London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Diamond Mountains: Travel and Nostalgia in Korean Art

From the publisher’s website:

A dazzling exploration of the pictorial traditions inspired by Korea’s legendary Diamond Mountains

The Diamond Mountains, known in Korea as Mount Geumgang, are perhaps the most famous and emotionally resonant site on the Korean Peninsula, a breathtaking range of rocky peaks, waterfalls, lagoons, and manmade pavilions. For centuries the range has inspired cultural pride and a vast outpouring of creative expression. Yet since the partition of Korea in the 1940s, situating them in the North, the Diamond Mountains have remained largely inaccessible to visitors, shrouding the site in legend, loss, and longing.

This book examines the visual representation of this remarkable landscape from the 18th century to the present day. It explores how Jeong Seon (1676–1759) revolutionized Korean painting with his Diamond Mountains landscapes, replacing conventional generic imagery with specific detail and indelibly influencing generations of artists in his wake. It also discusses the potency of these mountains as an emblem of Korean cultural identity, as reflected in literature and in exquisitely detailed album leaves, handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and screens. This magnificent volume is the first in English to survey this rich artistic tradition and bring these distant mountains into view.

Soyoung Lee is curator in the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Ahn Daehoe is professor of Korean and classical Chinese literature at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul. Chin-Sung Chang is professor of East Asian art history at Seoul National University. Lee Soomi is executive curator at the National Museum of Korea, Seoul.


Jeong Seon’s Album of Mount Geumgang | Lee Soomi
Picturing Diamond Mountains: True Views and Beyond | Soyoung Lee
The Landscape beofre the Eyes: Mounts Geumgang, Fuji, and Huang | Chin-Sung Chang
In Praise of the Diamond Mountains: Literary Journeys | Ahn Daehoe

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.