A New Way of Seeing: Commercial Paintings and Prints from China and European Painting Techniques in Late Chosŏn Court Painting
Vol. 22 No. 1
pp. 61~87 (all 28 pages)
Chosŏn court painting, Han Palaces, linear perspective, chiaroscuro,
Sino-European painting, Suzhou print
It is noted that European pictorial technique was introduced during the Chosŏn dynasty via China and that Western objects exchanged through diplomatic activities by Chosŏn envoys played a significant role in the spread of this new painting style in Korea. However, it is not fully understood how Chosŏn people perceived Western painting techniques, which elements they favored and which were less appreciated. Nor do we know by what routes the new visual elements were transmitted. Focusing on multiple channels through which various images were imported and the diverse agents who took part in the cultural transmission between Chosŏn Korea and Qing China, this study explores Chosŏn Korea’s reception and understanding of Western painting techniques and the application of this new style in their works of art, such as “Han Palace” or “Towers and Pavilions” in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition, Chinese paintings and prints, which were mass-produced for larger markets and circulated throughout China as well as exported to other foreign countries are investigated as possible sources for the Chosŏn works. Taking paintings by professional painters in Beijing working outside of the Qing imperial court and Suzhou prints as vehicles of carrying the new artistic taste and pictorial techniques, this research proposes the assumption that these Chinese visual materials infused with Western style were imported to and circulated in Korea from the late eighteenth century onward and that these foreign images contributed to Korea’s (mis)perception and (mis)understanding of Chinese art and European pictorial conventions.