Chin-Sung Chang - Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University
This talk explores how public knowledge of Western things, such as the telescope and the camera obscura, took shape in late Joseon Korea, and how it was used in painting. Korean envoys to Beijing were key players in introducing and circulating Western curiosities and novelties. They brought numerous books on Europe and some of the Western scientific instruments to Korea, and laid the foundation for the rise of Western learning. Telescopes, self-sounding clocks, world maps, and books on European geometry, such as Matteo Ricci’s (1552-1610) Jihe yuanben (Elements of Geometry) of 1607, opened up an exciting period of time during which the impact of Western learning on the minds of Korean scholars was profound. This talk will examine the textual records of Western scientific devices and visual materials in order to see how public discourse on the West was formulated. Chang’s analysis will illuminate whether Western things played an important role in shaping the visual culture of transnational interaction in late Joseon Korea.