New Exhibition of Late Joseon Art & Artifacts,
including Spring Dawn of Baegak Mountain (An Jung-sik)
Starting July 31, the National Museum of Korea (Director Kim Youngna) presents a special exhibition of 57 cultural articles from the late Joseon period, on display in Joseon Dynasty rooms IV and V on the first floor.
Highlights include the first public display of the Summer and Autumn editions of Baegak Chunhyo (Spring Dawn of Baegak Mountain) by An Jung-sik, landscape paintings that were recently designated as Registered Cultural Heritage #485. Other key items include a portable cauldron sundial (Angbu Ilgu, Treasure #852) and other articles used by the middle class of the Joseon Dynasty, as well as the dynasty’s royal protocols, which were published and stored at Oegyujanggak (Outer Royal Library).
The crown jewel of the exhibition is Hwaseong Neunghaeng Banchado (Painting of the Royal Procession to the Fortified City of Hwaseong), a scroll painting depicting King Jeongjo’s historic visit to the newly completed fortress of Hwaseong (present-day Suwon). Another important work is the eight-panel folding screen painting that captures King Jeongjo’s visit to his father’s tomb in Suwon. The exhibition also displays a handwritten letter from King Jeongjo, which was first shown in 2009 and received an enthusiastic response from the academic world. The letter is presented along with an expert’s commentary, as well as the epitaph for the tomb of Jeongjo’s father, Crown Prince Sado. The letter and the epitaph shed new light on the struggle between Crown Prince Sado and his father, King Yeongjo, which ultimately led to the prince’s tragic death.
The exhibition also examines the lives of the “middle class” of late Joseon, made up largely of people practicing medicine, law, accounting, astronomy, and science. The life of Joseon’s middle class is represented by acupuncture needles, a Feng Shui compass, a cauldron sundial, as well as books on acupuncture, moxibustion (traditional Chinese medicine using mugwort), and foreign languages, especially Japanese and Chinese. The items also include a fine ink wash painting by Jeon Gi, Maehwachookdo (Korean Apricots and Thatched House).
The event also presents a selection of Uigwe, the royal protocols of the Joseon Dynasty. The new collection of Uigwe that were returned from France 145 years after being plundered is currently touring Korea’s major cities, including Gwangju and Daegu. In the meantime, the existing Outer Gyujanggak collection of royal protocols has been presented in the museum’s permanent exhibition hall since October of 2011, with the exhibited texts rotating every three months. The current exhibition includes the Royal Protocol on the Directorate for the Mortuary Palace of Crown Prince Sado, a valuable source of information on the preparation of Crown Prince Sado’s funeral, including the establishment of temporary shrines for the relics and the spirit tablet of the deceased prince.
The exhibition also presents Sasangeumpyodo (Map of Prohibition Marks in Four Mountains), which outlines a logging ban in the Uiju-gun area in Pyeongbuk and around the capital of the Joseon Dynasty.
1. Baegak Chunhyo (Summer Edition), An Jung-sik, Registered Cultural Heritage #485
2. Baegak Chunhyo (Autumn Edition), An Jung-sik, Registered Cultural Heritage #485
3. Hwaseong Neunghaeng Banchado (Painting of the Royal Procession to the Fortified City of Hwaseong)
4. Portable Cauldron Sundial (Treasure #852)