Antonio Corea – 1606

*** version française en dessous ) Antonio Corea was supposedly a young Korean man taken captive by the Japanese during the Imjin War who later ended up in Rome (he had probably been sold to the Portuguese and trasported to Europe via Macao and Goa.) While in Rome an artist assumed to have been Rubens drew his portrait (Korean sources say the title of this drawing is “Man Wearing Hanbok” hanbok being the name of Korea’s traditional garb). This drawing was later sold at Sotheby’s auction house in 1983 for the then record rpice for a drawing of 324,000 pounds. This Antonio Corea is also mentioned in an early 17th century travel book written by a father and son by the name of Carlotti.

These Korean sources go on to claim that this Antonio Corea was later given his freedom and settled in the southern Italian town of “Albi.” His descendants, numbering about 80, still live there today, and still have the same surname. These people evidently assert that they are descendants of a Korean. In 1986 a member of this family – named Antonio Corea like his ancestor – wrote to the president of Korea saying that he was the descendant of a Korean taken captive in the Imjin Warr, and wanted to visit Korea and learn about his roots. This man subsequently visited Korea in 1992 at the invitation of the Korean government as part of the 400th anniversary commemoration of the start of the Imjin War.

***

L’histoire d’Antonio Corea (1578 ?-1626) (réf. Tobias HübinetteComforting an Orphaned Nation – Representations of International Adoption and Adopted Koreans in Korean Popular Culture, Stockholm University Department of Oriental Languages, 2005, p.50.) revient parfois dans les discussions concernant le sujet de l’adoption internationale d’enfants étrangers par des occidentaux, car il est désigné non seulement comme le premier Coréen venu en Europe, mais également comme le premier adopté Coréen en Europe.

Né ver 1578, Antonio Corea arrive au Japon en 1597 et est acheté par un marchand florentin du nom de Francesco Carletti avec quatre autres garçons coréens.Carletti les obtint d’abord dans la colonie portugaise de Goa en Inde, où il en libéra ensuite quatre, mais garda Corea, qui avait appris l’italien le plus rapidement.

Le jeune homme Coréen arrive en Europe en 1606, à Florence plus exactement, est converti et baptisé Antonio Corea, provoquant naturellement beaucoup d’émoi, et est supposé être le modèle pour un portrait de Rubens (Cf.supra), qu’il aurait rencontré à Rome. Finalement, Antonio Corea s’installe, en homme libre, dans la petite ville italienne d’Albi, où il décède en 1626, devenant l’ancêtre de la famille Corea.

 

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