Rare Joseon-era map of Korea to be auctioned

By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Jun 14, 2016 - 14:43
  • Updated : Jun 14, 2016 - 17:11

A colossal 19th-century map of the Korean Peninsula will go on the block at an art auction in Seoul on June 28.

The map of the Korean Peninsula “Daedongyeojido,” which measures 3.8 meters by 6.7 meters in total, was made by geographer Kim Jeong-ho in 1861.

The map is one of some 20 remaining Daedongyeojido maps and one of the three known colored versions to date. Maps of Daedongyeojido, translated as the great map of the East, are housed at museums and public institutions in Korea, including Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies of the Seoul National University. Two other painted maps are at the library of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard University. 

Daedongyeojido, the large-scale map of the Korean Peninsula made by geologist Kim Jeong-ho during Joseon Dynasty, 1861 (K Auction)

The copy that is up for auction was consigned to K Auction by a seasoned collector of traditional artworks, according to the auction company.

The map consists of 22 foldable booklets, with each page covering approximately 46.8 kilometers from north to south and 31.2 kilometers from west to east. They were printed using carved wooden blocks. The estimated price ranges from 2.2 billion won ($1.8 million) to 2.5 billion won ($2.1 million).

The map is one of some 70 artifacts to be auctioned at K Auction’s upcoming summer auction. 

“Sainam” by Jeong Seon, 18th century (K Auction)

Other highlights include an 18th-century ink-and-wash landscape by Joseon-era painter Jeong Seon, depicting a rugged mountain cliff and a mountain gorge in Danyang, North Chungcheong Province.

Titled “Sainam,” it is one of a prized landscape painting series by Jeong Seon portraying the “Eight Great Sceneries of Danyang.” Jeong Seon is regarded as a pioneer of Korean-style landscape painting during the mid-Joseon period, when most landscape paintings emulated the Chinese style. It is estimated to fetch between 120 million won and 150 million won.

Another painting created for an eight-part folding screen, presumed to be painted by a student of Joseon court painter Kim Hong-do, is on the block with an estimated price of 200 million won to 350 million won. The 19th-century painting depicts a group of 16 scholars, including Buddhist monks, studying in front of a magnificent scenery. 

Moon Jar, late 18th century (K Auction)

The auction house is also presenting a late 18th-century moon jar valued at between 150 million won and 250 million won.

The K Auction’s summer auction is scheduled to be held at 5 p.m. on June 28 at the auction house in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The preview exhibition runs from June 18 to June 28. For more information, visit

By Lee Woo-young (