi Chunje (李春躋, 1692-1761), who wanted Jeong to paint his house. The similarity leads to a presumption that the house might have belonged to Yi, but again, it could have been the artist’s own because it also resembles his house depicted in “The House in the Valley of Mt. Inwang” (仁谷幽居, Ingok yugeo, ink and light color on paper, 27.5 x 27.3 cm, Kansong Art Museum) included in Album of Paintings of Scenic Spots in Seoul and Its Suburbs (京郊名勝帖, Gyeonggyo myeongseungcheop) painted in 1740-41. Regardless of the ownership of the house, the scenery of Mt. Inwang must have been very familiar to Jeong Seon because he lived in its vicinity in the Ogin-dong neighborhood.33 Perhaps, the familiarity explains why among all Jeong’s true-view landscape paintings this one of Mt. Inwang bears the closest resemblance to the actual scenery. Nevertheless, the actual view captured in the painting is much wider than what the human eye can take in from any spot as close to the mountain as the house depicted. To frame such a wide view on the canvas, the horizontal range of the mountain has been considerably contracted, especially to the left of the bald peak. In reality, to capture the entire range as in the painting, the horizontal angle of view needs to be almost 150° from the house (Figure 7). From that point, the mountain cannot be framed with a 20mm wide-angle lens, while it can be from a spot 200-300m farther away using a 35mm lens. In the latter case, however, the peaks in the middle become too small, and almost half of the scenery gets hidden by the hills of Cheongpung Valley. But in the painting this part is not hidden because of the bird’s-eye view. If the point of view is moved to the left toward Ongnyu Stream, the mountain ridge can be fully captured with a panorama camera, framing at last the full scope of the painting without contracting the middle. To capture a similar scene to the painting, that is, the main peaks looming large in the middle and the right part of the mountain not hidden by Cheongpung Valley, the viewer has to be standing at least 500-600m farther away, maybe halfway up Mt. Baegak on the opposite side of Mt. Inwang, and use a 50mm standard lens or a 85mm telephoto lens (Figure 8). ( Figure 7 ) Top: Angle of view of “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” Bottom: Photo of Mt. Inwang taken by the author from Songseogwon in 2007 ( Figure 8 ) Top: Detail of main peak and Cheongpung Valley in “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” Bottom: Photo of main peak and Cheongpung Valley at Mt. Inwang taken by the author in 1995 As a depiction of Seoul within the city walls as seen from the foot of Mt. Inwang, “View from Samseung Pavilion” (1741) shares the same theme with two paintings of the same period: “Seoul Wrapped in Mist under the Moon” (長安烟月, Jangannyeonwol) and “Seoul Wrapped in Mist after Rain” (長安烟雨, Jangannyeonu, ink on paper, 30.1 x 39.9 cm, Kansong Art Museum)—both included in Album of Paintings of Scenic Spots in Seoul and Its Suburbs. In these paintings as well, a wide range of field has been skillfully contracted with Mt. Namsan flanked by distant views of Namhansan Fortress and Mt. Gwanak. This is a range wider than the 150° horizontal angle from Mt. Inwang, a range which it would only be possible to capture with a panoramic lens. The same is true for “Lake Mi” (渼湖, Miho) and “Gwang Ferry” (廣津, Gwangjin, color on silk, 20.2 x 31.5 cm, Kansong Art Museum). The views along the Han River depicted in these paintings could only be captured from the opposite side of the river. Assuming that the artist was standing on the bank or a boat on the water, the horizontal angle of view is around 100-120° in both paintings. In some other cases, such a wide angle of view is even combined with a bird’s-eye view. For example, in “Yanghwa Ferry” (楊花津, Yanghwajin, ink and light color on silk, 33.3 x 24.7 cm, private collection), part of the 1740s Album of Paintings of Eight Scenic Spots on Yangcheon (陽川八景帖, Yangcheon palgyeong cheop) two distinctly contradicting viewpoints have been combined. In reality, the silhouette of Namsan can only look so high when viewed from a farther spot lower down, while the buildings behind Jamdu Peak (蠶頭峰) are only visible in such a way when viewed from extremely high up in the sky. Jeong Seon also painted a panoramic view of the riverside, as in “Sailing Out at Uhwa” (羽化登船, Uhwadeungseon, ink and light color on silk, 33.5 x 94.2 cm) and “Anchoring at Ungyeon” (熊淵繫纜, Ung yeon gyeram, ink and light color on silk, 33.1 x 93.8 cm, private collection), included in Album of Paintings of the Riverside in Imsul Year (壬戌連江帖, Imsul yeon-gang cheop) from 1742. With both banks of the river at the top and bottom of the canvas, this scene must have been framed from a nearby hilltop to include a wide field of view. The album was produced in commemoration of the boating trip taken by Hong Gyeongbo (洪景輔, 1692-1744), governor of Gyeonggi-do, and Sin Yuhan (申維翰, 1681-1752), governor of Yeoncheon. They took the boat ride from Wuhwajeong, the pavilion in Sangnyeong (朔寧) to Wungyeon (熊淵) in Yeoncheon, emulating Su Dongpo’s (蘇東坡, 1036-1101, a famous poet of the Chinese Song Dynasty) boat trip to The Red Cliff (赤壁賦, Chibifu), a battle site. Jeong Seon, then magistrate of Yangcheon, was also invited and painted the journey. Hence the grand-scale landscape paintings also possess a documentary quality. Sometimes, Jeong Seon tried even more extreme contraction of the horizontal range of field to fit a vertically long scroll, as in the 1739 work “Cheongpung Valley” (清風溪, ink and light color on paper, 153.6 x 59 cm, Kansong Art Museum)34 and “Bagyeon Falls,” the 1750s painting discussed above. In both paintings the subject is depicted from a high-distant perspective with repeated ink retouches. “Cheongpung Valley” is notable for its bold contraction of the background scenery, giving a closer view of the valley entrance and also a distant, partial view of Mt. Inwang. “Bagyeon Falls” is a view of a waterfall from below, probably from the pine woods at the bottom left of the canvas. The vertical field of view is almost 90°, an angle that could be framed by a 25mm wide-angle lens, with the camera body rotated. The distance between the rock cliffs on either side has been shortened, so that the falls look twice as long as they do in real life. By doing so, the painter succeeded in capturing not only the grand view of the falls but also its roaring sound. A vertically wide angle of view was also used when depicting a narrow valley with a wide background view, as in “Manpok Valley” (萬瀑洞, 1740s, ink and light color on silk, 33 x 22 cm, Seoul National University Museum). In reality, the composition of the painting cannot be obtained from any spot in the valley. The photograph of Geumgang Cliff (金剛臺) and Bodeok Cave (普德窟) that I took using a 28mm lens and standing at the flat rock in the valley captured only one fifth of the scene in the painting. In fact, the painting seamlessly combines a view of the valley from Cheonghak Cliff on the left, and a view of the distant Biro Peak from the valley. The vertical angle of view amounts to 120° if converted to the horizontal. The painter and his party standing on the flat rock look as if they were viewed from the pine wood below the cliff. “Geumgang Cliff” (金剛臺, Geumgangdae, 1750s, ink and light color on paper, 28.8 x 22 cm, Kansong Art Museum), painted a decade after “Manpok Valley,” captures only part of the same scenery. This time, the angle of view is much narrower and the description is very simple. The horizontal angle of view that includes the two cliffs and the two peaks is about 30°, which can be easily captured with an 85mm or 135mm telephoto lens from a distance. It seems that, after so many years, minor details of the landscape faded from the painter’s memory leaving only the central figures. This simplification, however, greatly enhances the artistry of the work (Figure 9). ( Figure 9 ) Comparison of Jeong Seon’s “Manpok Valley” and “Geumgangdae” Top: “Manpok Valley” (萬瀑洞), 1740s, ink and light color on silk, 33 (h)x 22 (w) cm, Seoul National University Museum Bottom: “Geumgang Cliff” (金剛臺), 1750s, ink and light color on paper, 28.8 (h) x 22 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum “Geumgang Cliff” resembles a modern watercolor, with the two rock cliffs (Cheonghak Cliff on the left and Geumgang Cliff in the middle) rising above the pine woods floating in the foggy mist, and the faintly bluish silhouette of the two peaks at a distance (Daehyangno Peak and Sohyangno Peak). The refreshing view after a misty rain almost gives the impression of sacredness. The transcendental view of two lonesome cliffs shows a new style that Jeong Seon developed in his very late years, an example of which is yet another depiction of “Jeongyang Temple” (正陽寺, Jeongyangsa, ink and light color on silk, 21.9 x 28.8 cm, Kansong Art Museum), depicting a temple nestled snugly in an earthy mountain exquisitely rendered with dot-texture strokes. 02 JEONG SEON’S FOLLOWERS: CHOE BUK, JEONG HWANG, KIM EUNGHWAN True-view landscape painting reached its full potential in the work of Jeong Seon, and was further enriched by his followers. Among them, Choe Buk, Jeong Hwang, Kim Eunghwan and Sin Hakgwon were more committed to imitating the great master’s works than expressing the landscape as close to reality as possible. In doing so, however, they developed their own originality, albeit to a limited extent. The fan painting of “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (扇面金剛全圖, Seonmyeon geumgangjeondo, 1760s-70s) by Choe Buk and “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (金剛全圖, Geumgangjeondo, 1779, Joseon Art Museum in Pyeongyang, North Korea) are straightforward imitations of Jeong’s masterpieces. However, “Pyohun Temple” (表訓寺, Pyohunsa, 1760s-70s, ink and light color on paper, 38.5 × 57.3 cm, private collection) reveals a slight change in style. Choe painted a partial, not a general, view of the Diamond Mountain from a much lower viewpoint. This angle of view results from painting on site, a practice in line with his emulation of Shim Sajeong’s style in the description of mountains and trees. Nevertheless, all three of Choe’s paintings of the Diamond Mountain fail to show the passionate personality of the artist, who, as legend has it, was so mesmerized by the splendor of the mountain that he wanted to throw himself off the top of Guryong Falls. While Choe Buk was not able to go beyond Jeong Seon’s style in painting a general view of the Diamond Mountain, he attempted changes by learning from Shim Sajeong and pursued a style of his own. Kim Hongdo and Yi Inmun (李寅文, 1745-1821; sobriquet, Gosongnyusugwan doin) also struck out to develop their own styles. Others who followed Jeong’s style of choosing impression over accuracy sometimes showed interest in accurate description of the actual landscape. They are Kim Yun-gyeom, Jeong Chungyeop, Kim Yuseong (金有聲, 1725-?; sobriquet, Seoam), and Kim Eunghwan (金應煥). Kim Eunghwan’s 1722 painting “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (ink on paper, 22.3 x 35.2cm, collection of Park Juhwan of Seoul), which he gave to his friend Kim Hongdo, is a complete copy of Jeong Seon's painting of the same name. However, when he and Kim Hongdo went to paint the same mountain in 1788 under King Jeongjo’s command, his approach was a little different. As a result, “Heolseong Pavilion,” “Chilbo Cliff (七寶臺, Chilbodae),” “Ongnyu Valley (玉流洞, Ongnyudong),” “Manmul Crags (萬物相, Manmulsang)” and “Haesan Pavilion (海山亭, Haesanjeong)”—the paintings said to have been produced during the time—bear a closer resemblance to the actual places. In the works of Choe Buk and Kim Eunghwan, the overall resemblance to reality is higher than 50 percent. However, Jeong Hwang, grandson of Jeong Seon, and Shin Hwakgwon, a literati painter, did not digress from Jeong Seon’s style, showing a level of accuracy around 30 percent. For this reason, their paintings are devoid of fresh perspective, new angle of view or creative originality. 