The Artistry of Early Korean Cartography
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220pp. January 2009
The Artistry of Early Korean Cartography
Author: Han Young-woo; Ahn Hwi-Joon; Bae Woo Sung; Translator: Choi Byonghyon;
Look at any modern map of the Korean-Chinese border; Mount Paekdu will most likely be marked with a small triangle and the summit’s altitude printed to the side. Turning to a map of the Choson dynasty, however, this all-important peak with its sacred connotations will be rendered altogether differently. Much like a landscape painting, Paekdu’s rugged outline will seem to rise from the surface of the map. To early Korean cartographers, the land was a figure that moved and breathed, the locus of yin and yang and the field of operation for the five transformations (ohaeng). The maps they created thus rendered mountains and rivers as if they were human bones and veins. The lay of the land was seen as inseparable from the geomantic forces of creation and regeneration.

The Artistry of Early Korean Cartography is a window on the cultural, technological, and even spiritual factors that affected the way Koreans observed themselves, their landscape, and the rest of the world before the twentieth century. How did cartography stand astride the realms of art and science in pre-modern Korea? How do Koreans today understand the roots of their own culture, and what new perspective can their insights lend to our own views of the world? These questions and many others are taken up by three of Korea’s leading scholars, Han Young-woo, Ahn Hwi-Joon, and Bae Woo Sung. Nearly one hundred color images of important cartographic works open up the "Hermit Kingdom" to reveal its perceptions of itself and the world around it.

color illus.
Distributed for Tamal Vista Publications

Author: Han Young-woo; Ahn Hwi-Joon; Bae Woo Sung; Translator: Choi Byonghyon;



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