Korea and Beyond
Early Chosŏn Painting, Social Reorganization, and the Knowledge of Chinese Literati Arts – Burglind Jungmann
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Early Chosŏn Painting, Social Reorganization, and the Knowledge of Chinese Literati Arts
In Korean art history cultural exchange with China, including theoretical literature, painting styles, and iconographies, has so far been regarded rather as a “transfer” of knowledge and skills from China to Korea, as a one-way road, so to speak. Moreover, debates about visual culture of the early Chosŏn dynasty (朝鮮, 1392–1910) have been dominated by concepts of the literati arts, particularly of landscape painting relating to earlier Chinese masters. In addition, the focus on the evolution of style throughout the history of painting has put Korean painting in a position of dependence on Chinese developments, a hierarchically inferior position in which Korean artists would hardly be able to compete with their Chinese models. In contrast, recent art historical studies, particularly in the fields of Chinese and Japanese art, have employed different methodological approaches for the examination of art and visual culture. Questions have been raised in relation to political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts asking, for instance, how patrons and how the gender and social standing of artists have manipulated art production, or how art was used as a means of communication and self-representation. In addition, the concept of “influence” has been questioned.1 Rather than thinking of a certain personal or regional style actively influencing another person or region, the emphasis is now on the actual agent and the perspective has been turned around. That means that the...
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