The ancient maps and old records of Joseon include the recognition of territories, the names of the regions, the information about the geography, the status of ship utilization, the historical details related to the ocean and the like.
Illustrated Descriptions of Three Countries
Hayashi Shihei (林子平) | Japan, 1786
Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu [Illustrated Descriptions of Three Countries] is a 1786 geographical work by Japanese scholar Hayashi Shihei (林子平). In one of the book’s maps, “The Complete Map of Three Countries,” Joseon and Japan are distinguished by color (yellow and blue, respectively).
Ulleungdo Island and Dokdo Island are also colored in yellow, matching the color denoting Joseon, a clear sign of recognition that these two islands were Joseon territory. The Complete Map of Joseon also shows Dokdo Island drawn within Ulleungdo Island, signifying that Dokdo Island is part of Ulleungdo Island.
The Revised Complete Map of Japanese Lands and Roads
Kaisei Nihon yochi rotei zenzu [Map of Japan] is a map made in 1773 by Nagakubo Sekisui (長久保赤水) (1717–1801). This is the first color Japanese map to mark the lines of longitude and latitude, but no color has been added to areas outside of Japan (Joseon, Dokdo Island, and Ulleungdo Island).
A territorial boundary line between Joseon and Japan is depicted on the East Sea. Here, Takeshima Island (竹島, Ulleungdo Island) and Matsushima Island (松島, Dokdo Island), shown with their Japanese names, are designated as Joseon territory. The boundary separating Korea and Japan is marked halfway between Dokdo Island and Oki Island (隱岐), indicating that the Japanese government at the time recognized Dokdo Island as the eastern boundary of the Korean Empire.
Hangeuljoseonjeondo / Map of Joseon Dynasty
The map is estimated to be the most ancient Korean map among the ancient Korean maps discovered. It was introduced for the first time in the thesis written by Gari Keith Ledyard, a renowned professor of Korean studies and it is expected to be used for toponymic studies. Depending on the size of the triangle shapes on the map, which imply mountains, it depicts the different size of mountains and mountain ranges. And the names of the places, major ports and islands are marked alongside the waterways. It clearly emphasizes the waterways rather than the land routes by drawing the waterways deep inside the lands. Also, Taemado (Tsushima) is marked with Korean islands such as Ulleundo, Usando (Dokdo), Jejudo and others.
Also, the maps are still highly valued because it used the scale called “Baek-li-chuk” which helped calculate the distance, and enhanced the accuracy of the outline of the Joseon marking the towns, signal-fires, the name of the places and others on the map in detail as the scale of the map became larger and changed to 1 : 420,000. One of the kings of Joseon, Yeongjo, was greatly impressed with the maps in 1757, he gave an order to copy the maps for the government office.
Late 18th century
The comprehensive map book released in the era of Joseon consists of 3 volumes containing maps ranging from a western-style world map and the complete map of Joseon to various regional maps. Since one of Joseon’s administrative offices, Dohobu, which was newly established in 1787 (in the first year of King Jeongjo’s reign), is placed around Hamgyong province on the map, it is estimated that the regional map was made under the reign of King Jeongjo or after his reign.
The map preserved by the museum is the second volume of the map book which has the maps of eight provinces of Korea and it is arranged in the order of Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, Jeolla, Gyeongsang, Gangwon, Hwanghae, Pyeongan and Hamgyong provinces. The regional maps are mostly copied from one of the most accurate maps at that time, Donggukjido, and the scales of some of the copied maps are reduced.
The records transcribed at the top and bottom of the map face from the direction of land to sea and vice versa. These notations provide a detailed record of the coastal geography and the appearance of villages, including the distance from each village to the main town (eup), the length of the sea route between each region, the number of houses, the depth of the water, and key facilities like storehouses and salt films. Details on the depth of the water are also subdivided according to close to the shore and the furthest from the shore.
the Late-Joseon Period
This is an early version of the Haejwajeondo (海左全圖), made during the Joseon dynasty. The periphery of the map depicts the history and geography of Old Joseon through Joseon. The map shows such features as mountain ranges, rivers, land routes, and boundaries of ‘Do’ (provinces). Notably, it also represents the seaways from the mainland to Dokdo, Ulleungdo, and Jejudo Islands.
the Late-Joseon Period
A small atlas of 16 leaves (32 pages both front and back) comprising eight maps of the provinces (do) and accompanying regional information. The front sides of the leaves show Gyeongsang, Hwanghae, Pyongan, and Hamgyong, while the verso sides show Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, Jeolla, and Gangwon. Each Province has its own entries for records. The very first part has maps indicating the locations and names of mountains, place names of each region, and rivers. The next section shows stations (yeok驛), garrisons (jin鎭), forts (bo堡), and fortresses (sanseong山城). Under stations are post stations (yeokcham驛站), with place names inscribed below. Next is the number of inhabitants’ dwellings, fields, number of vessels belonging to naval bases (suyeong), and number of commoners providing tax support (boin保人). The document also records the histories or the origins of important regions and distances from Seoul, among other details.
Frictiograph of Joseon Celestial Planisphere
Cheongsang-YeolchaBunya-Jido is astronomical chart engraved on the stone in King Taejo of Joseon 4th December. This Collection is very rare artefact taken a rubbing of a stone inscription on the back of the National Treasure NO.228. What is unique is that the shapes of letters, lines, and dots shown in this document are clearer than those of the back side of National Treasure NO.228. Various records such as sky, constellation, cosmology, production process, etc is shown on the marble constellation chart and the middle part of the stone, 305 constellations and 1,467 stars are depicted as well.
Each map has the information about towns, counties, roads, stations, major temples, mountains and streams as well as ports, docks and the like including the numbers of marines, warships and defence ships docking in each garrison. The red lines on the map seem to indicate the sea routes used for tax grain shipments.
In May 1862 (Cheoljong year 13), Im was appointed as both Hamyeol county superintendent and Iksan’s granary tax transport official, in charge of grain paid as taxes, stored at a state-run granary that held rice contributions collected from eight towns (eup) of the Honam region. Im Gyo-Jin kept daily records on details of grain taxes and itineraries while managing their transport. It is Korea’s oldest existing maritime transport journal.
When a ship on its way to Seoul, loaded with grain tributes, sank near Okgu county in Jeolla-do Province, the Okgu county superintendent reported it to the Governor of Jeolla-do Province, and he in turn reported it to the Ministry of Taxation (hojo). The document is a record of the discussions between the parties involved in an effort to resolve the matter.
the Late-Joseon Period
A book presumed to be a transcription of “Haedoji” by Wee Baek-Gyu (魏伯珪, 1727–1798) of Jangheung. The first part includes detailed records on the size of an island south of Jangheung, lakes, land taxes, tributes and such, as well as markings of waterways. Following the first part are records for the post stations of Dangjin, Yongam, Naju, Chilsanhae, Suwon, Hwanghae Province, and Pyongan Province, which are in the direction of the west coast waterway from Dangjin to Pyongan Province. The east coast waterway starts with Jangheung, followed by post stations along Heungyang, Suncheon, Goseong, and Namhae. The book also records various types of vessels and information on currents and tide times.