Gwangju National Museum
Asian Pottery Culture Research
Publication of Reports
Gwangju National Museum
역사와 문화가 살아숨쉬는 국립광주박물관
Goryeo Celadon and the Art of Tea and Wine
2021-12-13 ~ 2022-03-20
Prologue: Goryeo Celadon and the Fashion of Tea and Wine
Tea culture flourished during the Goryeo Dynasty due to the enthusiasm and passion for tea among the royal aristocrats and scholar officials. Diverse production techniques of celadon wares also accelerated the manufacture of varied teaware and utensils. Alcohol dinking culture also thrived during the Goryeo period. Alcohol was served not only in the official royal functions but at receptions of foreign envoys and when bestowing royal gifts. The Goryeo court had a special government bureau in charge of managing alcohol. This exhibition invites viewers to discover the tea and wine drinking culture of the Goryeo Dynasty through celadon wares.
Special Exhibition ‘The mystery of Sindeok ancient tombs’
2021-07-19 ~ 2021-10-24
All those who have lost a loved one try to keep him or her alive in their memory. They also wish for the deceased to enjoy peace and comfort in the next world. However, we still do not clearly know how the people of the past faced and coped with death.
Here on these open fields sleep distinctly shaped burial mounds that hold mysteries of ancient history. By chance we have been presented with a key that could unlock doors to an unknown world. What had been hidden and sealed away within is beginning to be revealed.
We invite you to discover these traces of lives from more than 1,500 years ago that have been stored in tombs dedicated to the deceased.
The 13th Gwangju Biennale - Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning
2021-04-01 ~ 2021-05-09
13th Gwangju Biennale
Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning
2021. 4. 1. ~ 5. 9.
Gala Porras-Kim, Cecilia Vicuna, Ali Cherri, Chrysanne Stathacos, Theo Eshetu, Trajal Harrell, Farid Belkahia
Gwangju National Museum, National Museum of Korea, Chuncheon National Museum, National Hangeul Museum, Gahoe Museum, Shamanism Museum
Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning, the central exhibition of the 13th Gwangju Biennale features a dynamic program that includes an exhibition, a performance program, a publishing platform, as well as online and offline series of public forums that bring together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers. Directed by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning sets forth to examine the spectrum of the ‘extended mind’ through artistic and theoretical means.
The exhibition in Gwangju National Museum unveils a dialogue with conceptions of death and the afterlife, reparation of spirit-objects, corporeal limits of the body as well as acts of mourning through newly commissioned works by Theo Eshetu, Trajal Harrell, Gala Porras-Kim, and Cecilia Vicuna. From the ephemeral aura of a flower mandala by Chrysanne Stathacos to the loneliness of a desert necropolis by Ali Cherri, artistic and historical works will attune to linkages of ancestry, visions of the afterlife, non-western mappings of ailment and cure, and the foundational role of the undead in shaping registers of “the real” across the world(s) of the living.
Six Perspectives: Photo Exhibition of the Masterpieces from the Gwangju National Museum
2020-09-07 ~ 2020-11-08
The Gwangju National Museum is very pleased to present the special exhibition Six Perspectives: Photo Exhibition of Masterpieces from the Gwangju National Museum in the fall of 2020. Highlights from the museum’s collection selected by the curators and visitors are explored and documented through the viewfinders of six photographers: Koo Bohnchang, Kim Kwang Seop, Kim Sookang, Oh Sangjo, Rhee Jaeyong, and Jo Seongyeon. Viewers are invited to enjoy these masterpieces reinterpreted from the perspectives of these six veteran photographers of Korean cultural heritage.
Witnessing the Millenary Jeolla-do Buddhism
2020-05-11 ~ 2020-08-09
The Gwangju National Museum is pleased to present this year’s special exhibition titled Witnessing the Millenary Jeolla-do Buddhism: Donated Rubbings from the Namdo Buddhist Culture Research Society. This exhibition introduces works donated by the Namdo Buddhist Culture Research Society, which for nearly thirty years has been studying and taking rubbings of ancient inscriptions found around the Gwangju and Jeolla-do Province regions. Many ancient inscriptions remain in Buddhist temples in the Gwangju and Jeolla-do regions, including on epitaphs of eminent monks, pagodas, bronze bells, and steles recording about the construction of the temples. These inscriptions encapsulate the efforts of the countless people who have helped shape Buddhist culture in this area for over a thousand years. Moreover, they provide historical testimony on the traces of numerous people, including kings, officials, local political groups, eminent monks, and common devotees. This exhibition features forty-five Buddhist inscriptions that the Namdo Buddhist Culture Research Society has collected nationwide over the course of thirty years. It is hoped that visitors can appreciate this time-honored Buddhist culture and historical testimony from the Gwangju and Jeolla-do Province regions.
Korean Traditional Painters of the Modern Era-Honam and Seoul
2019-09-27 ~ 2019-11-24
The history of painting during the Joseon Dynasty evolved around Hanyang, the capital city of the kingdom, while it was Gyeongseong that served as the backdrop for the dramatic changes that Korean traditional painting underwent due to the rapid influx of modern Western civilization into the country after the opening of its ports. As such, the history of Korean traditional painting seems to have unfolded against the background of Seoul, yet understanding the overall trajectory of Korean art history inevitably requires knowledge of regional art history as well. In the case of Korean traditional painting, in particular, the region that is as important as Seoul is Honam, the present-day Jeolla Province.
