Paintings, Songs, and Board Games: Travels to Kŭmgangsan in Late Chosŏn Korea (1600-1900)
Kŭmgangsan, also known as the Diamond Mountains, has a vibrant and rich history as one of the most famous mountains in Korea. In the late Chosŏn period, sophisticated knowledge about the mountain was a prerequisite to being considered cultured. Therefore, (aspiring) elite groups used a variety of virtual options such as travel accounts, folding screens, board games and songs to travel to the mountain and acquire knowledge about Kŭmgangsan. These forms of virtual travel have an organizing principle in common that reveals pre-modern understandings of the arrangement of places and their histories to optimize the memorization of important cultural sites. Combining the study of visual, literary, sonic, and haptic dimensions of Kŭmgangsan, this research complements previous art history scholarship which focused primarily on the mountain’s depiction in landscape paintings.