Parallels in arts of Joseon dynasty and Qing palace
In recent years, Korea’s vibrant art and culture have been recognized across the world, a mark of the nation’s thriving creativity. Taiwan is geographically close to the Korean Peninsula, separated only by the East Sea, and the two countries share a historical connection revealed in Qing documents that describe Korean seafarers accidentally drifting to Taiwan.
Building on the Qing Court collection, National Palace Museum now presents these historical accounts in the context of a detailed exploration of Korean art and culture. This exhibition focuses on the 18th-century golden era of Joseon and the prosperous Qing dynasty and unfolds an artistic dialogue between the two cultures.
This exhibition is divided into two sections: “Envoy Missions” and “Artistic Encounters”. The first uses artifacts to bring to life exchanges between the Joseon dynasty and Ming and Qing officials, while the second explores the aesthetic and cultural traits of art from the Joseon and Qing dynasties.
Alongside pieces from the National Palace Museum collection, generous contributions from institutions such as the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in the US, the Rijksmuseum of the Netherlands, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka, Japan, and Taiwan’s National Central Library and Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, lend depth and diversity, allowing for a comprehensive view of Joseon’s cultural and artistic heritage.
SECTION 1: ENVOY MISSIONS
This section looks at Joseon’s language, history, and geography to shed light on its distinctive character. As the Korean Peninsula is connected to the Eurasian continent in the north, most interactions occurred overland. This section features envoys such as Dong Yue (1430–1502) and Zhu Zhi-fan (1561–1626), who were sent by the Ming dynasty to Joseon, and Bak Ji-won (1737–1805), who was sent to the Qing Empire. Their personal observations and artistic achievements provide a glimpse into these diplomatic exchanges.
This section also uses Joseon’s missions to the Qing to reveal details of travel routes and accommodation and the envoys’ appearances. Qing palace documents also recount tales of Koreans accidentally drifting to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands during their maritime ventures.
SECTION 2: ARTISTIC ENCOUNTERS
This section showcases the various materials and forms used in Joseon art, featuring calligraphy, painting, antiquities, and rare books, and also delving into themes such as “longevity” and “scholarly accoutrements”, prevalent in late Joseon art. Interestingly, these recurring motifs not only transcend the various media but also overcome barriers of space and time, embodying an idea of universality that has been celebrated throughout the art of East Asia.