Donggwoldo (The Eastern Palace) is a painting of Gyeongbokgung, Joseon Dynasty’s main palace, with Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung to the east. The painting is in a form of an album that unravels over a folding screen with sixteen panels, each 6.5 ㎝ x 45.5 ㎝ in dimension. The overall dimension is 584 ㎝ x 275 ㎝. It is presumed there are three copies of the folding screen; the Donggwoldo at Korea University Museum has the letter ‘人’ on its cover, implying that the original was made in a set of three containing versions of ‘天’ and ‘地 as well.’
The ink and color on silk depicts mountains in the distant background with Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung Palaces in the forefront. The bird’s eye view of the palace - from the numerous buildings to artificial ponds, decorative boulders, and gardens ? are depicted in painstaking detail. The composition ignores depth so that the artist can display the palace facilities to the fullest. The painting in itself has great artistic qualities, but it also serves as a complete and thorough reference to the palaces’ structure, building styles, and location of miscellaneous facilities.
The original artist is unknown, although it is likely the painting was drawn by members of Dohwaseo (Bureau of Painting). The mountains are drawn using techniques of the Southern School, but certain aspects of the building and depth perception hint at a Western influence. By the looks of the palace buildings and its condition, the painting is thought to be from any year between 1826 and 1831 during King Sunjo’s reign. Currently, the painting is more valuable as a historic document than as an example of court art and its artistic style. It was actively used as reference when restoring the palace that had been converted into the theme park, Changgyeongwon, during Japan’s colonial rule.
- Designated Number : National Treasure no. 249-2
- Designated Date : June 23, 1995
- Category : Document painting (16 folding screen)
- Material, Size : colored painting on silk, 275 ㎝ x 36 ㎝
- Period and Author : Joseon Period (19th century), court painter
- Location : Dong-A University Museum