An ink-and-wash painting was found in the basement reading room at the Yeungnam University Central Library Building. The painting was covered with dust, and no one had paid attention to it. Accidentally, YU president Sur Gil-soo discovered that this painting is known as ‘Nakdonggang Cheollido.’
The Nakdonggang Cheollido depicts 1,000 li (li is Korean traditional distance unit, one thousand li is about 400 km or 250 miles) around the Nakdong River. The landscape in the painting spans from the source of the Nakdong River to where the river ends in Busan, and is painted in detail on a canvas 24 meters wide by 1 meter long. Someone says, for such a large painting, the painter must have gotten in a helicopter several times.
Three famous and popular artists from the 1970s all contributed to the Nakdonggang Cheollido. The painting was drawn by Min Gyeong-gap. H e a lso p ainted ‘Jangsaeng,’which is hung in the reception room at The Blue House. Lee Eun-sang – a famous author and poet of ‘Seongbulsaui bam’ (it means Night of Seongbul Temple) – composed the poem, which was written in calligraphy by Kim Chung-hyeon, on the left side of the Nakdonggang Cheollido. Calligrapher Kim was a director of the Korean Calligrapher Association
Furthermore, it is the largest work among a collaborative ink-and-wash painting in Korea. How could such a valuable painting be hung on the wall in the reading room in the basement of YU Library Building?
In 1967, Yeungnam University celebrated the third anniversary of its foundation. To celebrate it, Korean President Park Chung-hee decided to give the painting to Yeungnam University as a gift. Consequently, until 2005, it had been displayed at the former YU campus in Daegu, but it was moved to YU Gyeongsan campus – its present position. Unfortunately, it was forgotten by the people.
The Obser ver interviewed President Sur Gil-soo and asked about the Nakdonggang Cheollido. We asked President Sur what he has planned for this discovery and how it might continue to represent YU. President Sur replied: “Heo Chan-nam, President of Samil Textile Company, donated 100 million won for the relocation of the Nakdonggang Cheollido. Now we have organized a committee in order to relocate it to the Chunma Arts Center Lobby. On March 26, we also interviewed Min Gyeong-gap, the artist of the Nakdonggang Cheollido, and are working hard on ways to recreate the Nakdonggang Cheollido. I hope that the Nakdonggang Cheollido will soon serve as another symbol of Yeungnam University.”
Our second question, posed to President Sur, was what is the reason he often finds relics on campus. His replied: “I think that it is necessary to collect the history remains scattered on campus. Last year, two pieces of our collections were designated cultural assets. These cultural properties are located at Yeungnam University Central Library, named ‘Daebuljeong-yeolaemil-insujeung-youijebosalmanhaengsuneung-eomgyeong’ state-designated culture property No. 1940. In addition to this, the ‘Cheonggudo’ of Kim Jung-ho, state-designated culture property No. 1594-2, was designated in December 2008. ‘Buncheongsagi sanggammolanmun maebyeong,’ state-designated culture property No. 239, was designated in 1963. As such, we have four state-designated culture property. For the cultural assets designated as treasures, it is important to understand and preserve the relics on campus in order to preserve Yeungnam University’s long traditions. Does history mean ‘endless conversation between past and present?’ I think that it is necessary to know the history well in order to get good ideas, a direction or the development of energy to solve the problems of the future to come and the present.”
Yeungnam University decided that the Nakdonggang Cheollido should be taken out from the Central Library Building, a copy should be made, and the painting should be displayed as soon as possible. When the copy is made, it will be exhibited at the Chunma Arts Center, and the original painting is going to be stored at the Yeungnam University Museum.