[KS] Kanghwa Treaty diplomatic protocol

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Thu Nov 15 18:30:11 EST 2007

Well, not quite so fast -);  The chairs and much 
more on the table you see in my photo of An's 
1883 painting (which, by the way, is in the 
collection of Sungjôn University) seems to be of 
Chinese make, yes. That's a great point. China 
was indeed the only Asian nation, I think, that 
early on used chairs. But were Chinese 
delegations to China seated on chairs -- I mean 
before the 1870s or 80s? I don't know. It is also 
very possible that in 1876 these same chairs seen 
in An's 1883 painting were already on Kanghwa-do. 
After all, not just did the General Sherman go up 
the Taedong-gang in the north, the French have 
had their warships and their sailors, priests, 
and other expedition members on Kanghwa that same 
year, for an extended period of time. And in June 
1871 the American flagship USS Colorado landed on 
Kanghwa Island; around 350 Koreans were killed 
"in battle" (Americans lost only 3 men) and the 
entire island was occupied. In 1876 the 
Taewôn'gun was out of the picture and Korea tried 
everything to please the threatening foreign 
forces. Another point, however, is that the 
island's harbor (well, the place where the USS 
Colorado and later in 1876 the 16 Japanese war 
ships landed), according to a photo I saw (and of 
course, can't find it now), was full of barracks. 
Is it so unreasonable that those barracks had 
chairs (maybe taken from either the French ship 
(therefore Chinese) or from the USS Colorado -- 
see photo below of sailors from the USS Colorado? 
After all, there also were talks between American 
and Korean officials ... Korean officials where 
even on board the USS Colorado while the ship 
fought against their troops. By the way, the 
Chinese Ming and Qing chairs I have seen don't 
quite look like those in the painting -- with 
those narrow back rests.

Frank Hoffmann
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