03 YI INSANG , HEO PIL, YUN JEHONG I once organized an exhibition of paintings from the late Joseon period, contrasting the “energetic force” (氣韻) in Jeong Seon’s powerful expression as “vigor” (勢, se) and the “literary energy” (文氣) reflected in Yi Insang’s sensitive yet restrained lines and light coloring as “spirit” (氣, gi).35 The display of Jeong’s “Bagyeon Falls” and Yi’s “View of Mt. Jangbaek” (長白山圖, Jangbaeksando, ink on paper, 26.2 x 122.0 cm, private collection) enabled a stark contrast between “force” and “spirit.” In this light, Jeong boldly modified the real scenery in his paintings, focusing on the plastic forces of the landscape, while Yi Insang and other literati painters who espoused Yi’s ideas followed the tradition of the Chinese Southern School or, at least, displayed the same kind of sensibilities. Jeong by altering the scenery, produced intellectual paintings with views that were reinterpreted in his mind based on his memories. By contrast, Yi’s landscapes are the representation of his emotional vision, rendered with his heart. Though he was not a professional painter but a nobleman who eventually rose to the position of dongjijungchubusa (Junior Rank 2), Jeong had the dense but mature brushstroke of a highly trained artist, as can be seen in his vertical brushstrokes created with two brushes, horizontal Mi dots (米點), hemp-fiber strokes, moss dots, layered ink wash, and the dynamic rhythm flowing through T-shaped pine trees. Yi and other literati painters who followed the style of the Southern School used ink wash and light color, hemp fiber strokes, and the fabulous dry brushwork created by loosening the brush hairs, making a strong contrast to Jeong Seon's paintings. The brushwork of these literati painters, however, developed from their talent in calligraphy, is unrefined and rather clumsy, but this helps emphasize the outlines of the objects in an original way. A number of literati painters sympathized with Jeong’s style and turned to true-view landscape painting. Yi Insang was a leading figure among those who, instead of simulating the real view on the spot, reinterpreted the scenery.36 Heo Pil, Yi Yunyeong (李胤永, 1714-1759, sobriquet, Danneung), and Yun Jehong followed Yi Insang’s style. In their true-view landscape paintings that carry place names, the resemblance to the actual scenery is 20-40 percent, that is, less than 50 percent. Yi Insang and his followers reinterpreted the landscape from memory in the Southern School style, envisioning an ideal landscape of leisure and seclusion to which they could escape from the mundane world. Yi Insang’s “Guryong Falls” (九龍瀑, Guryongpok, ink and wash on paper, 118.2 x 58.5 cm, National Museum of Korea), painted with simple ink lines and light color, does not portray the characteristics of a waterfall. As explained at the lower left of the canvas, the painting was executed based on memory 15 years after he had traveled to the Diamond Mountain in 1737 at the age of 28. Further, Yi explained: “I only painted the bones of the object with a stubby brush and ink wash, leaving out the flesh and ignoring color shades, not out of carelessness but because I painted from the heart.”37 Indeed, the work, which exudes the sensitivity of a scholar, is a fine example of a painting from memory preserved in the artist’s mind. Yi placed emphasis on the texture of the rocks rather than capturing the sound of the waterfall. Though it seems meaningless to discuss the angle of view or viewpoint of this painting, the waterfall is viewed from below on a nearby hill in a vertical composition. “Eunseon Cliff” (隱仙臺, Eunseondae, light color on paper, 34 x 55 cm, Kansong Art Museum), painted between 1740 and 1750, is clearly viewed from below, making a sharp contrast with Jeong Seon's “Buljeong Cliff” (佛頂臺, Buljeongdae, ink on paper, 26.5 x 21.8cm, private collection), which combines a low angle of view, the view of Eunseon Cliff seen from Buljeong Cliff, and a bird’s eye view (Figure 10). On the other hand, Yi’s “Eunseon Cliff” showing shrubs and rocks that bear little resemblance to the actual forms in the distant view, in harmony with the waterfall, is reminiscent of the landscape paintings of the Southern School. Although the painting lacks the characteristics of a true-view landscape, the use of clear ink wash and light color gives freshness to the painting, as in the case of “Ongnyu Valley,” which is the same width. “View of Mt. Jangbaek” (長白山圖, ink on paper, 26.2 x 122.0cm, private collection) is a masterpiece of the heart with intense outlines that contrast with empty space. The scene in the painting resembles the crater lake on top of Mt. Baekdu (白頭山), but Mt. Jangbaek probably refers to a mountain in Hamgyeong-do. ( Figure 10 ) Comparison of the viewpoints and angles of view in landscapes by Yi Insang and Jeong Seon Top: Eunseon Cliff” (隱仙臺), Yi Insang, 1740s-50s, light color on paper, 34 (h) x 55 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Right: “Buljeong Cliff” (佛頂臺), Jeong Seon, 1740s, ink on paper, 33.6 (h) x 25.7 (w) cm, private collection Yi Yunyeong, who developed his own style based on the ink wash and dry brushwork of his close friend Yi Insang , also transformed the real landscape in the manner of the Southern School, as seen in the fan painting of “Oksun Peak” (扇面玉筍峯, light color on paper, 57.5 x 27.3cm, Korea University Museum) dated to the 1750s. A rock pillar, removed from the peak and positioned in the middle of the river, does not bear any similarity to the actual scenery and is thus an eyesore. Yun Jehong, another literati painter who reinterpreted Yi Insang’s ink wash painting in his own style, left behind a considerable number of true-view landscapes. “Oksun Peak” (玉筍峯, Oksunbong, 1833, ink on paper, 67 x 45.5 cm, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art), part of a eight-panel folding screen titled “Eight Landscape Finger Paintings” (指頭山水圖 八幅屛, Jidusansudo palpokbyeong) is considered to be his major work—a painting done with the fingernails with an original expression of shading. Comparison of the scene in the painting and real life reveals there is no waterfall on the actual site, unlike in the painting where a high waterfall is positioned on the left in the distant background. Compared to the actual scenery, the position of the two rocks, large and small, has been reversed. The composition is undeniably Southern School style with a pavilion set against a large rock, a bridge leading to the pavilion, and figures in the pavilion and on the bridge. The reason for such transformation of the real scenery is explained by the painter as follows: “Whenever I went to Oksun Peak, I felt the lack of a pavilion at the bottom of the cliff. I recently obtained and copied an album of Yi Insang’s paintings. Surely this imitation will make up for its absence.”38 Maintaining only the image of the rock in his memory, the rest of the landscape was recreated in the painting according to Yun’s ideal of a retreat in nature, an example of transformation of the actual landscape to suit the taste of the literati painter. With Heo Pil, the actual scenery underwent major transformation, as demonstrated in “View of Myogilsang” (妙吉祥圖, Myogilsangdo, 1759, ink and wash on paper, 27.6cm, National Museum of Korea). Heo transformed the rock-carved seated Buddha into a standing monk while turning the Goryeo stone lantern into a five-storey stone pagoda with a crane placed on top (Figure 11). By contrast, the fan painting of “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (扇面金剛全圖, Seonmyeon Geumgangjeondo, ink and wash on paper, 21.8 x 58.8 cm, Korea University Museum) gives a closer approximation of the real view than Yun’s other works, as it was produced between 1740 and 1750, after Jeong Seon’s paintings capturing the General View of Mt. Geumgang. ( Figure 11 ) Heo Pil’s unrealistic true-view landscape and comparison with the real scenery Top: “View of Myogilsang” (妙吉祥圖), Heo Pil, 1759, ink and wash on paper, 27.6 cm, National Museum of Korea Bottom: Photo of Myogilsang taken by the author in 1998 IV ARTISTS WHO PAINTED FROM ACTUAL SCENERY As an increasing number of painters sketched on site after close inspection, true-view landscape painting further developed in the late 18th century. Literati painters such as Shim Sajeong, Kang Sehwang, and Jeong Suyeong (鄭遂榮, 1743-1831; sobriquet, Jiujae) belong to the school of true-view landscape painting. Compared to their mentor, Jeong Seon’s disciples such as Kim Yun-gyeom, Jeong Chungyeop, Kang Huieon (姜熙彦, 1738-1784; sobriquet, Damjol), Jang Siheung (張始興, ca. 18th c.; sobriquet, Banghoja), Kim Yuseong, and Yi Inmun took an interest in sketching from actual sites. In particular, Kim Hongdo was a master who escalated the pictorial quality of landscape painting from actual sites to near perfection. Painters such as Eom Chiuk (嚴致郁, ca. 18-19th c.; sobriquet, Gwanho), Yi Jaegwan (李在寬, 1783-1837; sobriquet, Sodang), Yi Yusin (李維新, ca. 18-19th c.; sobriquet, Seokdang), Jo Jeonggyu (趙廷奎, 1791-?; sobriquet, Imjeon), and Kim Hajong (金夏鍾, 1793-?; sobriquet, Yudang) espoused painting from nature after Kim Hongdo. 01 SHIM SAJEONG, KANG SEHWANG, JEONG SUYEONG Shim Sajeong, Kang Sehwang, and Jeong Suyeong are literati artists who painted faithfully from actual scenery in contrast with Yi Insang and his followers. Shim moved beyond true-view landscapes that bear traces of Jeong Seon’s influence to faithful reproduction of actual scenic spots with a lower viewpoint that have an accuracy level of around 80 percent. His brushwork techniques are of the standard of a professional painter. On the other hand, the resemblance to nature in the paintings of Kang Sehwang and Jeong Suyeong is only between 40 and 70 percent, depending on their drawing techniques. Shim, a literati painter of the late Joseon period, completely Koreanized the landscape painting of the Chinese Southern School, which had a huge influence on latter-day artists.39 It is well-known that the landscape painting style of Kim Hongdo and Yi Inmun was derived from Shim’s brush and ink techniques. Shim successfully Koreanized the literati paintings of the Southern Chinese School, probably because he took up true-view landscape painting under the guidance of Jeong Seon. Jeong’s influence is clearly evident in Shim’s “Manpok Valley” (萬瀑洞, Manpokdong, light color on paper, 32 x 22 cm, Kansong Art Museum) that had been in the possession of Kim Gwangguk (金光國, 1727-1797; sobriquet, Seongnong), a late Joseon medical officer reputed for his art collection. The painting features the layered-wash (積墨, lit. accumulated-ink) technique with modified axe-cut texture strokes and a composition similar to that of Jeong Seon's “Bodeok Cave” (普德窟, Bodeokgul, 1711, light color on paper, 36.1 x 26.1 cm, National Museum of Korea). “Myeonggyeong Cliff” (明鏡臺, Myeonggyeongdae, light color on paper, 27.7 x 18.8 cm, Kansong Art Museum), though painted in the same period as “Manpok Valley,” is relatively faithful to the actual scenery. The painting depicts Myeonggyeong Cliff seen from below and nearby Okgyeong Pond (玉鏡潭), the Hwangcheon River (黃泉江), and remnants of a fortress related to the legend of the Crown Prince Maui (麻衣太子) of the Silla Kingdom. Across the valley, the peaks of Jijang Peak (地藏峰) and Siwang Peak (十王峰) can be seen, if indistinctively. The scene depicted in the painting is close to the actual scenery when viewed standing on the flat rock under Okgyeong Lake, and can be captured with a 35mm wide-angle camera lens. The dry brushwork and moss dots are used in the manner of the Southern Chinese School. Shim Sajeong’s “Myeonggyeong Cliff” is in sharp contrast with Jeong Seon’s “Baekcheon Valley” (百川洞, Baekcheondong, ca. 1730-1740, light color on paper, 56 x 42.8cm, Kansong Art Museum) in terms of viewpoint although the two paintings share the same subject matter. “Baekcheon Valley,” part of an eight-panel folding screen of the “Eight Scenic Spots in Mt. Geumgang” (金剛八景圖帖, Geumgang palgyeong docheop), captures a bird’s eye view of the scenery with Myeonggyeong Cliff as the central focus, whereas Shim’s “Myeonggyeong Cliff” is a worm’s eye view seen from below, painted on-site. Seoknong hwawon (石農畵苑), from the collection of Kim Gwangguk, includes Shim’s “Pine Tree and Pavilion at Gyesan” (溪山松亭, Gyesansongjeong, light color on paper, 29.7 x 22.7 cm, Kansong Art Museum) (Figure 12), which is similar in composition to “Myeonggyeong Cliff” by the same painter. A pine tree and pavilion rendered with simple brushwork are positioned above a hill in the foreground, underneath a rock reminiscent of Myeonggyeong Cliff. The prominence of the cliff is lowered by placing a towering mountain in the left corner, the actual scenery modified to create a landscape with pine tree and pavilion, which are typical elements of Southern School landscapes. The light color applied over the pimajun (hemp-fibre strokes) and moss dots (苔點, taejeom) are also characteristic of the Southern School. “Myeonggyeong Cliff” is an example of realistic depiction of the actual scenery, using the techniques of the Southern School, while “Pine Tree and Pavilion at Gyesan” is an example of transformation of the scenery into a landscape idealized by the same school. In the process of producing such works, Shim Koreanized the Southern School style, and his style and techniques were passed on whole to Kim Hongdo and Yi Inmun. ( Figure 12 ) Shim Sajeong’s “Myeonggyeong Cliff” and comparison to actual scenery Left: “Pine Tree and Pavilion at Gyesan” (溪山松亭), Shim Sajeong, 1740s-50s, light color on paper, 29.7 (h) x 22.7 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Center: “Myeonggyeong Cliff” (明鏡臺), Shim Sajeong, 1740s-50s, light color on paper, 27.7 (h) x 18.8 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum Right: Photo of the actual scenery from the 1990s As Kang Sehwang and Jeong Suyeong were not up to Shim’s standard in their skills for life-like depiction, the level of accuracy of Kang’s true-view landscapes is 60-70 percent while that of Jeong’s is only 40-60 percent. A literati painter and art critic of the Joseon period, Kang Sehwang exerted huge influence on the art circle of his