Woodblock printed painting albums and manuals from early modern China played a significant role in sparking new changes in the artistic programs of late Choson Korea (1650–1800). Interestingly, while such art books were firmly rooted in the middle-class public in China, most pictorial and literary evidence, however, tells us that these same books were used exclusively by highly positioned artists and critics in early modern Korea. Based on this disparity of readership, this paper argues that inequalities in cultural exchange and communication between early modern China and Korea unexpectedly created an interesting case in which mis-information gave rise to a new source of artistic inspiration.
J.P. Park teaches at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Art by the Book: Painting Manuals and the Leisure Life in Late Ming China and Keeping It Real!: Korean Artists in the Age of Multi-Media Representation in addition to a series of articles on Chinese and Korean art. He is currently completing a book on early modern Korean art and literature, titled A New Middle Kingdom: Paintings and Cultural Politics in Late Choson Korea (1650–1850).