This exhibition presents the works of Korean traditional painters Jo Seok-jin (趙錫晋, b. 1853), An Jung-sik (安中植, b. 1861), and Kim Eun-ho (金殷鎬, b. 1892) who were active in Seoul from the opening of the ports throughout the 20th century, alongside the activities of their Honam contemporaries including Chae Yong-shin (蔡龍臣, b. 1850), Heo Hyeong (許瀅, b. 1862), and Heo Baek-ryeon (許百鍊, b. 1891). Even though they were born in the same era, they pursued their art in different regions, Seoul and Honam, thus forging their own unique oeuvres that nonetheless share similar aspects. The colorful artworks of these six Korean traditional painters that are presented together in this exhibition may provide viewers with the opportunity to learn firsthand how they have each enriched Korean art in the modern era.
Masterpieces of Cizhou Ware from China: The Art of Black and White
2019-05-28 ~ 2019-08-18
Gwangju National Museum and the Cizhou Kiln Museum are proud to present Masterpieces of Cizhou Ware from China: The Art of Black and White, a special exhibition of world ceramics. This 2019 joint exhibition is also a celebration of friendship between the two institutions, and it is particularly meaningful as it is the very first time the Cizhou Kiln Museum’s collection is being introduced in Korea. The Cizhou kilns―with sites dispersed around Cizhou (present-day Cixian) County in Handan, Hebei Province, China― manufactured massive quantities of ceramics over a period of some 1,500 years. The products of these kilns, collectively known as Cizhou wares, reflect the life and culture of the people of northern China. The most popular Cizhou ware was the type with black or brown decorations painted over the white slip ground of a coarse body. The free-spirited and unpretentious Cizhou wares reflect a penchant for bold and exuberant designs among the populace of Northern China. This exhibition introduces 117 superb examples of Cizhou ware selected from the collection of the Cizhou Kiln Museum. Visitors are invited to enjoy the epitome of Cizhou ware, a stunning and original ceramic type that embodies the long arc of history in Northern China.
Jeolla-do Province and Its People over the Past 1000 Years
2018-10-23 ~ 2019-02-10
Gwangju National Museum is proud to present this special commemorative exhibition “Jeolla-do Province and Its People over the Past 1000 Years,” marking the first millennium since the province’s foundation. As the oldest administrative region in Korea, Jeolla-do can trace its past to 1018, the ninth year of the reign of King Hyeonjong, as recorded in The History of Goryeo. Yet there have also been those who cultivated these lands and dreamt of a better world long before the name “Jeolla-do” was attached. As open-minded and progressive people, they did not hesitate to assimilate the fruits of other civilizations, giving birth to a number of innovative ideas that wielded great influence on Korean history. Even in times of crisis, the people of the region have demonstrated deep loyalty and potential while protecting the entire Korean Peninsula along with their own province.
Epitaph Tablet of Yi Seonje
2018-09-10 ~ 2018-12-10
The epitaph tablet of Yi Seonje (李先齊, 1390-1453), a scholar official who served at the Jiphyeonjeon (集賢殿, Hall of Worthies), was donated to the National Museum of Korea in 2017 after long years of efforts. Its whereabouts had long been unknown since it was smuggled out to Japan in June 1998. The Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation dedicated to finding this tablet and eventually found its location in 2014. The Foundation met with the former owner of the epitaph tablet, the late Todoroki Takashi (等？力孝志, 1938-2016), who purchased the tablet without knowing that it was exported through illicit trafficking. In August 2017, his widow, Todoroki Kunie (等？力邦枝) donated Yi Seonje’s epitaph tablet eventually to the National Museum of Korea, through the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation, following the will of Todoroki Takashi, who passed away in November 2016. The descendants of Yi Seonje of the Gwangsan Yi Clan (光山 李氏) also willingly consented to this donation.
2018-05-18 ~ 2018-07-01
This exhibition was comprised of four parts. The first part, “Learning from Tradition,” introduced the early works of Ilseop that were created together with the prominent monks of the late Joseon Dynasty. Ilseop began producing Buddhist paintings in 1918, and traveled all over the country in search of those who could teach him how to paint. Even after meeting Boeung Munseung (1867-1954), who would become his lifelong teacher, Ilseop worked with many senior painters, from whom he learned various facets of Buddhist art including Buddha statues, paintings and dancheong (multicolor paintworks on wooden buildings).
The second part titled “Leading the Buddhist Art Circles in Modern Times” shed light on the important events that occurred, which helped Ilseop established himself as a central figure in the Buddhist art circles after he began creating Buddhist artworks independent of his teacher.
The third part, “The Path of Ilseop,” introduced the masterpieces Ilseop created in his 40s and 50s. This was the time period in which he engaged in prolific activities, leading numerous juniors and students. He created a massive Hubuldo that was more than 4m in height and produced all of the Buddha statues, paintings and dancheong of a Buddhist temple, thereby becoming a prominent all-round artist producing Buddhist works on large scale.
The fourth part, “From Artisan to Artist,” focused on his diverse activities that contributed to the advancement of modern Buddhist art as well as his activities as an educator. In his later years, Ilseop made various efforts to further develop Buddhist art such as founding a Buddhist art organization, submitting his works to contests, and publishing a book. In addition, he was designated as Intangible Cultural Property No. 48 as a dancheong artisan in 1971. He also dedicated himself to fostering Buddhist painters among the younger generations, who are now actively involved in the Buddhist art circles under the name “Ilseopmundohoe.”