time.40 He left behind albums of landscape paintings as a result of traveling around scenic spots in Songdo (currently Kaesong), the Diamond Mountain, and Buan. In particular, Travel Painting Album of Songdo (松都紀行帖, Songdo gihaengcheop, ca. 1757) is representative of Kang’s true-view landscape style.41 In particular, “Bagyeon Falls” (朴淵, Bagyeon, 32.8 x 53.4 cm, National Museum of Korea) illustrates a scene quite close to that captured by a 35mm wide-angle lens. The placement of Bagyeon at the head of the waterfall, Gomo Pond (姑母潭) at the bottom, and Beomsa Pavilion (泛槎亭) at the left of the pond is faithful to the actual scenery. The waterfall shown at the left of the canvas, which grows narrower towards the top, is rendered in perspective. Even the folds in the nearby rock face are realistically depicted. With its rich combination of ink wash and light color, this painting gives a stronger impression of the actual landscape than Jeong’s “Bagyeon Falls.” But Kang’s painting lacks the energy of Jeong’s, which seems to capture the roaring sound of the waterfall (Figure 13). ( Figure 13 ) Comparison of paintings of Bagyeon Falls by Jeong Seon and Kang Sehwang Left: “Bagyeon Falls” (朴淵瀑圖), Jeong Seon, 1750s, ink on paper, 119.5 (h) x 52 (w) cm, private collection Top right: “Bagyeon” (朴淵), Kang Sehwang, from Travel Painting Album of Songdo, 1757s, light color on paper, 32.8 (h) x 53.4 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea Bottom right: Photo of Bagyeon Falls, 1990s “General View of Songdo” (松都全景, Songdojeon-gyeong) and “Daeheung Temple” (大興寺) from the same album use western perspective techniques, but in a very clumsy manner (Figure 14). In particular, “Daeheung Temple,” which seemingly adopted a one-point perspective, is severely distorted in composition. The building at the left is painted from below while the monks’ dormitory at the right is shown in a bird’s eye view. The distorted perspective can perhaps be understood in light of what Yi Ik (李瀷, 1681-1763; sobriquet, Seongho) wrote in Hwansangyodol (畵像坳突), his adaptation of the preface to the Chinese translation of Euclid’s Elements by Matteo Ricci: “I understand how to produce three-dimensional effects, but not how to apply linear perspective.”42 ( Figure 14 ) Top: “General View of Songdo” (松都全景), Kang Sehwang, Travel Painting Album of Songdo, 1757s, light color on paper, 32.8 (h) x 53.4 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea Bottom: “Daeheung Temple” (大興寺), Kang Sehwang, Travel Painting Album of Songdo, 1757s, light color on paper, 32.8 (h) x 53.4 (w) cm, National Museum of Korea Jeong Suyeong, grandson of Jeong Sanggi (鄭尚驥, 1678-1752), a Silhak philosopher and geographer of the late Joseon period, was a literati painter.43 He also participated in map making activities in the tradition of his family, and this provided him with opportunities of painting scenes from real life. Hence his landscapes have an added element of interest. His major true-view landscapes come from albums of paintings and essays on scenic spots produced on his travels such as Hangang imgang myeongseungdogwon (漢江 臨江 名勝圖卷, ca. 1796-97) and Haesancheop (海山帖, 1799). Jeong Suyeong’s true-view landscapes were painted on the spot using free brushstrokes in sometimes unrestrained compositions. Their resemblance to the actual scenery is only 40-60 percent but exhibit an original, inimitable style. “General View of Mt. Geumgang” (金剛全景, Geumgangjeon-gyeong, 33.8 x 61.6 cm, National Museum of Korea) from Haesancheop depicts the mountain as an inverted triangle under the horizon. This painting has a horizontal angle of view of 130° or more, which is comparable to that of Jeong Seon’s paintings. The composition in Jeong Suyeong’s painting, however, is unique, not the usual circle or fan-shape composition. “Manpok Valley,” also from Haesancheop, illustrates the actual landscape surrounding the Diamond Mountain viewed from the painter’s position, the composition being the same as the scene I captured with a 28mm wide-angle lens. The sense of reality, however, is diminished as the forms are rather casually depicted. Likewise, the waterfall in “Guryong Falls” (九龍瀑, Guryongpok, ca. 1800, light color on paper, 28 x 34.8 cm, Seoul Museum of History) is not realistic, although the painting achieves pictorial qualities due to its simplified brush and ink rendering. 02 JEONG SEON’S FOLLOWERS: JEONG CHUNGYEOP, KIM YUN-GYEOM, KANG HUIEON Among those belonging to the Jeong Seon School, Jeong Chungyeop, Kim Yun-gyeom, and Kang Huieon, Jang Siheung, Kim Yuseong, and Yi Inmun clearly exhibit the features of on-site landscape painting in their work, achieving a level of resemblance to actual scenery of about 70 percent. Kim Yun-gyeom aside, they were all from the jungin class (skilled professionals of the Joseon period) or court painters, and compared to Choe Buk, Jeong Hwang, and Shin Hakgwon (申學權, 1785-1866; sobriquet, Doam) discussed earlier, their work shows some degree of individuality. Jeong Chungyeop, who was a medical officer, painted true-view landscapes in the Jeong Seon style but few of his paintings survive to this day. In 1998, I was delighted to spot his name engraved on a rock as soon as I entered Manpok Valley.44 “View of Twelve Thousand Peaks from Heolseong Pavilion” (歇惺樓望萬二千峰圖, Heolseongnumang manicheonbongdo, ca. 1750s, light color on paper, 23.5 x 30.3 cm, private collection) shows a dazzling spring scene of inner Diamond Mountain covered with pink azaleas. At the lower left of the canvas is Heolseong Pavilion and to its right Cheonil Cliff. Behind them from a high-distance perspective are Geumgang Cliff, the twin peaks of Hyangno Peak, Junghyang Crags and Biro Peak, and at the right, the ridge of Hyeolmang Peak (穴望峰) stretches out in the same direction. At the first glance, the bird’s eye view is similar to that used in Jeong Seon’s “View of Inner Mt. Geumgang,” but the angle of view from Heolseong Pavilion to Biro Peak and Hyeolmang Peak is a mere 60°-70°. A photograph of Heolseong Pavilion from the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), showing exactly the same composition as the painting, enables accurate comparison between the two works (Figure 15). Comparing it with the horizontal angle used in the painting by Jeong Chungyeop, the photograph seems to have been taken with a 35mm wide-angle lens. This means the view in the painting is close to the one captured by a modern-day camera, thanks to on-site sketching. ( Figure 15 ) Top: “View of Twelve Thousand Peaks from Heolseong Pavilion” (歇惺樓望萬二千峰圖), Jeong Chungyeop, 1750s, light color on silk, 23.5 (h) x 30.3 (w) cm, private collection Bottom: 1930s photo of Heolseong Pavilion and Inner Mt. Geumgang Kim Yun-gyeom had yet to go beyond the influence of Jeong Seon when he was painting the Diamond Mountain and the resemblance of his works to the actual scenery barely reaches 50 percent. This changed in later works, especially those depicting the Yeongnam region, which reach an accuracy level of about 80 percent. His “Wonhwadong River” (元化洞天, Wonhwadongcheon) and “Myeonggyeong Cliff” from Album with Views of Bongnae (蓬萊圖卷, Bongnaedogwon, 1768) display light brushstrokes and coloring, giving the impression of being simplified versions of Jeong Seon's paintings of the same scenes.45 Kim had an excellent command of ink wash and light colors. Like Jeong, he did not attempt to record the scene as accurately as possible, but, instead of using a bird’s-eye view, lowered the viewpoint in the manner of Shim Sajeong and Yi Insang to achieve greater individuality in his work. In contrast with the paintings of the Diamond Mountain, Travel Album of the Yeongnam Region (嶺南紀行畵帖, Yeongnamgihaeng hwacheop, ca. 1772), executed four or five years later during a trip through the Yeongnam region when serving as an official post in Jinju, shows the true quality of landscapes painted from real scenery. The scene depicted in “Taejong Cliff” (太宗臺, Taejongdae, light color on paper, 54.0 x 35.5 cm, Dong-A University Museum) can be captured with a 28mm wide-angle lens from the spot where Kim might have painted the view (Figure 16). The angle of view nears that of western landscape paintings, while the colors and ink lines are lighter and thinner than in his Diamond Mountain paintings. ( Figure 16 ) Top: “Taejong Cliff” (太宗臺), Kim Yun-gyeom, ca. 1772, light color on paper, 54.0 (h) x 35.5 (w) cm, Dong-A University Museum Bottom: Photo of Taejong Cliff taken by the author in 2007 “Mt. Inwang” (仁王山, Inwangsan, light color on paper, 24.6 x 42.6 cm, private collection) by Kang Huieon is noteworthy as it coincides with changes in Kim Yun-gyeom’s style. Kang, a painter from the jungin class, studied under Jeong Seon, but created an original style through his association with other artists such as Kang Sehwang and Kim Hongdo.46 “Mt. Inwang” captures the view from halfway up the mountain, looking down from a spot closer to the mountain ridge in the direction of Changeui Gate (彰義門) than Jeong Seon’s painting of the same mountain (Figure 17). When Sukjeong Gate (肅靖門) and Mt. Baegak trails were opened to the public, I set out to find the viewpoint used by Kang Huieon only to find that the area was still closed at the time. ( Figure 17 ) Top: “Mt. Inwang” (仁王山), Kang Huieon, 1770s-80s, light color on paper, 24.6 (h) x 42.6 (w) cm, private collection Bottom: Photo of Mt. Inwang taken by the author in 2007 From about 50 meters above Dohwadong River (桃花洞天), from where the painting was sketched, a similar scene of Mt. Inwang can be captured with a 35mm wide-angle lens. As I photographed the scene along the line of the castle walls, Kang’s unique point of view was captured through the viewfinder. From a distance of 500 to 600 meters across the foot of the mountain, a scene of appropriate expanse for human sight comes into view, which I believe is the reason for the painting’s modern elegance. The layers of the mountain ridges, which can be seen from above with a side glance, are impressively rendered with rhythmical Mi-style horizontal dots. The white mist below and blue sky above has the freshness of a watercolor painting. “Chongseok Pavilion (叢石亭, Chongseokjeong, light color on paper, 26 x 21.5 cm, private collection),” another of Kang’s works, from 1770-1780 fully employs western perspective. The bird’s eye view of the road facing the northern palace is narrowed down to one point. The size of the willow trees and human figures diminishes as the distance increases, and with variation of light and shade the mists are also given a sense of perspective. Though executed with better skill than “Daeheung Temple” (1757) by Kang Sehwang, the technique still falls far short of actual linear perspective. Kang Huieon’s true-view landscapes from the 1770s to the 1780s, which use perspective, coincide with Kim Yungyeom’s shift in the 1770s from paintings that bear little similarity to reality to faithful depictions of real scenery. They are significant not only as evidence of Kang’s departure from the Jeong Seon style to forge his own original style, but also as a sign that he had clearly embraced western techniques by that time.47 The 1770s to 1780s period saw the throne of King Yeongjo transferred to King Jeongjo in 1776, an event, which may be considered a turning point in the artistic circles of the time. In the 1780s when there was a noticeable trend for realistic landscapes, the philosopher Jeong Yakyong (丁若鏞, 1762-1836; sobriquet, Dasan) attempted to view the landscape through the camera obscura. Based on this experience, he wrote “Chilsilgwanhwaseol” (漆室觀畵說), an essay on dark-room viewing of paintings.48 Seeing the image projected upside-down in the camera obscura must have made Jeong and painters of the time realize that it was possible to create an exact image of an object.49 Yi Gyusang (李奎象, 1727-1799; sobriquet, Ilmong) made the following remarks: “Court painters in recent years have begun to adopt vanishing-point perspective (四面尺量法) from western painting, with Kim Hongdo applying the technique with the most success.”50 Thus, it can be inferred that Kim’s realistic true-view paintings are not unrelated to the influence of western techniques. Yi Inmun’s “View of Mt. Geumgang from Danbal Ridge” (斷髪嶺望金剛, Danballyeongmang Geumgang, ca. 1800s, light color on canvas, 23 x 45 cm, private collection) has the same composition as Jeong Seon’s painting of the same scene, but the technique is borrowed from Shim Sajeong. The panoramic view of the Diamond Mountain floating above the clouds, seen in the distance from Danbal Ridge Pass, is the highlight of the painting. Rather than closely depicting the individuality of each peak, the painting focuses on capturing the far away atmosphere in clear light colors, evoking a fresh sensation. The essence of Yi’s true-view landscape painting is more clearly evident in “Chongseok Pavilion” (叢石亭, Chongseokjeong, 21.2 x 33.9 cm, Kansong Art Museum). The artistry of this painting is as excellent as those of the same subject by his friend Kim Hongdo and even by Jeong Seon. The painting vividly portrays the waves rolling in from the far horizon to Chongseok