Gwangju National Museum
Asian Pottery Culture Research
Publication of Reports
Gwangju National Museum
역사와 문화가 살아숨쉬는 국립광주박물관
Dolmens Seen Through Photographs
2016-04-26 ~ 2016-07-31
Dolmens are one of the megalithic monuments seen in the world today, and they have been built all over the globe including Western Europe, India and China. Korea, in particular, is an unrivaled dolmen center with around 40,000 dolmens, and in recognition of their academic value, the dolmens were inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
In order to shed light on the significance of these dolmens, this exhibition presented photographs of dolmens found all over the world as well as photographs of dolmen excavation surveys. In addition, photographs capturing dolmens blending harmoniously with various backdrops were showcased to highlight their value amidst the continuity of time.
Feature Exhibition “The Ancient Hat: Gokkal”
2016-03-22 ~ 2016-06-26
Gokkal (conical hat) presented at the exhibition had been excavated from the wetland in Sinchang-dong, Gwangju during the 1995 and 2000 excavation surveys. Its purpose was initially unclear when only the wooden part in the shape of handheld fan frame, but it was restored as a gokkal hat to be revealed at the special exhibition, “Sinchang-dong: Time Capsule from 2,000 Years Ago,” in 2012. The hat was restored by connecting 12~13 thin cherry wood boards in the shape of an isosceles triangle that was around 25cm long and had holes at the top and bottom. It is in a conical shape, measuring 22cm in diameter at the bottom and 23cm in height, and thus is extremely similar to galmo [immo, rain cover for a hat] of the Joseon Dynasty.
In addition to the gokkal pieces from the Archeological Site in Sinchang-dong and the restored item, this thematic exhibition presented gokkal from the same period of time that was excavated from the Archeological Site in Sangeon-ri, Gyeongsangbuk-do and the Joseon galmo. Also, photographs were also on display for visitors to better understand the symbolic meaning of ancient hats and the shapes and functions of the hats worn by people in the Three Kingdoms Period. The Gwangju National Museum held a thematic exhibition series consisting of four parts, centering on the wooden artifacts that had been uncovered at the Archeological Site in Sinchang-dong. The series kicked off with
, which was followed by
was the fifth exhibition of the series, which will continue on to present exhibits that will fascinate the visitors.
Feature Exhibition “Cultural Heritage Seen Through Photographs”
2015-12-08 ~ 2016-03-27
For the purpose of promoting the appreciation for the cultural heritage embodying the spirit of Koreans, the Gwangju Natioanl Museum organized a feature exhibition titled “Cultural Heritage Seen Through Photographs.”
This was a photography exhibition held for the third time following 2008 and 2010, and around 40 works produced by the members of Hanstudio under the themes of jangseung (totem poles), stone pagoda, paper sliding doors and windows, and stone Buddha statutes among the beautiful cultural assets of Korea.
This exhibition provided a valuable opportunity to rediscover the beauty of Korean cultural heritage present in the jangseung (totem poles), stone pagoda, paper sliding doors and windows, and stone Buddha statues that were developed in harmony with our environment and climate and to feel the life and breath instilled in our culture through a medium called photographs.
2015-11-24 ~ 2016-02-21
Uijae Heo Baek-ryeon (1891~1977) was a prominent traditional painter who is called the last master of Namjonghwa painting style. While passing on the legacy of Namjonghwa and allowing it to reach its full bloom in its last days, Heo Baek-ryeon was a well-esteemed Confucian scholar and a social educator who stressed and practiced nationalism.
The first part titled “The Household and Life of Uijae Heo Baek-ryeon” aims to provide insight into the household and regional background of Heo Baek-ryeon and how he emerged as a distinguished painter. Until his death in 1977 at the age of 87, he was a prolific painter and fostered numerous students, which contributed to the formation of a traditional art community in Gwangju. He even made remarkable achievements in the area of social education.
