[KS] from Namdaemun or from Tongdaemun?

J.Scott Burgeson jsburgeson at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 7 08:30:49 EDT 2014

The photo on the right has shadows falling in a straight line to the right, indicating that it is probably late afternoon or close to sunset. Thus, the photographer was probably facing due north (unless the photo has been reversed somehow), since the shadows are falling in a nearly perpendicular angle against the north-south axis.

I think the mountain ridges are distinctive enough that someone on the ground could easily work out whether the photos were taken from the Namdae-mun or Tongdae-mun area. However, my instinct is that it was taken from the Tongdae-mun area, since one would probably see more mountains otherwise, and probably not so dense a concentration of Korean-style houses (not sure when exactly Western buildings started to appear in the downtown Chung-gu area, but those would certainly be distinctive). 

Scott Bug

On Tuesday, October 7, 2014 12:02 PM, Frank Hoffmann <hoffmann at koreanstudies.com> wrote:

Picture puzzle:

In order to identify the perspective shown in a 1904 graphic (done in 
paris after a photo) I am trying to figure out from where these early 
two photos were taken.
-> http://koreanstudies.com/articles1/place.jpg
(will later be removed again)

According to Samuel Hawley who posted it, the photo on the LEFT is by 
George Foulk. So I suppose it must have been taken between 1885 and 
1887. Hawley states in the caption: "central avenue in Seoul leading 
west from *Tongdaemun*, the Great East Gate."

The photo on the RIGHT must, I think, also be from the late 1880s, but 
certainly from before 1897, as there are no streetcars and no electric 
powerlines to be seen yet. You find this photo reproduced in various 
Korean and Japanese Internet blogs (there mostly with the date "1880s" 
given). In all those posts the location the photo was shot from is 
given as *Namdaemun*.

The mountains in the background tell us that we are looking into the 
same direction -- well, almost.
The distance from the viewer to those mountains, though, appears not to 
be the same. However, if I cut the photo on the left (by Foulk), so the 
photos show us more or less the same area, then that first impression 
proofs to be wrong:
--> http://koreanstudies.com/articles1/place2.jpg

My simple question is:
Does anyone know for sure if these two photos were taken from Namdaemun 
Gate OR from Tongdaemun Gate, and towards what direction? There are 
plenty of notes on various Internet blogs, but as it goes people just 
copy information, also wrong information. Maybe you would know by 
identifying those mountains?
This, by the way, is a view from Namdaemun towards Myŏngdong Cathedral 
in construction (the big building in the background, middle of the 
picture, with its tower not yet raised).
--> http://koreanstudies.com/articles1/place3.jpg


Frank Hoffmann
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://koreanstudies.com/pipermail/koreanstudies_koreanstudies.com/attachments/20141007/c02201fe/attachment.html>

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list