Pavilion. Yi, born in the same year as Kim Hongdo and overshadowed by his friend, has not been given due recognition. However, given the aesthetic value of his true-view landscapes, there is no reason Yi should not be evaluated as highly as Kim. 03 KIM HONGDO AND HIS FOLLOWERS Kim Hongdo is the representative painter in Korean art history. Although mostly known as a genre artist who depicted the daily life of ordinary people, Kim’s real artistry is revealed in his true-view landscape paintings, developed under the influence of Jeong Seon. Kim was a pupil of Kang Sehwang in his youth and is known to have been a close friend of Kang Huieon.51 It is assumed that Kim was exposed to western painting techniques through both teacher and friend. Kim Hongdo, who built on the artistic achievements of Jeong Seon and other literati painters such as Kang Sehwang, Shim Sajeong, and Yi Insang, is acknowledged as a towering figure in Korean art history for his outstanding talent for depiction. While Jeong Seon laid the foundation for true-view landscape painting, it was Kim who created and completed the canon of Korean landscape paintings in the 18th century. His sophisticated use of brush and ink, coupled with perfect spatial composition, enabled him to approach close to real “true-view” landscape painting. Kim Hongdo is known to have produced Album of Mt. Geumgang in Four Districts (金剛四郡帖, Geumgangsaguncheop) in 1788 when he accompanied Kim Eunghwan on a painting tour of the Yeongdong region at the command of King Jeongjo. Several paintings are attributed to Kim from that trip, but I have yet to come across the one that appeals to me. Afterwards, Kim captured the view of the Diamond Mountain on folding screens or albums. His major true-view landscape paintings include Screen of Eight Landscapes of Mt. Geumgang (金剛八景圖屛, Geumgang palgyeong dobyeong, 1790s), “Chongseok Pavilion” (叢石亭) from Album of the Eulmyo Year (乙卯年畵帖, Eulmyonyeon docheop, 1795), and “Oksun Peak” (玉筍峯) from Album of the Byeongjin Year (丙辰年畵帖, Byeongjinnyeon docheop, 1796). Objects in paintings such as “Manpok Valley” (萬瀑洞, Manpokdong, 1790s, light color on paper, 133.8 x 54.4 cm, private collection) and “Myeonggyeong Cliff” (明鏡臺) or “Guryong Lake” (九龍淵, Guryongyeon, ink and wash on paper, 133.8 x 54.4 cm, private collection) from Screen of Eight Landscapes of Mt. Geumgang are exaggerated because the scenes are captured in long, narrow panels. The rocks rendered with the layered-wash technique exhibit traces of the Jeong Seon style, while the brushwork in the shrubs and valleys and the viewpoint of the scenes are derived from Shim Sajeong. But while Shim Sajeong’s painting of Myeonggyeong Cliff does not exactly match the real view captured in a photograph, Kim Hongdo’s scene can be fully captured through the viewfinder of a camera with a 35mm wide-angle lens. Kim Hongdo’s drawing skills are emphasized in wider paintings rather than tall, narrow works. “Chongseok Pavilion” (叢石亭, Chongseokjeong, light color on paper, 27.2 x 23 cm, private collection) from Album of the Eulmyo Year and “Oksun Peak” (玉筍峯, Oksunbong, light color on paper, 26.7 x 31.6 cm, Treasure No. 782, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art) from Album of the Byeongjin Year are among Kim’s greatest works. The scenes depicted in the paintings can be captured exactly with a 35mm or standard 50mm wide-angle lens. Moreover, the expression of the rocks, pine forests, and waves, using fine ink lines varying with light and shade and gentle coloring, delivers a strong sense of realism. When I visited Oksun Peak by boat, half the rock was submerged by Daecheong Dam. Kim Hongdo must have painted the scene from the boat that is positioned at the lower right of the painting. The position of the boat is in contrast with that in Jeong Seon’s “Turtle Pool” (龜潭, “Gudam,” 1730, light color on paper, 20 x 26.5 cm, Korea University Museum), where it is placed in the center of the painting, beneath the cliff, which bears little similarity to the actual rock. This demonstrates the disparities between the two painters. Unlike Jeong, who normally used vertical and horizontal compositions, Kim preferred diagonal compositions. As seen from the boat, or following the painter’s eyes, the view depicted in “Oksun Peak” has a horizontal field of view of about 60° and can be captured entirely with a 35mm wide-angle lens (Figure 18). Indeed, the 60° field of view is the closest to human vision. As this shows, Kim was able to capture an approximation of what landscape paintings today or photographs can record, demonstrating the modernity of his work. He achieved this feat with keen eyesight and great skill. ( Figure 18 ) Left: Photo of Oksun Peak taken by the author in 2007 Right: “Oksun Peak” (玉筍峯), Kim Hongdo, from Album of the Byeongjin Year, 1796, light color on paper, 26.7 (h) x 31.6 (w) cm, Treasure No. 782, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art The 60° field of view can be found in “Guryong Lake” (九龍淵, Guryongyeon, light color on paper, 30.4 x 43.7 cm, private collection) from Screen of Eight Landscapes of Mt. Geumgang or in his later work “Guryong Falls” (九龍瀑, Guryongpok, light color on paper, 29 x 42 cm, Joseon Art Museum, Pyeongyang). The horizontal angle from the hill nearby to Guryong Falls is around 60°. Kim’s two paintings of Guryong Falls make a good comparison with Jeong Seon’s “Guryong Falls” (九龍瀑, Guryongpok, around 1730-1740, light color on paper, 29.5 x 23.5 cm, Monastery of St. Ottilien, Germany). Jeong’s painting omits Gujeong Peak (九井峯), and has a solid vertical-horizontal composition. By contrast, Kim’s paintings of the same scene contain the peak rising over the ridge as well as the ridge itself, giving a detailed description of the real view, achieved with the help of on-site sketching. While Jeong emphasized the dropping waterfall, Kim seemed to focus on the expression of the rock strata that overpower the scene on either side of the falling water. “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” (疎林明月圖, Sorimmyeongwoldo, light color on paper, 26.7 x 31.6 cm, Treasure No. 782, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art) from Album of the Byeongjin Year (丙辰年畵帖, Byeongjinnyeon hwacheop) adds a new dimension to Kim Hongdo’s true-view landscape paintings. It illustrates an early spring scene of trees by the stream that have started to turn green with the full moon hanging over them. This landscape manifests the sense of reality with which Kim depicted the everyday life around him as a genre painter (Figure 19). ( Figure 19 ) “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” (疎林明月圖), Kim Hongdo, from Album of the Byeongjin Year, 1796, light color on paper, 26.7 (h) x 31.6 (w) cm, Treasure No. 782, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art Jeong Seon’s works and other true-view landscape paintings discussed up to now are mostly of scenic spots or historic places because artists generally favored sublime or beautiful scenery close to the Neo-Confucian ideal sought after by the literati of the Joseon period. Unlike other landscape painters, however, Kim depicted everyday scenes often encountered in the neighborhood. Therefore, I would like to see the painting as a step forward from true-view landscape painting developed under the Neo-Confucian ideology toward modern landscape painting. In “Oksun Peak” from the same album, the boat carrying Kim Hongdo is positioned beside the river, requiring a third viewpoint. “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” is different not only in its everyday subject matter but also for its different viewpoint. While the artist is inside the painting in other true-view landscapes of the latter half of the Joseon period, the scene in “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” is captured from outside the painting (Figure 19). Hence, it departs from the notion of a landscape painting conceived by the people of the time who idealized scenery in the framework of Neo-Confucian theory. In other words, Kim saw the landscape as it was, not the ideal. In this respect, it is similar to western landscape paintings that capture only the scenery viewed by the painter, and represents a shift in technique from traditional landscapes to modern western landscape painting. Kim Hongdo’s artistic achievements had a great influence not only on true-view landscapes but all genres, from portraits to flower-and-bird paintings. This helped artists of the 19th century to keep producing paintings with pictorial quality, but no painter could either create a new trend or surpass Kim in talent and creativity. As true-view landscapes declined in popularity, the traces of the Kim Hongdo style were passed on to Eom Chiuk, Yi Yusin, Jo Jeonggyu, and Kim Hajong. In the 19th century, along with the work of these painters, folding screens depicting the Diamond Mountain and paintings of eight famous scenic spots in eastern Korea (Gwandong palgyeong) in the folk painting, or minhwa, style were popular among common people as decorative works. Although the unfettered, unprecedented beauty of a folk painting landscape displays another type of pictorial value, it does not come under the category of true-view landscapes as the form of the objects is significantly altered, and hence warrants no further discussion. Eom Chiuk bears so much resemblance to Kim Hongdo in terms of composition, and use of ink and brush that he has often been called Kim’s alter ego. Dongyucheop (東遊帖), a book of poems by Yi Pungik (李豊翼, 1804-1887), also contains paintings that resemble Kim’s works. “Chongseok Pavilion” and “Hwanseon Pavilion” (喚仙亭, Hwanseonjeong, color on paper, 20 x 26.6 cm, Sungkyunkwan University Museum) from the book were created by anonymous painters who must have traced over original paintings by Kim.52 Compared to these painters, Kim Hajong was relatively original in style. Kim left behind albums titled Haesandocheop (海山圖帖, light color on paper, 29.7 x 43.3 cm, National Museum of Korea) dated 1815, and Pungakgweon (楓岳卷, light color on paper, 49.6 x 61 cm, private collection) dated 1865.53 When I made a field trip to the Diamond Mountain in 1998 I found the name Geungwon, sobriquet of Kim Yanggi (金良驥, ca. 1792-ca. 1842, son of Kim Hongdo) along with the name Kim Hajong carved on Angjidae (仰止臺), dated the fourth month of the year of Gyeong-oh.54 This suggests Kim Hajong visited the place in 1870. The composition and depiction of show little progress over Kim Hongdo. Nevertheless, compared to the works in Haesandocheop, those in Pungakgwon are more original with clearer and lighter lines and color. V CONCLUSION Jeong Seon is a true-view landscape painter who used his feet and brain to complete a work: he ardently toured the country and then painted the landscape from his memory. He adjusted the real view according to his own aesthetic. In light of this, he was evidently a man who painted with a deep heart and rich imagination. The transformation of the actual scenery was likely rooted in his great love for his native land. Jeong’s true-view landscape paintings are characterized by the bird’s eye view that embraces the whole scene (俯瞰法, bugambeop), the viewpoints such as multipoint and a moving point of view, and reduction of a wide field of view to fit the narrow paper (縮景法, chukgyeongbeop). In Jeong’s paintings the horizontal field of view is 90°-150° degrees, or sometimes as wide as 180°. With a camera, the scenes can only be captured by a panoramic lens. Jeong edited and transformed the scenery based on the structure and characteristics that remained in his mind rather than drawing from nature to record the real view. As the memory of a landscape fades, simplification or exaggeration naturally occurs. The weaknesses of the landscape are therefore mitigated in the process of painting from memory. As such, though Jeong consistently transformed and distorted landscapes, he explored in his own way the meaning of a “true view.” “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” is a masterpiece that visualizes the intense image of rocks wet with rain. “Bagyeon Falls” is another masterpiece that seems to capture the roaring sound of the falling water. To create such an effect, Jeong doubled the length of the waterfall and contrasted the rocks and the water. The artist used a bird’s-eye view for “General View of Mt. Geumgang” to represent the people’s yearning to see the legendary beauty of the mountain, reinterpreting the real view with excellent intuition. As a result, he created true-view paintings that appeal to all. True-view landscape painting as perfected by Jeong Seon is a style that sympathizes with the literati’s idealization of the native land. The ideology behind the paintings is obviously Neo-Confucianism (性理學), as evidenced by records stating that Jeong painted according to the principles of the Book of Changes. It accords with the fact that Jeong Seon was a high-ranking official who associated with the literati belonging to the ruling Seoin-Noron (西人老論) faction. Yi Insang, another literati painter, adjusted the real view in a different manner. He painted with his