This article analyzes the female figures and feminine space in court ceremony paintings of late Joseon. I attempt to expand the discussion from a gendered perspective, which has until now been limited to paintings of or by women, to a wider genre of paintings through the concept of feminine space. First, I examine narrative figure paintings such as “Guo Fenyang’s Enjoyment of Life” and “The Banquet of the Queen Mother of the West at the Turquoise Pond” to look at space symbolizing women. Although these paintings are based on Chinese historical narratives, they contain many elements that recall the inner palace, the feminine space in the palaces of Joseon, and inner banquets, which were rituals of women. The arrangement of the inner palace on the right, or east, side of the paintings in contrast to their Chinese versions is likely related to how hall in which the queen dowager resided was referred to as the eastern palace in late Joseon. Meanwhile, the feminine space in court ceremony paintings, which recorded royal rituals, shows how the status of women changed in these rituals. The boundaries and public nature of inner banquets expanded in late Joseon. Such changes were reflected in the expression of feminine space in court ceremony paintings, including visualizing feminine space, which used to be hidden behind red beaded curtains, and placing the queen dowager’s seat at the clear apex of the hierarchical composition. The strengthening of the presence of the queen dowager and the expansion of feminine space in court paintings of late Joseon can be thought in relation to how the political influence of the women of the royal family expanded through their regency.
This paper examines the background of the construction of New Seonwonjeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace, the current state of the royal portraits of the Joseon dynasty that are stored there, and the court paintings installed to decorate the space where these eojin (御眞 royal portraits) are installed, such as folding screen paintings of five peaks and folding screen paintings of peonies. New Seonwonjeon Hall was constructed in the rear garden of Changdeokgung Palace in 1921 by recycling elements from royal buildings brought from Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. In the early 1900s the Japanese Government-General of Korea implemented a policy of minimizing the national rites for the royal family of the Joseon dynasty, and the shrine buildings in the respective palaces were demolished. Although this place is part of the dark history of the Japanese occupation period, it is also the last jinjeon (royal portrait hall 眞殿) ever built and enshrines the final 48 portraits of the kings of Joseon. Furthermore, it is a historical site housing relics related to royal portraits. Although most of the royal portraits in this hall were lost during the Korean War, folding screens of five peaks and folding screens of peonies and other royal paintings that decorated the areas around the eojin have survived, shedding light on the way paintings were installed inside a royal portrait hall, the traditional decoration known as “majestic ornamentation,” and the state of court paintings from the time after the Academy of Painting 圖畵署 was abolished until the mid-1930s. In conclusion, it is the only surviving royal portrait hall and shows the tradition of royal portrait production and “majestic ornamentation” 莊嚴 from the Joseon dynasty. New Seonwonjeon Hall offers important data on the trends in court painting, which did not cease even under Japanese colonial rule.
This paper discusses the functionalities and styles of Joseon paintings that were transmitted to Japan by considering them in terms of provenance and as objects with cultural biographies; further, this paper will note trends in Japanese collections regarding these works, particularly paintings on screens. Research on the history of art ownership looks at how artworks assume new cultural contexts through the journey from their place of origin to the final destination, and how new meanings are created through interactions between the different actors as human networks are built. Also, the function and implication of screens as diplomatic gifts will be examined by looking at the Joseon paintings which were reproduced onto screens. Screens were produced by collecting many paintings. Analysis of this method will provide insight into how objects evolve in cultural and materialistic terms. Based on the abundance of materials collected in the past century and the analysis of painting styles of the surviving works, this paper will perform a literature review from various angles and present recommendations regarding the study of Joseon paintings held in Japan. A case analysis will illustrate how works created new functions and meanings as they met various people—viewers, patrons, connoisseurs, and owners—during their journey departing the artist’s hand and arriving in a new cultural environment, which will highlight the changes of the cultural and material biographies of Joseon paintings in Japan. In particular, paintings concerning Korean embassies have survived with a relatively clear record of provenance, and many of those works remain intact as they have not moved around within Japan since their arrival from Korea. But some were cut and mounted on silk scrolls and reborn into Japanese-style screens in combination with other paintings and calligraphic works after the occurrence of brush talks or singing events. These variations are attributable to the functionalities and characteristics of screens and influenced the way viewers sensed and appreciated the works. Tracing the changes which the objects underwent offers insight into the process of repurposing Korean paintings in cultural and material terms.
This study aims to revisit the reception of Du Fu in the literary history of Korea, focusing on its canonicity and textuality. Jibong yuseol, an encyclopedic collection from 17th-century Joseon, Korea, vividly demonstrates how the author Yi Sugwang (1563–1628) attempted to subvert the transcendental positions of literary canons by positioning them in the networks of textual exegesis. Challenging the notion of canon as a perfect and fixed entity, Yi historicized the reception of Du Fu in Joseon and traced how this particular body of text became the most influential part of the canon and could be also deconstructed through interpretative performances. Highlighting the textuality of literary canons, which was considered fluid and flexible, this paper unravels the networks of interpretation drawn from the thousands of references found in Jibong yuseol. Special emphasis of this research also will be placed on the changing “material conditions” of the day, particularly after the Imjin waeran (1592–1598) war between Korea and Japan. The post-war intellectual environment witnessed the influx of a large number of books on Ming and Qing scholarship and prompted a significant shift in the perspective of the Joseon literati.
Not only King Sejong accomplished the reestablishment of the authentic aak in the Joseon Dynasty court, but he also tried to create “the real aak” of his era. The essence of the aak is reflected in his new music. The jeongdaeeop and botaepyeong were designated as ritual music for the royal ancestors by King Sejo, but it was King Sejong’s desire from the beginning and he intended to create new aak for his people. Therefore, it possesses a more widespread idea of the propagation of human virtue by music. In this sense, this cannot be interpreted as ethnocentric nationalism, since what he was looking for during his reign was the culmination of the perfect Confucian world. The reestablishment of the aak and the creation of new musical pieces and the influences of Hangeul on the creation of new music and the invention of a new notation system, jeongganbo, were all linked as an intertwined form in the achievements of King Sejong, and each were also respectively born as an individual cultural production.
Regardless of the geographical separation, from historical-cultural perspectives, Vietnam and Korea had very early exchanges, especially in culture, as both countries mutually absorbed the influence of Chinese civilization. Being influenced by Chinese civilization and bound by tributary relations with Chinese monarchies, Vietnam and Joseon had many mutual understandings in historical and cultural spheres. Besides, the contacts between Vietnamese and Joseon envoys in China were an essential opportunity promoting the cultural exchange and understanding between the two countries. This paper introduces results of research on the contacts—the composition of repartee poems and prose using the same rhyme sequence between Vietnamese and Joseon envoys in China. It can thereby partly explain the cultural closeness and similarities of the two countries and simultaneously set the stages for intensive cooperations between Vietnam and Korea in various fields, including culture.
This study aims to analyze the current state of Korean Studies in Central Asia and to suggest policy implications to promote Korean Studies abroad in terms of education to foster global citizenship. The results are interpreted based on the analysis of the literary data and perceptions of teachers who are members of the Association of Korean Studies Professors in Central Asia. According to the results, most teachers of subjects related to Korean society, history, or policy reported higher levels of awareness, and their classes were structured in a way to foster the next global generation, under such titles as human rights, education for sustainable development, and happiness education. However, they highlighted problems with educational materials related to international society trends, the establishment of a variety of subjects in the Korean Studies field, recruitment of Korean Studies doctoral degree teachers, etc. Based on these results, this study suggests that efforts to link each educational policy according to theme and content are necessary to empower students as global citizens and for the sustainable development of Korean Studies in the future.