New thoughts about Korean traditional paintings lining methods韓國水墨畫的裝裱

Mee Jung Kim 金美靜

Lining is a technique  that consists in applying paper on the verso of a primary support and mounting materials such as paper, silk or others fabrics, with paste in order to reinforce it. This fundamental technique requires elaborate skills for conservation and for mounting East Asian artefacts on paper and silk. Basically, the first lining material should be selected depending on the condition of the primary support or its purpose. We do not know when the use of paper as lining material instead of fabric like silk started; the Tibetan Thangka  is considered as a prototype of the hanging scrolls. Ts’ai Lun is usually credited for having invented paper in A.D.105. However, archaeological investigations have proved that paper existed in China much earlier, around 2 B.C..  From this time on, using paper as a backing method gradually developed. The evolution process from early primitive techniques to nowadays remains an obscure matter. It was probably during the Tang period (618-907) and the Song dynasty (960-1279) that the Chinese traditional lining method was achieved. This technique was to be transmitted from generation to generation until now.  In the case of Korea, most mounters and conservators use the Japanese lining method that was introduced from 1910 on. This paper focuses on study the traditional Korean lining papers and lining methods that were used during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). It is a well-known fact that the traditional handmade paper (hanji) is made from the mulberry bark and that it is used for backing and lining works of art on paper and silk. Nonetheless, the royal archives reveal the use of Chinese papers, such as the xuan zhi (宣紙) and the maobian zhi(毛邊紙) as the first lining paper, especially for the court paintings and calligraphy on silk.  The aim of this talk is to understand why the Joseon Court mounters selected and used Chinese papers. Are there any specific reasons that led to the use of these papers rather than the hanji as a lining paper?  The methods that were used will be taken into consideration: further archives provide additional information regarding the methods that were used by Korean mounters to line their works of art.

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Mee Jung Kim is a Ph.D candidate of Art History at Paris-Sorbonne University. Her Ph.D research Project is ‘A study of Korean traditional mounting during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910),focusing on overseas paintings and calligraphy’ (supervisor: Professor Antoine Gournay). After graduating from University Paris1 Pantheon Sorbonne with an MA and a BA degree in conservation, Kim has been working as an intern in the Louvre, the British Museum and the Jung-Jae Conservation Center in Seoul. She is currently working on a Ph.D Fellowship in the Hirayama studio at the British Museum.