Saturday, May 13, 2017

Library treasures

On my one day off in D.C. from exhibit prep and promo, I got to visit the Library of Congress to view some Korean maps that I knew about from a paper written by LOC's Claire Dekle, their senior rare book conservator.
This first one was rebound (you can see holes from prior bindings to the left) into an almost drum leaf type binding. Each spread is a different map.
I love how evident the hand is on each page, and how the water is just painted in without any concern of making it look smooth or even.
This set of maps bound into a book has much bigger spreads that fold out, but they aren't all the same size.
I love the way that the islands are drawn. The water here is not as strong a blue but the style is similar, hasty filling in of water.
This is not as old as the other two and was under plastic so hard to shoot, but showed an are that is currently in North Korea, with Japanese and Chinese settlements marked in English, and north not being at the top of the map. I asked if these were power lines and she said likely telegraph lines.
This was the real stunner, the one I really wanted to see after reading the paper (and seeing Claire's presentation of it in Seoul three years ago). A map on a fan! Gorgeous, and a huge feat of conservation work. My colleague Minah worked on this Korean map project back when she lived in Philly and it is really remarkable to see (or not be able to see) the hours of work that went into all of these objects).
Claire also pulled for me a Chinese map showing parts of Korea, huge, woodblock printed, and beautiful. There she is with the proceedings from the seminar we were part of in Korea. We were in the maps division, which explains the globes (there are many more). Such a delight!

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