Scenes from Busan to Edo

As members of the envoy, one of the duties of the staff painters was to paint the scenery along the route to Edo. Not only did these paintings convey an appreciation of the landscape, they also supplied the Joseon court with visual information about foreign territories. In this album, Lee Seongnin, the official attending court painter for the 1748 envoy, depicts memorable scenes from his voyage from Busan to Edo. Lee identifies each of the thirty scenes by a geographic name on written on the right side and includes local details such as weather conditions, seasonal changes and local customs.

Painting of 30 Scenic Sites on the Journey of the Royal Envoy to Japan (槎路勝區圖)

Lee Seongnin (李聖麟), Joseon dynasty, 35.3x67.5cm, National Museum of Korea ⓒNational Museum of Korea 

This work consists of fifteen double-sided album leaves mounted on two handscrolls. 

The first section of the album is comprised of landscape scenes while the second section includes colorful representations of local customs. 

All thirty scenes depict characteristics of the local region, immersing the viewer in the experience of travelling through a foreign land.

Volume 1

: Scenes primarily related to the sea route

Volume 2

: Scenes primarily related to the land route

* The two screens - Entering the City of Edo (入江戸) and Viewing a big lake at Hakonemi’ne (箱根嶺上館臨大澤) - are preserved in a switched order. 

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