AAS Annual Meeting

Korea Session 733

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Session 733: Korea in the "Third Space": Cross-Cultural Confrontations, Appropriations, and Reinterpretations in Korea, China, and Japan

Organizer and Chair: Sunglim Kim, Dartmouth College, USA

Discussants: Jiwon Shin, Arizona State University, USA; Chin-Sung Chang, , South Korea

Korea, China, and Japan have continuously interacted with each other, both harmoniously and adversely. Their complex relationships have shaped and reshaped the cultures and histories of all three countries. This panel explores cross-cultural challenges, compromises, appropriations, and reinterpretations in art and literature. Cultural influence is never a direct, one-way street from a “stronger” culture to a “weaker” one: rather, constant compromises and appropriations are made in the “third space” of a new, hybrid culture. Our topics how artistic forms and media were reinterpreted and transformed from one culture to another, how the transformed borrowings can be recognized, and how artistic forms and meanings mutated through time and class. Jong Mook LEE explores what several Korean consorts married to Chinese emperors over seven centuries contributed to Chinese imperial culture, and how Chinese literati, and later Korean literati, perceived and recorded the activities of these foreign-born women. Kyung Hee RHO compares how one Tang Chinese poetry collection was selectively edited and transmitted through Korean and Japanese societies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and reflects on how these related to the broader cultural relationships in East Asia. Sung Lim KIM investigates how Colonial period Japanese scholars catalogued, interpreted, and in some cases expropriated, Korean art history, and the Korean responses to these actions. Finally, Jiyeon Kim looks at Japanese painters who lived and practiced in Korea during the Colonial period, how they defined themselves and their position within both cultures, and how Korean painters responded to their presence and influence.

Korean Women as Imperial Consorts in China
Jongmook Lee, Seoul National University, South Korea

Throughout history, many Korean women became consorts to Chinese emperors. The records can be traced back to as early as Korea’s Three Kingdoms period. Chinese emperors known to have Korean consorts include Wanyan Shilu (1005-1021) of the Jin dynasty; Kublai Khan (1279-1294) of the Yuan dynasty; Hongwu (1368-1398), Yongle (1403-1424), and Xuande (1426-1435) of the Ming dynasty; and Qianlong (1736-1795), emperor of the Qing dynasty. From the 17th century, Chinese literati began to compose poems on the nature and deeds of these imperial consorts of Korean origin. As Chinese literature flowed to Korea through tributary missions of the 18th century, Korean scholars became interested in these poems. This paper examines and analyzes both original Chinese poems and the reactions and reflections of the Korean literati of the 18th century, and explores the significance of these sources in the study of history and literature.

Circulation and Transformations of Tang Poetry's Anthology in Joseon's literary world of the early 17th century
Kyung Hee Rho, , South Korea

Propagation of Chinese poetry throughout East Asia during the 17th and18th centuries is analyzed from a comparative perspective. From the 16th century, the popularity of Tang poetry in Chosŏn Korean and Edo Japanese societies reflected interest in the poetics of the earlier and later Seven Ming Masters(前後七子). Understanding the Ming masters’ reference to Tang poetry raised the interest in studying the Tang models. As a result, anthologies of Tang poetry gained popularity and were re-edited in both countries. Chosŏn and Edo societies exhibit a sharp contrast in their accepting Tang poetry, with completely different results. The contrast can be traced to differences in the routes of propagation, the social classes having access, and the development of the publication industry. This paper argues and analyzes this dependence of cultural propagation upon the specific environments of societies. This paper sheds light the relationships between these East Asian countries during the traditional times in more general ways.

The Battle over Korean Art History
Sunglim Kim, Dartmouth College, USA

“History is written by the victors.” In the 1920s, during the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea, the Japanese and Koreans struggled over interpretations of Korean art history. The Japanese denigrated Korean painting as second-rate mimicry of Chinese painting, while Korean nationalists looked back to styles and times in Korean art of which they could feel most proud. Government-sponsored Japanese scholar Sekino Tadashi’s Korean art history book, Chosen Bijutsushi, began with Han Chinese influence, used the Japanese invasion of 1592 to divide the Chosŏn into two periods, and applied Japanese aesthetic preferences to Korean art. In attempt to write a “modern” and “objective” art history, renowned collector, calligrapher, and voice of Korean independence O Se-ch’ang wrote Kŭnyŏk sŏhwa ching (Compilation of Biographies of Korean Painters and Calligraphers). O was the first Korean to arrange his information in chronological order and to avoid personal opinions. O claimed that he was a mere compiler of data, but is it possible to be free from bias in writing history? Although scholars have been using this book uncritically as a basic reference, research reveals that it reflects both personal and political agendas. We will also explore how this book has influenced Korean art historiography.

Identity and Politics: Changing Meaning of Orchid in the Paintings of Zheng Sixiao (1241-1318), Zheng Xie (1693-1765), and Prince Yi Haŭng (1820-1898).
Jiyeon Kim, University of Ulsan, USA

In the period of Japan’s colonial rule over Korea, a number of Japanese painters moved to Korea to start and continue their careers. Sponsored and protected by the colonial government, they established artistic organizations, held exhibitions, and taught other Japanese residents as well as Koreans. Comfortably settled in Korea but nevertheless marginalized in their own country, they played the role of introducing avant-garde themes and styles to the Korean audience but at the same time explored the authentic colonial experience to find a legitimate place in the art scene of their home country. This paper will examine the artistic activities of some of the Japanese painters who worked in colonial Korea, discuss how they strived to define their position between home and the colony, and finally look into how contemporary Korean painter responded to their works and attitude.