Sacred White Mountain
Depicted is Paektu Mountain (2,744 meters, 9003 feet), highest mountain in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast China, with Heaven Lake in the caldera on top of the mountain. Its last eruption was in 946 AD one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the last 5,000 years, including Minoan and 1815 Tambora. The mountain is sacred in both Koreas, claimed by North Koreans as the birthplace of demi-god autocrat, Kim Il-sung (still the "eternal president of the republic"). South Koreans revere the site as well, and make circuitous pilgrimages through China in large numbers.
The relations between North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and China converge on this spot and the history of the area is very complicated. In the 19th century the Korean Empire ruled over the peninsula, but its bellicose neighbor to the south, The Japanese Empire, was determined to extend its "Co-Prosperity Sphere" across all Asia. Fresh from triumph over Russia in the war of 1905, Japan invaded Korea in 1910, and from their new vantage point began to intrigue against the fledgling Republic of China. Thus began a crescendo of Japanese militarization culminating in the invasion of Northeast China in 1931, an action that some military historians consider the beginning of WWII. They installed a puppet government nominally headed by Puyi (1906-1967) last emperor of China, deposed in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to overthrow the enfeebled Qing Dynasty.
The first postal issues from from Manchukuo named the country of origin, but were often defaced on incoming mail in China by mail clerks, so subsequent face-saving designs bound for China such as this from 1936, featured only the Manchurian imperial seal, the stylized "orchid crest." In 1949 after the People's Republic of China was established, the Manchurian emperor was imprisoned as a war criminal for 10 years. The Last Emperor, a 1987 film from director Bernardo Bertolucci, is a compelling history of Puyi's fascinating life in China and Manchuria
Image Size: 4" x 5"
Paper Size: 9.5" x 13"
Paper Type: Rives Lightweight Buff, 115 grams
Edition Size: 50
Inks Used: Transparent Base (10); Orange 021 (10); Black (0.5); Setswell 10%
Date cut: 15 March 2021
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