heart after observing the landscape with his emotional vision rather than pursuing the visible beauty of form. Rather than adept expression, his style is characterized by somewhat immature but sensitive lines and application of light color. In other words, he produced excellent paintings in the name of true-view landscapes, but using the methods of the Southern School of China. Yi and other literati painters considerably altered the actual landscape, which makes it difficult to identify the viewpoint or angle of view used. In most cases, however, they depicted the landscape from the point where the painter stood or used the worm’s-eye view rather than the bird’s-eye view. As seen from the above, it was the literati painters who took the lead in painting from the actual scenery using a lower viewpoint, as demonstrated by the travel albums of Shim Sajeong, Kang Sehwang, and Jeong Suyeong. Shim Sajeong studied under Jeong Seon and later perfected his artistic skills by reinterpreting landscapes in the style of the Southern School. Kang Sehwang and Jeong Suyeong lag far behind in realistic portrayal of the scenery but their works are creative with a note of eccentricity. Paintings from actual scenery with a natural angle of view were further developed by Kim Yun-gyeom and Kang Huieon, both influenced by Jeong Seon. Their works, though immature, signal the start of true-view landscape paintings that truly resemble the real view: Kang’s “Mt. Inwang,” a complete view of the mountain painted from Dohwa-dong, and “View of Bugaksan Covered in Morning Mist” (北岳朝霧圖, Bugakjomudo), which uses a bird’s eye view to give a sense of perspective, and Kim’s “Taejongdae,” an on-site record of the actual scenery. Both Kim and Kang timely embraced and applied the style and technique of western paintings that were being introduced to the country. The achievements in true-view landscape painting made by Jeong Seon, Yi Insang, Shim Sajeong, Kang Sehwang, Kim Yun-gyeom, and Kang Huieon were passed on in their entirety to Kim Hongdo. Kim painted the landscape on the spot with masterly skill, creating paintings that closely resembled the actual scenery and greatly improving the artistry of true-view landscapes. He captured the beauty of the actual, visible scene and rendered landscapes with excellent realism and exquisite command of ink wash and light colors. While Jeong Seon had created his style of true-view landscape painting using his feet and his head, and his imagination, and literati painters such as Yi Insang painted using the heart and emotional vision, Kim Hongdo was a painter who used his eyes and his hands. Kim Hongdo’s true-view landscapes were clearly different. He used different angles of view and viewpoints from Jeong Seon’s paintings, which altered the landscape and had been hugely influential up until the mid-18th century. The sites depicted in Kim’s paintings can be captured through the viewfinder of a camera equipped with a 50mm standard lens or a 35mm wide-angle lens. This means he painted the scenery with a horizontal field of view of 47° to 62°, which is known to be closest to the field of human vision, and hence Kim’s paintings can be argued to be “realistic” true views. In depicting actual scenes, Kim Hongdo adopted a viewpoint similar to that of European landscape paintings and photographs developed after the 17th century, creating vivid, realistic landscapes. Furthermore, he painted not only scenic spots of great beauty but also scenes from everyday life. “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” from Album of the Byeongjin Year suggested new directions for modern Joseon painting, and showed a shift in subject from the scenic spots idealized in true-view landscape painting under Neo-Confucian ideology to the everyday scenes of common people. The difference in the viewpoint and angle of view in the paintings of Jeong Seon and Kim Hongdo, the two true-view masters, was linked to the changing cultural landscape in the 18th century in which Post-Neo-Confucianism emerged as a new idea. As with Silhak, Kim’s true-view landscapes were created through the conflict or correlation between Post-Neo-Confucianism and Anti-Neo-Confucianism. The paintings of Jeong, who socialized with scholars of the Nongam (農巖) and Samyeon (三淵) schools of thought, reflect the essence of Post-Neo-Confucianism, which was a revised version of the existing theory. In contrast, the ideology in Kim Hongdo’s paintings is closer to Anti-Neo-Confucianism influenced by new ideas introduced at the time by Silhak scholars such as Dasan (茶山) and Yeonam (燕巖) (Figure 20). After Kim Hongdo, both true-view landscape painting and genre painting declined in popularity in the 19th century, perhaps under the influence of Post-Neo-Confucianism, which leaned toward more conservative views as encouraged by the ruling government of the time. ( Figure 20 ) Comparison of viewpoints and angles of view used by Jeong Seon, Kim Hongdo, and Paul Cézanne Top left: “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” (疎林明月圖), Kim Hongdo, 1796, from Album of the Byeongjin Year light color on paper, 26.7 (h) x 31.6 (w) cm, Treasure No. 782, Leeum-Samsung Museum of Art Bottom left: “Mte. Sainte Victoire”, Paul Cézanne, 1890, 62.0 (h) x 92.0 (w) cm, Musée d’Orsay Right: “View over the Capital in the Mist and Rain,” Jeong Seon, from Album of Paintings of Scenic Spots in Seoul and Its Suburbs (京郊名勝帖), 1740-41, 30.1 (h) x 39.9 (w) cm, Kansong Art Museum I often wonder what would have happened if progress had been made on paintings like Kim Hongdo’s “Sparse Forest under the Full Moon” in the 19th century. Inferring from the precedent in European painting, “Impressionism” is the first thing that comes to mind, especially considering the similarity in viewpoint and angle of view used. In reality, however, Impressionism, imported from Europe and Japan, did not take root in Korean art until the 20th century, a hundred years after the time of Kim Hongdo. Artists such as Oh Jiho, Do Sangbong, Kang Yeong-yun, and Kang Yobae emerged, creating outstanding landscape paintings that filled the long continued void.
West Asia and Ancient Korean Culture: Revisiting the Silk Road from an Art History Perspective
  • Kwon Young-pil(Sangji University)
West Asia, a term used in contrast to East Asia and Central Asia, designates the region referred to in Europe as the Near East and the Middle East. For Europeans, this region begins at the western extremity of Egypt and ends in eastern Iran, therefore excluding Afghanistan. West Asia, as we well know, is one of the cradles of human civilization. The conquests of Alexander the Great spread Hellenistic civilization to this region, before it subsequently became part of the Roman Empire. As for Afghanistan, whilst most often included in Central Asia, Gandhara art that flourished in this area is evidence of an affinity to Greco-Roman culture, making this region culturally closer to West Asia. Concerning the historical exchange between the East and the West, the latest archeological discoveries challenge some of our most fundamental notions of the Silk Road. They suggest that ancient China never directly engaged in silk trade with Rome; that trade, instead, took an indirect form, with India serving as the intermediary; and that trade between the East and the West would have taken place mostly via sea routes rather than land. Hence, it appears that ancient Syria was an important trade partner of both China and India. Moreover, silk was not the main trade item, and, thus, the Silk Road may not even have existed at all.1 Received ideas about the Silk Road have been called into question at yet another level. Since Ferdinand von Richthofen first coined the term in 1877, many scholars have pointed out the need to rethink the Silk Road as a historical path of cultural propagation, rather than a simple trade route between the East and the West.2 Archeological investigations conducted since then in Central Asia (especially Xinjiang in China) have yielded evidence adding weight to this argument. However, even in this context, the consensus among scholars is that the West as the trade destination along the Silk Road is likely to have been Roman Syria and Iran rather than Rome itself. The focus of this study is on how exactly West Asian culture was transmitted to regions lying further east through the Silk Road, rather than discussing the cultural characteristics of this region as such. This inquiry will be more particularly concerned with historical and archaeological evidence related to the routes through which West Asian culture reached ancient Korea. The transmission of West Asian culture to Korea was necessarily circuitous, taking detours through Central Asia and North Asia – through Scythia, for example. For this reason, some portion of this paper may touch upon cultures other than West Asian culture. II WEST ASIA AND THE NOMADIC WORLD 01 THE WEST ASIAN IMAGINATION The creation of zoomorphic hybrids, in other words, the merging of two different animals to create an imaginary beast, was a practice commonly observed in many ancient civilizations. The griffin (or gryphon), the fabulous beast of Western origin, with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion, for example, appears frequently both in Western and Eastern art. In the 5th century BC, Herodotus wrote, for instance, that griffins were the guardians of Scythian gold. The origin of this fabulous beast, however, dates back much further, to the third millennium BC. A creation of the Ur Dynasty, based in the region south of the Euphrates River,3 the griffin was subsequently represented in Assyrian and Babylonian art, and was given artistic incarnations also in the Achaemenid Dynasty of Iran (6th - 4th century BC). The griffin was an extremely popular subject among artworks produced during the Achaemenid Dynasty. Griffin motifs grace many metal objects and are represented in numerous sculptures at Persepolis (5th century BC), a major architectural monument from the Achaemenid Dynasty (Figure 1). The sculpture of the twin griffins in a symmetrical position, in particular, recently attracted the attention of archeological communities worldwide following the discovery of a sculpture in the Khotan (和田, Chinese: Hetian) area of Xinjiang, surprisingly similar to this characteristically Iranian-style sculpture (Figure 2).4 Winged beasts with mountain goat horns carved onto decorative wood panels excavated in the Khotan area also appear to be variants of the Iranian griffin.5 These finds point to the influence of Iran, located along the Southern Silk Road traversing West Asia. ( Figure 1 ) Griffin sculpture, 5th century BC, Persepolis ( Figure 2 ) Griffin sculpture, Warring States-Eastern Han period, excavated in the Khotan (Chinese: Hetian) area of Xinjiang The appearance of the griffin varied depending on the region. The griffin popularly incarnated in Babylon was a winged lion with long and sharp ears and an eagle’s legs and a tail. The Assyrian griffin had an eagle’s head instead of a lion’s. The Iranian griffin, a compromise between the above, is crowned with horns of the mountain goat. Some variants of the Iranian griffin had hind legs with feet shaped like bird’s claws. Griffins represented on color-glazed bricks found in Susa of Iran are fine examples of such variants.6 Iran and Scythia had frequent cultural exchanges, as the two regions engaged in several wars, alternating with periods of peace and amity. Cultural elements were transmitted across the boundaries through a series of events like the Scythian attack on Media (640 BC), the Iranian invasion of Scythia (530 BC) and Scythia’s paying tribute to Iran (5th century BC). This may be how the griffin came to be a popular subject on Scythian artefacts and architecture. Meanwhile, representations of griffins have been found in faraway Noin-Ula in Mongolia (in artefacts found inside an ancient Xiongnu [匈奴] tomb)7 and even in Nangnang (樂浪, Chinese: Lelang) in the Korean peninsula where a griffin depicted on a covered lacquer basket was discovered in the Wanggwang [王光] Tomb.8 (Figure 3) Just how far this path of transmission led is indeed astonishing: from Iran, through Scythia, all the way to Noin Ula and Nangnang.9 ( Figure 3 ) Griffin decoration on lacquerware vessel, Han Dynasty, excavated from Wanggwang Tomb, Nangnang The scene of a lion attacking a ram in a stone relief found in the Apadana or hypostyle hall of Persepolis (5th century BC) is the earliest example of the ‘animal combat’ theme (Figure 4), which later gained popularity in ancient societies across the region. Scenes of this type had strong influence not only in West Asia, but also in Scythia, and were featured even in the bronze and gilt-bronze accessories of the Xiongnu. ( Figure 4 ) Motif of lion attacking a ram, 5th century BC, Apadana of Pesepolis Animal themes were especially dominant in Scythian art, as the Scythians were nomadic herders. Russian art historians have dubbed this distinct animal-themed art of Scythia as “animal-style art.” The author has previously suggested that this animal style, as it slowly