A secret meeting under the moon 月夜密會

Shin Yun-bok, better known by his pen name Hyewon, (born 1758) was a Korean painter of the Joseon Dynasty. Like his contemporaries Danwon and Geungjae, he is known for his realistic depictions of daily life in his time. His genre paintings are distinctly more erotic than Danwon's, a fact which contributed to his expulsion from the royal painting institute, Dohwaseo. Painting was frequently a hereditary occupation in the Joseon period, and Hyewon's father and grandfather had both been court painters. Together with Danwon and the later painter Owon, Hyewon is remembered today as one of the "Three Wons" of Joseon-period painting.

A young boy plucking an azalea 少年剪紅

A widow's lust in spring 嫠婦耽春

Lovers under the moon 月下情人

Nothing happens in the gibang chamber 妓房無事

Hyewon pungsokdo is an album of the genre paintings (pungsokhwa or pungsokdo) drawn by the Korean painter Shin Yunbok during the late Joseon dynasty. It was named after Shin's pen name, Hyewon, and comprises 30 paintings in total.

The album was drain away to Japan without any information given. In 1930, Jeon Hyeopil, later the founder of the Gansong Art Museum, purchased it from an antique dealer in Osaka, Japan and newly mounted the album. Oh Sechang, who was a journalist and pro-independence activist, wrote the subtitles and postface for the album. Hyewon pungsokdo is designated as the 135th National Treasure of South Korea and is held in the collection of the Gansong Art Museum located in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea.


Geobukseon shaped a turtle is the first ironclad warship in the world. Admiral Yi Sun-Sin(1545~1598) made this ship and drove many Japanese warships away with Geobukseon.



Name : Geobukseon - Turtle ship
Builders : Yi Sun-sin, Lt. Na Dae Yong
Operators : Joseon Dynasty
Built : circa 1590
Class and type : Panokseon type
Length : 30-37 m
Propulsion : 80 oarsmen
Complement : 50 soldiers
Armament : sulfur gas thrower, iron spikes, 26 cannons

The Turtle ship, also known as Geobukseon or Kobukson, was a type of large warship belonging to the Panokseon class in Korea that was used intermittently by the Royal Korean Navy during the Joseon Dynasty from the early 15th century up until the 19th century.

The first references to older, first generation turtle ships, known as Gwiseon , come from 1413 and 1415 records in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, which mention a mock battle between a gwiseon and a Japanese warship. However, these early turtle ships soon fell out of use as Korea’s naval preparedness decreased during a long period of relative peace.

Turtle ships participated in numerous victories against Japanese naval forces that supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi's attempts to conquer Korea from 1592-1598, inflicting heavy losses. However, their historical role may have been exaggerated since "the entire Korean fleet probably did not have more than half a dozen turtleboats in action at any one time".



16th century Korean turtle ship in a depiction dating to 1795. The woodblock print is based on a contemporary, late 18th century model



Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin is credited with designing the ship. His turtle ships were equipped with at least five different types of cannon. Their most distinguishable feature was a dragon-shaped head at the bow (front) that could launch cannon fire or flames from the mouth. Each was also equipped with a fully covered deck that was shielded to deflect cannon fire, and with iron spikes to discourage enemy men from attempting to board the ship.


Many different versions of the turtle ships served during the war, but in general they were about 100 to 120 feet long (30 to 37 metres long), and strongly resembled the Panokseon's bottom structure. The turtle ship was technically a hull that was placed on top of a Panokseon, with a large anchor held in the front of the ship, and other minor modifications.



On the bow of the vessel was mounted a dragon head which emitted sulfur smoke to effectively hide its movement from the enemy in short distance combat. The dragon head, which is considered the most distinguishing feature of the vessel, was large enough for a cannon to fit inside. The dragon head served as a form of psychological warfare, with the aim of striking fear into the hearts of Japanese sailors. Early versions of the turtle ship would burn poisonous materials in the dragon's head to release a poisonous smoke.

In the front of the ship was a large anchor. Below the anchor was a wooden crest that was shaped like a face, and these were used to ram into enemy ships.



Wedding Gift Receptacle  with "Double Joy" Motif



Small Bowl with Knobbed Lid 18.5x 12 cm



Dish and Lid with Geometric Pattern 26x8 cm

“Yi Sang-jae’s wancho art, accomplished after four decades of experience, is extraordinary. In his work, all the stripes are evenly woven, in good order and beautiful. The patterns of characters, flowers and cranes dotted around are nicely arranged to form a good natural composition. One of the greatest things of his art that excels others is that the front and back of a woven work is correctly matched.”

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collect old pictures and drawings of Korea

Henny Savenije


Unjusa Temple, lying buddhas


buddha in stone house. pagodas crisscrossing the valley

Unjusa Temple is unlike other temples in that it has unusual Buddha statues and pagodas – it is often referred to as a mysterious temple. The founder of Unjusa Temple is not known but it is speculated that it was built during the Silla Period(BC 57~935).
Unjusa does not have a Geumgangmun or Cheonwangmun, which are very often seen in Buddhist temples. The first thing you see when you enter Unjusa is the 9-story stone pagoda (National Treasure no. 796). The tower, again, does not have intricate designs, and is very simple. If you walk a bit from the 9-story pagoda, you come across a forked road. Go left, and you will see Chilseong Rock. Because it resembles the 7 stars of the Big Dipper, some people argue that the rock is imitating the constellation.

Follow the same road further and you will see two Buddha statueS, called Wabul, where Buddha is reposed on the side, lying down. These statues are, among the ones in Unjusa Temple, the most intricate in design and execution. Go up a bit further, and you will see the Siwibul Statue standing. Pass Siwibul Statue through the thick groves, you will come to 7-story stone pagodas and 5-story stone pagodas. What makes the stone pagodas of Unjusa Temple interesting to examine is that they each have some unique designs.

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Tour to Korea, more photo



Woonchang Cho, a master in the Korean traditional art of 'Nakjuk'. Woonchang Cho is standing in front of the bamboos, which are boiled and dried in preparation of the 'nakjuk'. The floral and leaf pattern is seared with an iron on a 'nakjuk' quiver. There is nothing else he needs, as he draws with fire.
Nakjuk is considered one of the most complicated technique amongst the applied fine art of 'juk'.Woonchang Cho(65) has drawn with fire using one curved iron for 30 years.

'Nakjuk' is a traditional technique which uses an iron, heated on pine charcoal fire, to inscribe a pattern, a drawing, or a writing on the surface of a bamboo that has been boiled and dried. In Korea, the 'Nakjuk' technique was transmited by Chang-gyu Park from the time of Soonjo in Chosun Dynasty until the Japanese occupation.
In 1969, it was registered as the 31st issue of important cultural properties.







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