Seoul, South Korea: The largest and most detailed map of Joseon-era Korea, called Daedongyeojido (Territorial Map of the Great East), was made 150 years ago by scholar Kim Jeong-ho (ca. 1804 – ca. 1866). The creation of this historic map, which is National Treasure No. 850, is being celebrated in an exhibition at the National Museum of Korea called “Daedongyeojido: The Country Embraced in a Map.”
The exhibition will run through July 24, 2011. It aims to shed light on Kim’s achievements through an exploration of Korean cartography in the 17th and 18th centuries. The map is rarely shown completely unfolded. “Without a doubt, Kim achieved something great and we cannot talk about Korean maps without mentioning Daedongyeojido,” said Lee Hyo-jong, the director of the exhibition. “But people usually think about the map without realising how advanced cartography was in Korea in the 17th and 18th century.”
The exhibition features 55 artifacts related to Kim’s mapmaking process, including Dongyeodoji, a record of Kim’s travels believed to have been written by Kim himself, as well as the complete 22-volume Daedongyeojido and several woodblock prints of the map (National Treasure No. 1581).
Also featured in the exhibition is Kim’s first map of Korea, called Cheonggudo (Treasure 1594-2). The Cheonggudo map contains detailed information on population and distance from the capital for the villages therein.
Maps of Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, Gyeongsang and Gangwon from the 18th century are also displayed to show early attempts at mapmaking and how Kim used them to develop his own maps.