and steadily evolved over a long time, can also be called the “lentus style.”10 The centaur (kentauros in Greek), the part-human, part-horse mythological creature, is another well-known example of an ancient zoomorphic hybrid. The dominant view concerning the origin of this creature, best known though Greek mythology, is that it derives from Scythia. The idea that nomadic people, spending most of their waking hours on horseback, identified themselves with the animal so closely tied to their everyday lives enjoys strong support from art historians.11 The centaur has also been found represented on a woven wool textile excavated from Sampula cemetery in Luopu county of Xinjiang, dated to the first to third century.12 02 WEST ASIAN BRONZE TOOLS Civilizations that flourished in West Asia during antiquity, and especially in the environs of Syria, were highly advanced. The beginning of the Bronze Age in this region, for instance, is dated to the mid to late third millennium BC.13 In the Korean peninsula, the Bronze Age begins progressively later, around the 10th century BC. In Korea, early bronze tools are reported to have been produced sometime toward the 8th century BC.14 One of the most important artefacts in the history of exchange between the East and the West appeared around the time the Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age in West Asia: the Scythian dagger-like short sword known in Greek as akinakes.15 Some research on this weapon is already available.16 An akinakes-style dagger was unearthed in a Scythian tomb on a shore of the Black Sea, dating to the 6th century BC (Figure 5),17 and other evidence suggests that this dagger was used in Achaemenid Iran during the 5th century BC. A stone wall relief of the east stairway façade of the Apadana palace in Persepolis, depicting envoys from neighboring countries bearing tribute, shows envoys from Scythia and Media (which preceded the Achaemenid Dynasty) carrying this dagger at their waist (Figure 6). The Median attack on Assyria in the 7th century BC was enabled by the weapons manufacturing techniques and war tactics learned from the Scythians. Akinakes daggers are also believed to have been imported from Scythia at this time. ( Figure 5 ) Left: Akinakes-style dagger, 6th century BC, excavated from a Scythian tomb on the Black Sea shore ( Figure 6 ) Right: Envoys from Scythia carrying akinakes-style daggers at their waists, 5th century BC, Apadana of Persepolis The akinakes seems to have earned its Greek name, which appears in Herodotus’ History, due to the symbiotic economic relationship between Scythia and Ionia.18 Meanwhile, the fact that the hilt of Scythian dagger, unlike the T-shaped hilt of the Iranian dagger, often features two griffins with their heads facing each other, may be an indication of the close ties between Iran and Scythia, the griffin being a symbol of ancient Iran. From the 5th century BC, the akinakes, which has also been referred to as an “antenna-style” [觸角] bronze dagger, developed a close relationship with bronze tools from Tagar in southern Russia.19 It subsequently influenced Ordos bronze daggers produced by the Xiongnu (Figure 7),20 and eventually the daggers of the southern Korean peninsula. In the bronze daggers found in the Pyongyang (平壤) area and in Bisan-dong (飛山洞), Daegu (大邱), the original design of two griffins facing each other was replaced by a native Korean-style design of two ducks facing each other (Figure 8).21 ( Figure 7 ) Akinakes-style dagger, Late Spring - Autumn to early Warring States period, Excavated from Ordos, Xiongnu ( Figure 8 ) Akinakes-style dagger, 3rd - 2nd century BC, excavated in Bisan-dong, Daegu, National Museum of Korea III WEST ASIA AND HELLENISM 01 SYNCRETISM The brilliance of ancient Egyptian civilization needs no introduction. The tomb of Tutankhamun, for example, is a treasure trove of archeological finds eloquently illustrating the distinctive culture that flourished in ancient Egypt. Following the invasion by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, however, Egypt became part of the Hellenistic world. Alexandria, located on the Mediterranean coast, was the center of Hellenistic culture in Egypt. In the wake of Alexander the Great’s conquest, Egyptian society was energized by Hellenistic cultural elements including philosophy and art. One important thing to remember, however, is that Egypt’s own mythology interacted with the imported cultural elements to shape the local Hellenistic civilization. Serapis was an anthropomorphic Hellenistic-Egyptian god created under Ptolemy Soter (ca.376 – ca.283 BC) with the attributes of two native Egyptian gods, Osiris (god of bounty and life) and Apis (bull deity symbolizing afterlife and strength, related to grain and the harvest), borrowing the physical features of Zeus and the sun god Helios. Serapis indeed is a typical “Egypto-Hellenistic” god. The Temple of Serapis in Alexandria was an important site of pilgrimage and a center for religious rites until it was destroyed by Emperor Theodosius in 389 AD. Temples dedicated to Serapis, large and small, existed across Egypt, and worship of this syncretic god was spread by merchants and converts to other regions within the Greco-Roman world.22 One notable characteristic of Serapis statues is the headgear, on which a plant bearing a few grains is sculpted. In some cases, when the deity is represented as Zeus, it is attended by a retinue. At times, Serapis is represented as Hercules surmounted by a calathus (vase-shaped basket on top of his head) and holding a club. Statues of Hercules-Serapis were also found in regions further east like Bagram in Afghanistan23 while a statue of Zeus-Serapis was found in Khotan, Central Asia. This author found, on the occasion of a trip to Egypt, that a statuette of Serapis on display in the Alexandria Archaeology Museum (Figure 9) was strikingly similar to the statuette of Serapis from Khotan in the Otani [大谷] collection in the National Museum of Korea (Figure 10).24 Both are moulded terracotta statues of a similar height (about 15cm), with the classical appearance of Zeus. Below the right hand of Zeus seated on a chair stands a naked statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, holding a wreath in her left hand and a laurel branch in her right hand. Zeus holds a scepter in his left hand, on top which a vulture is perched. Above his face covered with a heavy beard, Zeus seems to be wearing indeed some sort of calathus. This was at least what the author could gather from his observation of the two modestly-sized sculptures whose features were not excessively well-detailed. ( Figure 9 ) Statuette of Serapis, 2nd - 3rd century, Alexandria Archaeology Museum ( Figure 10 ) Statuette of Serapis, 2nd - 3rd century, Excavated in Khotan (Chinese: Hetian), National Museum of Korea Accordingly this comparative analysis led to an important conclusion. The statuette of Zeus-Serapis displayed in the National Museum of Korea, although it was found in Khotan, was probably made in Alexandria and travelled through the length of the Hellenistic world to arrive at Central Asia. This statuette, therefore, is invaluable evidence that Hellenistic artefacts were indeed transmitted to the East via the Silk Road. 02 FROM HERCULES TO THE FOUR HEAVENLY KINGS This sort of syncretism, wherein deities of different cultures become merged to form a single deity, was a phenomenon which repeatedly occurred in West Asia. In Petra, an ancient city state of the Nabataeans in Syria, al-'Uzza, the goddess of power, was later identified under Hellenization with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. The statue of al-'Uzza displayed at the Petra Archeological Museum (Figure 11),25 of which only the torso has survived, does not pale in comparison with the voluptuous statue of the Venus de Milo in the Louvre. This phenomenon of religious syncretism was seen not only on the eastern Mediterranean coast colonized by the Roman Empire and Mesopotamia, but also in ancient Iran, further east. Verethragna, the god of victory in the Zoroastrian religion, for instance, is incarnated in the body of Hercules. The statue of Hercules, accompanied by Antiochus IV of Commagene, is a fine example of this.26 This identification of Verethragna with a hero of Greek mythology bears interesting testimony to Hellenistic influence on the culture of the ancient Iranian Dynasty of Parthia. ( Figure 11 ) Statue of Nabataean al-'Uzza, 3rd century, Petra Archeological Museum Yet more intriguing, however, is the transformation of Hercules into a Buddhist guardian deity. In a Buddhist temple in Hadda, an ancient region of Gandhara, a sculpture of Hercules is placed as an attendant deity to the main Buddha, holding a vajra in one hand.27 This may not seem altogether surprising, if one considers the heavy Greco-Roman influence observed in Gandhara art. But, the contribution of Hercules to Buddhism does not end here. The lion’s head, a symbol of Hercules, is integrated as part of the decorations on the Guardian spirits (vajrapani) and the Four Heavenly Kings [四天王], most often represented as biting the upper arms [獅嚙] of these deities. This motif, originating from Central Asia, eventually reached the Korean peninsula during the early Unified Silla period.28 The relief sculptures of the Four Heavenly Kings, found at the ancient site of Sacheonwangsa Temple [四天王寺] in Gyeongju, dated to about 679, are the first such example in Korea (Figure 12).29 ( Figure 12 ) Sculpture of the Four Heavenly Kings, ca. 679, Copied by Kang Woo-bang. Excavated from the site of Sacheonwangsa Temple in Gyeongju, Gyeongju National Museum IV ANCIENT ROME AND IRAN 01 ROMAN SYRIA Following Alexander the Great’s conquest of West Asia, Hellenistic influence became all-pervasive in this region. In Syria, there had been a steady and continuous influence of Greek culture for a long time. Greek was the vernacular, for instance in Dura-Europos, an important city in the valley of the Euphrates River, during the Parthian Dynasty, in other words, as late as the beginning of the Common Era.30 The Roman rule of Syria began with the occupation of Antioch in 64 BC. Since then, Syria became a battleground for the Romans and the Parthians, and later the Romans and the Sasanians. Subsequently, during the rule of Constantine the Great (r. 324-37), the Byzantine era began in this region. Greco-Roman influence on Syrian culture continued undiminished for centuries, until Byzantines were defeated by Arabs in 636 at the Yarmuk River. During the period when Syria was under Roman rule, it played an important role in trade and cultural exchange between the East and the West. The fact that the Romans imposed, at that time, a 25% tax on goods imported from eastern countries and regions, within the Red Sea and Palmyra region,31 doubtless quite a heavy burden for merchants, is indicative of the contribution of trade to the revenue of ancient Rome. Even after the fall of Palmyra in 273, trade between India and the Persian Gulf continued unabated. The newly-emerged Sasanian Dynasty joined the inter-regional trade, and around this time, the Tigris River Basin replaced the Euphrates Basin as the chief trade route. It is also at this time that the Romans set up their only trade center in Nisibis, in the valley of the Tigris River.32 For the import of Indian cotton, a land route was used, traversing Central Asia, Iran and Babylon, connecting northern cities like Antioch, in addition to sea routes via the Iranian Gulf. The passage via southern cities like Petra and Bostra toward the Red Sea and Arabia was also used. As for Palmyra, it served as an important ‘caravan city’ in this trade. Although details concerning goods traded are absent in ancient records, archaeological investigations uncovered Indian cotton and Chinese silk in tombs in Palmyra (Figure 13),33 providing an alternative measure of the booming trade center this city once was.34 ( Figure 13 ) Chinese silk, 1st century, Palmyra National Museum This also corroborates the theory that Syrian merchants travelled to China already during the Han Dynasty. Houhanshu (後漢書: History of the Later Han Dynasty) documents the arrival in 166 of a certain An Dun [安敦], the king of Daqin. ‘Daqin’ [大泰] is the Chinese name for ancient Rome, and An Dun probably designates Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (the Roman emperor from 161 to 180). The delegation, reported to have arrived at Annam, was probably a group of Syrians or Palmyrans who, rather than official envoys sent by Antoninus, were merchants.35 The discovery of Roman gold coins, along with a series of other artefacts, at Oc-Eo at the lower reaches of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, is a fact noteworthy in relation to this visit to Annam. Some of these gold coins, dated to 152, were coins of Marcus Aurelius’ predecessor Antoninus Pius (152), a very telling detail for trade between the East and the West which was taking place at that time. These artefacts, presumed to have belonged to Indian merchants,36 may offer clues as to the role of India in the inter-regional