[KS] Re: "Ch'ong-do" on banners of a Korean embassy to Japan

Jay Lewis jay.lewis at oriental-institute.oxford.ac.uk
Sat Feb 13 04:35:37 EST 1999

I haven't paid proper attention to these symbols, so I can't speak with
the authority of having tested the following hypothesis, but I think the
two characters mean "clear the way".  The Embassy was taking to the
Shougun a letter, which bore the seal of the Korean king.  From other
paintings, I seem to recall that when the king or his symbols went abroad 
in ChosOn, similar banners preceded the entourage.  

Jay Lewis

> Dear list,
> The "Edo" exhibit at the National Art Gallery in Washington D.C., includes
> a painting of the 1748 visit of a Korean embassy to Japan. At the head of
> the Korean entourage is a large banner emblazoned with the figure of a
> dragon. There is also a large drum with a Taeguk symbol on the side.
> Behind these two items are two vertical green banners with the characters
> "Chong-do" on them. The "Chong" character is "malkul chong" which has the
> meaning (among others) of "clear." It is also the character used in the
> "Qing" (Ching) Dynasty. The "do" character is the one that signifies road,
> way, path etc. Any ideas why a Korean embassy would be carrying banners
> with these characters on them?
> The painting, by one Hanegawai Toei.  can also be found in the catalog of
> the Edo exhibit on page 297.
> Just curious,
> Kirk W. Larsen


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