The second part titled “The Chronicles and Social Intercourse of Uijae Heo Baek-ryeon” aims to shed light on his academic and painting training background as well as his social relations. Heo Baek-ryeong studied Chinese classics, poetry and writing under the tutelage of the eminent scholar Mujeong Jeong Man-jo (1858~1946) in his childhood. Then, he studied art under Misan Heo Hyeong. While studying in Japan, he met Komuro Suiun (1874~1945), a Japanese painter who helped open his eyes to Namjonghwa.
2015-09-01 ~ 2015-11-22
The Gwangju National Museum hosted a thematic exhibition titled
with the aim of shedding light on the ignition technique developed in the Prehistoric Period and the history of fire-making through the fire-making tools excavated from Archaeological Site in Sinchang-dong in Gwangju, designated as Historic Site No. 375.
The fire-making tools discovered in the excavation survey on the Archaeological Site in Sinchang-dong in Gwangju in 1995 were a set of fire-making stick and platform. The fire-making stick was made with the straight branches of the relatively hard oak or bower actinidia, while the fire-making platform was created using elm wood. These are the first-ever fire-making tools to be excavated from Korea, and they are the oldest and one of its kind. Also, a case for the storage and transport of a fire-making stick and a torch made from the resinous knots of a pine tree were also excavated. Torches with pine resin were easily ignited and were able to hold a flame for a long time, and thus they have been used to store and transport fire and for lamps from the old days until relatively recently.
There exist various fire-making tools and methods worldwide. The fire-making methods are largely divided into a back-and-forth method and a rotation method, according to the method of creating friction. The fire-making tools found in Sinchang-dong employed the rotation method, which gradually progressed from rubbing one’s hands together to supplementing it with leather straps among other auxiliary tools before the ultimate emergence of rotary tools such as a bowstring drill. The fire-making tools from Sinchang-dong are very important materials that demonstrate this series of technological progress.
Namdo Culture Exhibition VI Special Exhibition, “Damyang”
2015-08-25 ~ 2015-11-01
In 2015, the Gwangju National Museum held “The Bamboo Forest and the Clean Damyang,” focusing on the county that is well-known for its gasa literature and bamboo products, as the sixth regional exhibition. This exhibition was jointly planned with Damyang-gun in connection with the World Bamboo Fair scheduled for September.
Damyang has long been a prominent producer of bamboo products with a bamboo market and famous for its gasa literature. It is also known for being the stage of Jeonuchi. In addition, countless writers and artists including Myeonang Song Sun, who helped Korean literature bloom in the mid-Joseon Dynasty, as well as Songgang Jeong Cheol and Seokcheon Im Eok-ryeong cultivated gardens and arbors and left behind astonishing pieces of writing that were inspired by the striking landscape and scenery. It is also known for Miam-ilgi (Diary of Miam) by Miam Yu Hui-chun, who documented the course of Imjinwaerang (Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592), and contains the beautiful Soswaewon Garden (Scenic Site No. 40) created by Soswae Yang San-bo that has been attracting endless streams of visitors among poets, writers, calligraphers and painters.
The exhibition consisted of exhibits providing information on the natural scenery and anthropogeography of Damyang; prehistoric and ancient cultures based on archeological materials from the Old Stone Age to the Three Kingdoms Period; Buddhist and Confucian cultures of Damyang; military and kiln historic sites; gasa literature, Middle Age and modern cultures such as arbor cultivation; and modern and contemporary cultures with exhibits focusing on Seopyeonje and Park Dong-sil, a prominent figure of Seopyeonje, patriots such as Goha Song Jin-u, crafts, art and literature.
2015-06-02 ~ 2015-08-02
The Gwangju National Museum held
as a special exhibition in 2015.
The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to achieve nirvana, a state of being liberated from the pains and afflictions of the world, based on the teachings of Shakyamuni and become a buddha. Buddhism, which gained further influence after Shakyamuni had entered into nirvana, achieved rapid growth following the ascension of Ashoka to the throne, and was transmitted beyond the borders of India to Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Although Buddhism is founded upon the teachings of Shakyamuni, it became a more extensive thought tradition through the course of its development over 2,500 years. In Asia, in particular, it was viewed as more than a religion, and thus influenced various aspects of society such as politics, philosophy, the arts, and culture.
