Friday, April 23, 2004

Funny, you don't look Korean

Rubens' 'Korean Man'In keeping with the recent theme of early East-West contact, I present for your consideration Rubens' "Korean Man" (1617). The model is said to be one "Antonio Corea,"* captured by the Japanese during the Second Imjin War and sold as a slave to a merchant named Francesco Carleti who imported him to Italy. What's more, Corea's had children and his line survives to this day. Some of his descendants were even invited back by the South Korean government several years ago.

*Taking his home country as his family name on the almost certainly correct assumption that there wouldn't be other "Coreanos" around to confuse him with.