Carl Strom and Jennifer Strom: Korean Buddhist Monasteries
Carl Strom and Jennifer Strom
Artstor has collaborated with Carl and Jennifer Strom and the University of California, Los Angeles to digitize and distribute approximately 3,200 images of the art and architecture of Korean Buddhist monasteries from the Strom Archive. The archive consists primarily of photographs of South Korean Buddhist temple and monastery art from the Choson Period (1392-1910), including altar paintings, murals, and sculptures — many of which have subsequently been lost or destroyed. Coverage extends from the 13th to the 20th centuries, with the largest concentration of paintings dating from the 17th through 18th centuries. In addition to the temple and monastery art, a portion of the archive documents the Emille Collection of Korean folk painting, which Carl Strom photographed before its eventual dispersal.
Carl Strom photographed Korean temple art in the mid-1970s, visiting and evaluating approximately 500 sites over the course of his travels. Together, Carl and Jennifer Strom assembled the Strom Archive, which documents approximately 120 locations, including Buddhist temples and monasteries, as well as Confucian, shaman, private ancestor, and roadside shrines. Burglind Jungman, Professor of Korean art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, generously collaborated with the Stroms and Artstor in this important effort to digitize a unique archive that preserves a visual record of a vanishing and under-studied art form. As Prof. Jungman notes, "Since Korea and the Korean Buddhist church have become quite wealthy over the last decades, temples have been renovated and temple walls re-painted. In most cases the new colors are much brighter than those used before. It is also quite possible that some art works have been lost in the process. Moreover, in the 1970s there was hardly any tourism in Korea — Research on Korean Buddhist art of the early modern period (Choson period, 1392-1910) only started in earnest in the 1990s. Before then it wasn't really considered of any particular value compared to the great periods of Korean Buddhist art of the 8th to 14th centuries. And even now, there are very few publications about monasteries and their decoration ..."