trade of the time. It should be remembered in this connection that Antoninus Pius, as a matter of fact, did receive Indian envoys around this time.37 02 ROMAN GLASS The Syrian glass industry holds important keys for unlocking the mystery of Silk Road trade.38 Glass was first manufactured in Syria and its environs, around the middle of the second millennium BC. The art of blowing glass, in particular, is known to have been invented in Roman Syria, toward the late first century BC. The technique of glass blowing was later transmitted to the Mediterranean region between the end of the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.39 In the transmission of Roman glass to outside regions, Bagram, a city in the Kushan Empire which ruled present-day Tajikistan, Afghanistan and northern India during the 3rd century, served as a major trade intermediary. Along with Indian artefacts and Chinese lacquerwares, an impressive array of Roman glassware has been found in Bagram, which is in present-day Afghanistan. Concerning the glass cups, excavated in the Bagram region, whose analysis at the time of their discovery in the 1930s was based on stylistic evidence, we now know, from findings through modern analytical techniques, that they are distinct from Roman glass produced in the Syro-Palestine region, and that they are closest to that produced in Egypt. The date of manufacture is currently estimated to be sometime between 50 and 125. These glasswares reached Bagram by transiting through the Red Sea and India by sea route, then overland through the Hindu Kush. The available evidence suggests that they were clearly headed for China, before they got stranded in Bagram.40 An important detail to evoke in this regard is the discovery of an Alexandria-made statue of Serapis in Bagram.41 Using this additional link, we can now retrace once again how the statue of Serapis reached Khotan in Xinjiang [新疆]: the path would begin in Alexandria, transiting through the Red Sea, India, the Indus River, Bagram and Hindu Kush, before reaching its final destination in Khotan. Bagram, in other words, was the point of transfer for Chinese goods headed for the West, where these land-transported goods were loaded onto boats to reach Indian ports. 03 TOMB MURALS OF PALMYRA As said earlier, Palmyra was a major center for Silk Road trade during the Roman period in Syria. A desert oasis city, Palmyra was made part of the Roman province of Syria in 17, but had its own desert army and enjoyed a degree of autonomy. After being placed under the direct control of Rome in 129, the city declared its independence in 260, under Queen Zenobia, seizing the opportunity opened by the Roman defeat in the war against the Sasanians. The independence of Palmyra was short-lived, as it was crushed by the Roman army little more than ten years later, in 273. Many Roman-style architectural remains including temples, amphitheatres, agoras, basilicas, baths and the necropolis have survived to the present, vivid reminders of the past of this once-flourishing ancient city. A series of hypogea, the tower-like underground burial chambers, still preserved in Palmyra are architectural treasures, which also provide precious insights into how its ancient inhabitants viewed the afterlife. The ‘Three Brothers’ Tomb (161-191), one of these hypogea, is of particular interest. Its relatively well-preserved interior features murals of high significance for the history of art, comparable in importance and stylistic characteristics to East Asian Buddhist murals like Dunhuang mural paintings. The above-ground entrance leads to descending steps, at the end of which there are two side-rooms in the left and right wings, and a path leading to the main burial chamber, forming a layout in the shape of the letter ‘T’ inversed. The main burial chamber has a barrel vault ceiling, and murals are present both on the ceiling and walls. Whilst the burial chamber itself is rather exotic,42 the interior decoration (the theme and style of the murals) is considered generally Greco-Syrian.43 The section where the vertical walls meet with the curved line of the vaulted ceiling is surrounded by a decorative cornice of even width, featuring a dentil pattern (Figure 14).44 It is in fact a trompe-l’oeil45 cornice, so skilfully painted onto the edge of the ceiling that it appears quite like a real moulding. On the front of the hypogeum’s burial chamber is depicted Achilles, a hero from Greek mythology who symbolizes the immortality of the soul, offering glimpses into the afterlife view of the ancient inhabitants of Palmyra. ( Figure 14 ) Left: Dentil cornice motif, ca. 161-191, Mural in main burial chamber of Three Brothers Tomb in Palmyra A real example of a cornice with dentil pattern, not a painted version, is found on the hypogeum of Elahbel (Figure 15),46 indicating that such cornices, whether painted or real, were an established type at the time. The discovery of the same type of cornice in a tomb mural (1st - 2nd century) from Pantikapaion in the northern Black Sea area, enables us to surmise the route of transmission of this type of cornice (Figure 16). The art of Pantikapaion, a Greek colony since the 6th century BC, is generally Greco-Schythian in stylistic characteristics.47 ( Figure 15 ) Right: Hypogeum of Elahbel, AD 103, Palmyra ( Figure 16 ) Dentil cornice motif, 1st-2nd century, Pantikapaion tomb mural, northern Black Sea area The dentil cornice motif, Hellenistic in origin, was also popular in Roman-Syrian tomb murals found on the northern shore of the Black Sea. How this motif later made its way into the cave temples of Central Asia is an interesting point of enquiry. Examples of the cornice motif in Kizil cave murals include that in the main chamber of Cave 47 (5th century) (Figure 17) from the early period, and that in the main chamber and western and eastern walls of Cave 8 (7th century) from the mid-period. The walls are punctuated at even intervals with square-shaped mortises that used to hold brackets for a wooden balcony,48 and below the holes the cornice motif continues to the sides. The Dunhuang caves do not have such holes for brackets, but are otherwise decorated in similar fashion to the Kizil caves. Indeed the dentil cornice motif can be found in most of the Dunhuang caves, on the ceiling and the walls, executed over a wide-ranging period, from early Northern Liang [北涼] Cave 272) (Figure 18), Northern Wei [࣫北魏] (Cave 254), Western Wei [西魏] (Cave 249), Northern Zhou [北周] (Cave 461), Sui [隋] (Cave 302) and late Sui to Early Tang. From the Tang [唐] Dynasty when the painting style in the cave murals took on a stronger local Chinese (Tang) flavor, the cornice motif disappeared along with the chiaroscuro technique, attesting to the Silk Road’s role in transmission of the cornice motif. Meanwhile, the dome of Cave 11 of the Bamiyan Caves features the same repeated tortoise motif as is found in the Three Brothers Tomb of Palmyra,49 and can be understood as a reproduction of the latter. ( Figure 17 ) Dentil cornice motif, 5th century, Mural from main chamber of Kizil Cave 47 ( Figure 18 ) Dentil cornice motif, Early Northern Liang, first half of 5th century, Mural from Dunhuang Cave 272 In conclusion, this unique cornice motif, which originated in Syrian tomb murals, appeared in the Bamiyan Buddhist caves as it moved eastward. The upper wall of Bamiyan’s West Great Buddha Cave50 (Cave 620, 5th century) also features square holes for balcony props with a dentil cornice motif running across the wall underneath them (Figure 19). ( Figure 19 ) Dentil cornice motif, 5th century, Mural in Bamiyan’s West Great Buddha Cave (Cave 620) The above-mentioned issues should now be examined from one or two perspectives. First is the fact that the dentil cornice motif, which originated in tomb murals, was later transmitted to Buddhist cave temples. On this point, it is likely that when tombs shifted from underground burial types to building-type tombs such as hypogea, reference was made to temple architecture when creating the interiors. This is exemplified by the cupola in the northern sanctuary of the Temple of Bel, one of the most representative architectural realizations from the Palmyra period, which features a cornice and tortoiseshell pattern executed in low relief.51 Hence it can be said that the cornice motif was related to religious architecture from the beginning. Second, we should remember that in the 5th century, Bamiyan, Kizil in eastern Turkistan, and Dunhuang were separated both by space and time. In the 5th century Bamiyan was influenced artistically by the late Gandharan Buddhist images, characterized by the use of the stucco technique, and politically fell under the control of Sasanian Iran. These influences are reflected in Bamiyan murals, which feature motifs of beads, birds holding petals in their beaks, and crescent shaped crown ornaments. In the same period, Kizil, which formed part of eastern Turkistan, fell under the control of Northern Wei, which had conquered Zhongyuan [中原], China proper. As for Sasanian Empire, it maintained active diplomatic relations with Northern Wei from the time it sent its first envoys in 455 until its demise, and such exchanges between the two states played an important role in the spread of Iranian culture to East Asia. The international situation at the time explains how the Western cornice motif found its way into the art of Kizil and Dunhuang. Based on evidence from existing sites, the transmission of the cornice motif can be chronologically organized as follows: Temple of Bel (1st century BC), Three Brothers tomb (1st century AD), Pantikapaion tomb mural (1st -2nd century AD), Bamiyan caves (5th century), Kizil caves (5th century), and Dunhuang caves (5th century). The journey of the cornice motif across the Eurasian continent, in fact, did not end in Central Asia, but even further east, as it also appears in stylized form in Goguryeo tomb murals (Figure 20),52 a great testimony to the amazing cultural highway that was the Silk Road. ( Figure 20 ) Dentil cornice motif, Second half of 5th century, Susan-ri Goguryeo tomb mural 04 CHIAROSCURO Realism characterizing Mediterranean art finds its early expressions in Roman murals and mosaics. The so-called chiaroscuro style, emphasizing contrast between light and shadow, was the chief technique used to bring out realistic qualities in pictorial representations. The chiaroscuro technique appears to have traveled beyond Roman controlled regions: in the decorative woolen textile excavated from Sampula near Khotan, representing a centaur and a Caucasian soldier, both the centaur and the soldier’s face was given depth using chiaroscuro (Figure 21). ( Figure 21 ) Decorative wall hanging, Han Dynasty, Excavated from Luopu near Khotan, Museum of Xinjiang, Uighur Autonomous Region This is an excellent example of Hellenistic cultural elements integrated into the art of regions beyond West Asia. The likely path of transmission of this technique to Central Asia would be through Parthia, an Iranian Dynasty whose society and culture were under heavy Hellenistic influence. Documentary evidence to this effect is also available. Ancient records found in Khotan confirm that there were Iranians living in this region around this period.53 Also interesting are the quatrefoil rosettes depicted in the background of the centaur textile (Figure 22), which are identical to the pattern on an ancient fabric (early 3rd century) discovered in the Dura-Europos region of Syria (Figure 23).54 Dura-Europos was an eastern outpost for the Romans and a major center of commerce, until it was conquered by Sasanian Emperor Shahpur I during the third century. This same pattern subsequently became popular in the Sasanian Empire.55 ( Figure 22 ) Left: Quatrefoil rosettes, Han Dynasty, Excavated from Luopu near Khotan, Museum of Xinjiang, Uighur Autonomous Region ( Figure 23 ) Right: Pattern on an ancient fabric, early 3rd century. Excavated from the Dura-Europos region of Syria, Yale University Museum V ANCIENT ROME AND PARTHIAN, SASANIAN IRAN Imperial Rome had frequent conflicts with Parthia over Syria, the prosperous region sandwiched between them. Both sides had their own reasons for coveting Syria. Whilst the Romans had a keen interest in Hellenistic regions in general, for the Parthians, it was the question of recovering a region which once belonged to the old Iranian Achaemenid Dynasty. The prospect of furthering trade revenue from the Silk Road added fuel to this clash of territorial ambitions as well. The first military clash between Parthia and Rome (92 BC) was over Anatolia.56 At stake was their trade interest, as the majority of goods arriving from China transited through Parthia at that time.57 In 53 BC, a major battle broke out between Rome and Parthia at Carrhae on the upper reaches of the Euphrates. The battle ended in a crushing defeat for the Romans. The Romans lost three-fourths of their men, with Marcus Licinius Crassus, governor of Syria, killed in the fighting. During this battle, the Romans were deeply impressed by gleaming banners hoisted by the Parthians, made of silk