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(unabridged version of an article written by Henny Savenije © which is released in the spring issue of Korean Culture published by Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, e-mail webmaster at henny-savenije.pe.kr) (Korean culture Vol. 21 No. 1 Spring 2000 page 4~19. Reprinted with the permission of the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles.) Pictures on this website are watermarked and copyrights are deposited at Digimarc
2. The age of the discoveries
3. Dutch cartography
4. Van Linschoten
5. Ortelius and Texeira
6. Jodocus Hondius
7. Willem Jansz. Blaeu.
8. Martinus Martini.
9. Hendrick Hamel.
10. French Cartography
11. d'Anville and his Korean source.
12. Korean developments.
13. Map overview
15. Timeline of Western publications about Korea
16. High quality scans of the pictures
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This digitally enhanced copy of the Gangnido was restored by Ryukoku University of Japan. The 1402 map outlines China, Arabia, Africa and Europe and an exaggerated Korean Peninsula. Provided by Choi Seon-wung
About two months ago, renowned Korean scholar Choi Suh-myun received an unexpected package from Atsushi Hirata, director of the Ryukoku University Library in Japan.
Choi was taken aback by its content: a masterful digitally enhanced recreation of a 15th century world map - the oldest world map in existence.
The map has immense historical significance, not only for the world - but especially Korea. Originally drawn in 1402 by three Koreans, it easily predates any comprehensive world map by Chinese, Japanese or European cartographers.
The name of the map originally created by Kim Sa-hyeong, Yi Mu and Yi Hoe is called the Map of Integrated Lands and Regions of Historical Countries and Capitals, also known as the Gangnido. The Gangnido is the cartographers’ synthesis of two Chinese maps, both of which have long been lost.
Little is known of the original map’s fate. At some point in the 15th century, historians assume it was copied in Korea before being stolen by invading Japanese forces later in the next century. This is the copy that exists at Ryukoku University today.
Choi said he found the digitally enhanced map’s exuberant colors and elegant calligraphy even more vivid than the centuries-old Gangnido copy, which he saw a few years ago at Ryukoku University in Kyoto. In fact, it took 10 years for the university to digitally restore the modern Gangnido’s faded color and blurred letters.
The Gangnido incorporates the known world at the time of the early Joseon Dynasty. Because its production was before Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America in 1492, the ancient map only delineates Asia, Europe and Africa. The map is also celebrated because it clearly marks the Nile River.
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