Painting by Min Gyeong-gap, texts by Lee Eun-sang, calligraphy by Kim Chung-hyun
Joint ink-and-wash painting by three famous artists in 1970
YU president recently shed light on this and decided to restore the original
<akdonggang Cheollido (inside red frame) hung at the reading room at B1 of the YU central library [Photo YU]>
In the afternoon of the 22nd at the B1 reading room of the YU central library in Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk. There is a 24m long by 1m wide painting behind students hitting their books. The painting was so long that it could not be hung on just one wall, but had to be divided and hung on two sides of the wall. It is an ink-and-wash painting that descriptively painted Nakdonggang (Riv.) and the surrounding mountains. The painting is housed in a frame. However, dust is visible on it and the state of preservation is not very good.
If you look closely at the painting, you can see three names who are the authors of this painting. It says, ‘March 1, 1970’ in letters painted with a brush, and also says ‘Painting by Yusan Min Gyeong-gap’, ‘Text by Nosan Lee Eun-sang’ and ‘Calligraphy by Iljun Kim Chung-hyun’. This is ‘Nakdonggang Cheollido’ that was painted by the most famous eastern painter, poet and calligrapher in 1970 by traveling across Nakdonggang (Riv.) on a helicopter. It is reported to be the biggest ink-and-wash painting collaboration, but it is also famous as a painting made up of more than 2.5 million brush strokes.
Yusan Min Gyeong-gap (85) is an East Asian painter who painted ‘Jangseng’ that is hung on the reception room of the Cheonwadae. He also served as the chairman of the National Academy of Arts. Nosan Lee Eun-sang (1903-1982) is a poet who wrote poems such as Gagopa, Thinking of Home, Night at Seongbulsa Temple. Iljung Kim Chung-hyun (1921-2006) was Korea’s top calligrapher who also served as the president of the Korea Calligrapher Association. Basically, Korea’s first priceless collaboration painting from 50 years ago is hanging on the wall in the basement reading room. What happened?
The story goes back to 1970. According to personnel from YU, President Park Chung-hee said he wanted to give a gift in commemoration of the third anniversary of YU in 1967. He came up with the idea of the Nakdonggang Cheollido. The Nakdonggang Cheollido was completed by the greatest artists of the time and bestowed to YU where it was hung at the library in Daemyeong-dong in Daegu, where the campus was formerly located. Time passed and people lost interest. Around 2005, the painting was moved to its current location at the reading room in the basement of the central library in Gyeongsan.
YU President Sur Gil-soo recently shed light on the Nakdonggang Cheollido that was hung in the basement reading room. YU President Sur said, “My acquaintances at YU from the past such as National Assemblyman Joo Ho-young asked about the Nakdonggang Cheollido. I asked around and found that it was hung folded.” He added, “As this painting is a national heritage, we will utilize it as a symbol that represents the school.
YU organized a steering committee on the 22nd and decided to bring the Nakdonggang Cheollido outside of the reading room for management. They will soon make a photo-print of the painting and hang it at the entrance of the Cheonma Art Center, which is the school’s performing venue. The original will be restored and be stored at the YU Museum archives.