unknown to them.58 The Romans were again defeated by the Sasanians in 260, at Edessa lying further north from Carrhae, with Emperor Valerian himself taken captive by the enemy. A large number of Romans were captured and taken to Iran over these two wars.59 It is almost certain that Roman migrants who had reached Antioch contributed to the creation of the mosaic in Shahpur I’s (r. 241-272) palace in Bishapur,60 a point which has intrigued many scholars. The mosaic features numerous Roman-style themes, such as women in a leaning position, dancing women, scenes of performance of musical instruments and floral wreaths (Figure 24). The rockface sculpture in Bishapur, commemorating the Sasanian victory, is also known to have been made by Roman captives.61 It may seem ironical that the Parthians, sworn enemies of the Romans, so readily borrowed elements of Roman art. ( Figure 24 ) Left: Woman playing the harp, 3rd century, Mosaic in Shahpur I’s palace in Bishapur, Louvre, Paris However, it is very meaningful to note that Daniel Schlumberger who calls Parthian art “a non-Mediterranean offspring of Greek art,” emphasizes at the same time the Greco-Iranian characteristics of this art.62 01 PARTHIAN SHOT Of the many theories on the origins of the Parthian shot (archers mounted on a horse running in retreat position, turning their bodies to the opposite direction to shoot at the enemy), the one proposed by Michael Rostovtzeff is arguably the most convincing.63 The oldest surviving artefacts depicting the Parthian shot are Assyrian and date from the eighth to the seventh century BC. According to Rostovtzeff, this theme was borrowed from nomadic peoples like Cimmerians and Scythians. In 1943, Rostotzeff cited early artefacts representing the Parthian shot, chosen among items in the collection of the State Museum of Berlin. Two decades later, in 1964, Jettmar resumed this discussion in his book Art of Steppes, dating the first appearance of this theme to the mid-ninth century BC, in other words, about one century earlier than did Rostotzeff, using artefacts from the British Museum as evidence.64 Aside from the origins, another important question concerning this theme is why it was named “Parthian shot,” and not something else. One possible explanation of the fact that this theme, when it was spread to other Greco-Roman cultures, was particularly frequently found in representations of Parthian archers could be that it became associated with their bravery, thanks to the exploit in the Battle of Carrhae (53 BC) which cost the life of a Roman governor. This pictorial theme also probably spread, after this battle, to regions further east and west, eventually becoming integrated also into Chinese art of the Han Dynasty through trade and exchange between the latter and Parthia. Pictorial representations of the Parthian shot were found both in China and Goguryeo. The Han-Dynasty stone relief [畵像石] from an era contemporary to the Parthian period,65 and the bronze-cylinder chariot fitting [金象嵌狩獵文銅筒] dating from the Former Han period (believed to be found in Pyeongyang, collection of Tokyo University of Arts) (Figure 25)66 are among the best-known examples of artefacts suggesting a possible link between Parthia and Goguryeo. The appearance of the horseman depicted on the chariot fitting suggests that he was a Xiongnu man, which would mean that this motif was transmitted to Goguryeo from the north.67 The fact that the Parthian shot theme on Goguryeo’s Muyongchong murals (5th century) predates the first appearance of the same theme in Central Asia (Dunhuang Cave 249, ca. mid-6th century) may also be explained by this difference in transmission path. ( Figure 25 ) Right: Bronze-cylinder chariot fitting, Former Han period, believed to have been found in Pyeongyang, Tokyo University of the Arts VI SASANIAN DYNASTY AND CHINA The Sasanian Dynasty maintained a rather close relationship with China. In 445, the Sasanians sent their first envoys to the Northern Wei. Between then and the year 522, Sasanian envoys were dispatched to China ten times, suggesting quite a friendly relationship. The massive exile of Sasanian royals and ruling elite members to the Tang Dynasty, when the Dynasty fell to the Arabs, is also evidence of the close ties between the two sides. Hence, it would be only natural to assume that Sasanian art had a certain direct influence on Chinese art of that time. Another area that had close relations with Iran was Sogdiana. Geographically Sogdiana neighbored Parthian and Sasanian Iran and naturally came into contact with Iranian culture. Hence Sogdian art shows Iranian characteristics.68 01 CUT GLASS The ancient Iranian blown glass industry, largely influenced by Roman Syrian glass making,69 was well developed since the Parthian period. However, technically-sophisticated glasses like cut glass were manufactured starting from the Sasanian Dynasty. Cut glass, also known as “wheel-cut glass,” in reference to its fabrication method, is believed to be related to the hexagonal tortoiseshell design.70 As is well-known, the eastward journey of cut glasswares, originating from the Sasanian Empire, extended to Xinjiang and as far as Pingcheng (modern Datong [大同] in Shanxi Province), the capital city of the Northern Wei Dynasty. Sasanian glasswares were also found in ancient Silla tombs (Figure 26), in some quantity71 and even in the collection of Shosoin (正倉院) in Nara, Japan’s imperial treasure house. Cut glass works in a fine state of preservation, with transparent facets, mirror and reflect the tortoiseshell designs in reduced size.72 ( Figure 26 ) Cut glasswares, 5th century, Excavated from Northern mound of Hwangnam-daechong Tumulus, Gyeongju National Museum 02 RHYTA AND SILVERWARE In West Asia, a rhyton, a type of figurative pottery, appeared toward 1,000 BC.73 Under the Achaemenid Dynasty (6th-4th century BC), gold and silver rhyta bearing intricate surface designs became popular, and left a palpable influence on neighboring Scythia. As rhyta evolved through the Parthian period and the ensuing Sasanian Dynasty, they gained in terms of variety of both materials and style. More rhyta represented human faces, a clear change from rhyta of preceding generations, dominated by animal themes (Figure 27).74 Human face-shaped rhyta, whose surviving examples are quite rare, were discovered in Yotkan, Khotan area, Xinjiang (Figure 28),75 confirming the existence of Iranian-style art in Central Asian regions along the southern Silk Road. ( Figure 27 ) Rhyton in the shape of a human face, 3rd century, Sasanian Dynasty, British Museum ( Figure 28 ) Rhyton in the shape of a human face, 4th century, Excavated from Yoktan, Khotan area, Museum of Xinjiang, Uighur Autonomous Region Though the widely-held view is that Sasanian silverware was generally not intended for domestic use, this does not necessarily mean that similar silverwares found elsewhere were all manufactured in the Iranian region.76 Hence, existing theories about the origins of silverwares discovered in ancient Korea, such as the silver bowl with hexagonal designs excavated from Hwangnam-daechong [皇南大塚] Tumulus of Silla,77 may have to be re-examined.78 A popular Sasanian metalworking technique was the application of gilding on silverwares to beautify the item and accent important parts, especially vessel rims. This technique originated around the 5th century BC in the Greek regions of the western Black Sea area and was later transmitted to West Asia (Figure 29).79 What is surprising, however, is that the same technique also reached as far as the Silla Kingdom. Various covered silver bowls discovered from the southern and northern mounds of Hwangnam-daechong Tumulus are accented with gold on the rims of the lid and bowl [盒], and on the knob of the lid (Figure 30).80 The movement of this technique needs further investigation along with the eastward movement of Roman glass. ( Figure 29 ) Silver bowl, First half of 4th century BC, From Borovo in Bulgaria, Russe Museum of History ( Figure 30 ) Covered silver bowl, Second half of 4th century-first half of 5th century, Southern mound of Hwangnam-daechong Tumulus, Gyeongju National Museum 03 SOGDIAN PAINTING TECHNIQUES Traditional ossuaries or burial urns of Sogdiana have human figures in relief below the arched line, a style distinctly Hellenistic.81 The drapery depiction of the human figure in relief is also quite strongly reminiscent of Greco-Roman style (Figure 31).82 Such Hellenistic influences can be explained to an extent by the historical geopolitical conditions in Sogdiana. After its initial exposure to Greek culture during the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great, Sogdiana continued to remain in contact with it, thanks to culturally Hellenistic neighbors such as Parthia and Greek colonies in the environs, like Bactria. ( Figure 31 ) Sogdian human figure relief figure on ossuary, 6th-7th century, National Archaeological Museum, Samarkand Traditionally it has been believed that the so-called caoyichushui (wet drapery) technique [曹衣出水] in traditional Chinese painting (mid-6th century), named after Cao Zhongda [曺仲達], an artist of the Northern Qi [北齊] Dynasty, was of Sogdian origin, but little research had been carried out to confirm this. In recent years, however, it has been revealed that the caoyichushui technique is consistent with the style of drapery depiction on the Hellenistic-style Sogdian ossuaries, a clear indication that the former derived from the latter.83 Moreover, discovery of the same kind of close drapery in the art of Kizil, midway between Sogdiana and China, provides evidence of the eastward movement of this style.84 More intriguing perhaps are the echoes of the Sogdian style detected in Goguryeo tomb murals (Ohoebun [五盔墳] Tomb 4, mid-6th century), shedding new light on the influence of the Silk Road on Goguryeo culture (Figure 32).85 ( Figure 32 ) God of fire, First half of 6th century, Goguryeo tomb mural from Ohoebun Tomb 4 in Ji’an, China Given the vast trajectory of influence of the Sogdian culture, it may not be altogether surprising if these two regions, even though separated by a great distance, were indeed culturally linked.86 In light of the friendly relations between Northern Qi and Goguryeo, it is quite possible that the unique style and expression of Goguryeo tomb murals was based on the caoyichushui technique transmitted through Northern Qi.87 The transmission of the Hellenistic art tradition of Central Asia to Goguryeo via Sogdiana marks an important page in the history of Goguryeo’s exchange with other countries. VII CONCLUSION The points in this paper are as follows: First, the past century’s research in the Silk Road art and archaeology has resulted in a vast body of knowledge. Korean Silk Road research, however, has been somewhat lop-sidedly focused on China (Central Asia, and particularly Xinjiang), the latter being the provenance of the ‘silk’ in question. To put it another way, past Korean research has tended to look at the transmission of Western cultural elements to Central Asia and East Asia almost exclusively at the level of their adoption and acceptance. Due to this focus, the circumstances in the western end of this trade route have been largely overlooked. Warwick Ball, for instance, challenged the received idea88 about the Silk Road trade, saying that the principal item Rome imported from the East was incense, and not silk.89 Indeed, rethinking the Silk Road from the other end, West Asia may yield new discoveries and perspectives on this historical Eurasian channel of cultural exchange. Second, the transportation of exports from ancient China through the Silk Road relied, to reach the Roman region (including Roman colonies), more on sea routes than land routes. Research on the maritime Silk Road is far from non-extant. Japanese scholarship, for instance, has been keenly interested in the role of the sea routes of India and the Red Sea in East-West exchange during antiquity.90 The aim of this paper, by re-emphasizing the importance of maritime routes, is to draw attention to West Asia, the long neglected player in Silk Road trade. Third, as far as the Silk Road is concerned, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that West Asia was the true embodiment of Hellenism and Roman culture. Greco-Roman characteristics are pervasive in the area extending from Alexandria in Egypt to Palmyra and Damascus in Syria. Even if Greco-Roman cultural elements were originally foreign imports, West Asia integrated them into their own regional aesthetics, reinventing them, in other words, into their own, of which the process is manifested by local styles such as Greco-Iranian style. Fourth, ancient Korea was an integral member of the Silk Road culture. This paper has paid particular attention to regions which had been the provenance of foreign cultural elements that became interwoven with elements native to the ancient Korean peninsula, in an effort to cast light on the latter’s relationship with Central Asia and regions lying further west. The Silk Road Extended to Korea
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