Korean Yeojido Atlases

ArticleHow did Korean cartography evolve in the Joseon period? Explore this interactive Map Chat from the MacLean Collection to learn more about a fascinating collection of atlases.

January 11, 2023
231 words / 2 minutes

This is the seventh in a series of Map Chats commissioned by Richard Pegg, Director and Curator of the MacLean Collection in Illinois. This interactive Map Chat explores the world of Korean atlases or Yeojido (輿地圖).

During the late Joseon period (1398-1910) Korean mapmakers assembled atlases, generally known as Yeojido (輿地圖) in Korean. This title is derived from the same characters in Chinese, pronounced Yudi tu (Maps of the Empire), as China had long been a source for cartographic ideas and principles. The specific historical dating and origins for the Yeojido are complex and difficult to determine precisely, as there are typically no names or production dates found on them. During the late Joseon dynasty, interest in cartography and the production of maps in general became widespread in Korea. The atlas, a set of maps bound together, was not new but it had become popular and widespread in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Korea. Previously, map production had been primarily sponsored and regulated by the royal court. During this time, the court was still a patron but a shift had occurred with the addition of a large number of private patrons. The most popular format, given current extent examples, was that of the atlas.

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See the maps from this project in Digital Collections

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