Hendrick Hamel's journal (click for Korean)
 Dutch History in the Far East
 Korean studies, related to Hamel
 Links about Korea
Henny Savenije's personal involvement
Search list

This is my personal portal to the research I did about several topics in Korean history and culture. The most important site is about Hendrick Hamel. The first Westerner to write about Korea (1666). Part of the Hamel story is also translated in Korean, but most of the documents are translated from 17th century Dutch into English. In another site you will find the article Frits Vos wrote about the material which can be found in Witsen's book. I also made a website about Western maps of Korea, I made one about old pictures of Korea. Finally I have done research for my genealogy. Check out also my links which took me a long time to compile and which are impossible to maintain, due to "linkrot", but are an important part of this project. Who am I and why did I do this?

Well I think the first question is the least important, but somewhere in this enormous pile of information you can find a link to some personal pages.

I did this, because I think that science should be available for everyone in an easy accessible way. Papers and results should be published so that everyone can judge and give their opinion. The internet gives us ample opportunities to do so. Sciences in general and Korean studies in particular suffer too much from protectionism and copyrights. Go ahead and take what you want. As long as you credit me, I don't care. I don't charge money for it.

Have fun exploring this enormous amount of interesting information about Korea.

E-mail webmaster at

koreanman.jpg (13830 bytes)

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"Man in Korean Costume" drawing made by Rubens, in 1617/18 -- black chalk and some traces of red chalk on paper, 38.4 x 23.5 cm, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), reg. no. 83.GB.384) --

Update: "Korean man" identified. Extract from a conference in 2016 in Shanghai, Fudan university

A Chinese Visitor to the Netherlands in 1601: The Hakka Merchant Wu Pu and his Portrait by Peter Paul Rubens
Thijs Weststeijn, Utrecht University/University of Amsterdam
Among the onlookers Rubens depicted in The miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, one figure has drawn the particular attention of art historians. On the basis of his dress, 14 facial features, and curious hat, he has been connected to a drawing in the Getty Museum known as the ‘Korean man’. In this talk I will defend my thesis that the drawing was, in turn, based on a work by another artist. This was a portrait of an individual: a Chinese merchant who travelled on a VOC ship --in fact the first East Asian to visit Europe whose identity is documented in such detail. The new conclusion is based on an album amicorum of the Middelburg lawyer Nicolaas de Vrise (1595-1609).
An inscription in Chinese and an additional explanation in Latin identify the sitter as the Chinese merchant Wu Pu, who arrived in Middelburg on 31 May 1600. Additional Dutch and Chinese sources document Wu Pu’s career after his return to Southeast Asia, as a middleman for the VOC. These findings inspire the observation that the common tendency to study images in relation to other images rather than to historical reality may be counterproductive. Too much fear of a positivist ‘fallacy’ may confirm the
dynamic of Orientalist or ‘exotic’ projections, whereas an encounter between individuals actually took place..

PDF of the article

Pictures on this website are watermarked and copyrights are deposited at Digimarc

In Vienna there is another picture in the Kunsthistorische Museum called "The miracles of Francis Xavier" - with the same person in Korean dress. Over there the person has more clearly a Western face. (Courtesy Werner Koidl, because of copyrights I can't display this picture but I can show the head) Link to Korean article

Parts of this website are available in book as well.

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