This exhibition aimed to examine the impact that Buddhism has had on Asia, with a special focus on art. The transformation of Buddhist art was investigated based on the routes through which Buddhism was spread from India to Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Tibet. It provided an opportunity to take a look at other forms of Buddhist art that differ from that of Korea.
2015-02-10 ~ 2015-05-10
The Gwangju National Museum held
as the first special exhibition of the year 2015.
Joseon was a 500-year-old state founded upon Neo-Confucianism that valued etiquette and righteousness. White porcelains selected according to the etiquette rules were used as vessels to hold its history and culture, as they were in line with the foundation of Josoen.
Blue and white porcelains were viewed as ceramics that embody the desires of the entire world, upholding the dignity of the royal family and the practices of Confucianism as well as the elegance and refinement of the writers and artists of the gentry class. The blue and white porcelains, which were an art form and the norm, demonstrate the ideas and aesthetics of the times with each blue stroke.
The Gwangju National Museum carefully selected some 200 pieces of blue and white porcelains submitted to the special exhibition, < Blue and White Porcelain of the Joseon Dynasty>, organized by the National Museum of Korea, to convey the blue colors of Korean history that bloomed on white porcelain. This special exhibition held for the first time in the Gwangju and Jeonnam region provided a valuable chance to appreciate the blue traces of Joseon.
2015-01-27 ~ 2015-05-25
Food, clothing and shelter are absolute necessities of man, and of these, clothing is a characteristic unique to man. While we cannot pinpoint the exact time period when people started wearing clothes, the spindle whorl dating from the Neolithic Age is a direct piece of evidence of thread production, with a high likelihood that textiles began to be produced around this time.
According to historical documents, it appears that textile production had occurred in full swing even before the Three Kingdoms Period. 『The Records of the Three Kingdoms』 and 『The Book of the Later Han』 show that Samhan (Three Hans) practiced sericulture and produced silk and hemp cloth, and evidence of this was discovered at the Archaeological Site in Sinchang-dong in Gwangju.
The Archaeological Site in Sinchang-dong is a massive historical complex that demonstrate the farming culture of the early Iron Age, and a wide variety of artifacts such as earthenware, woodware, boneware and lacquerware were excavated from the site. Pieces of silk and hemp cloth that were found at the site were the oldest of their kind in Korea, and textile production and sewing tools such as a thread guide, spool and needles made out of bone were excavated.
The Gwangju National Museum hosted an international academic conferenced titled 「East Asian Perspective on the Textile Culture of Sinchang-dong」 in 2013 and collected and built research data. This time, this special exhibition was organized to present Korea’s oldest textiles and weaving tools and examine the ancient textile culture.
At the exhibition, the traditional processes of producing thread from natural sources such as silkworms and hemp and weaving fabric. This provided an opportunity to get a more vivid picture of the process through which the artifacts on display inside the showcases were produced and used.
2014-10-21 ~ 2015-01-18
This exhibition was planned in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Gongjae Yun Du-seo (1668~1715), and co-hosted with MBC Gwangju, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its establishment, and Nogudang in Haenam, where the head household of Yun’s family clan resides.
Gongjae Yun Du-seo is called the “Three Jaes” of the late Joseon Dynasty along with Gyeomjae Jeong Seon and Hyeonjae Sim Sa-jeong. As a great-grandson of Gosan Yun Seon-do (1587~1671), Yun Du-seo passed the Jinsansi exam in 1693, but chose not to take a government post as there was a severe faction, and instead concentrated on his studies and spend his entire life on poetry, painting and calligraphy. Nogudang was the house of Yun Seon-do and the base of the Haenam Yun family clan. It served as a cradle that built the foundation for the traditional painting circles of the Honam area. This exhibition shed light on the world of calligraphy and painting of Yun’s family clan, who succeeded the painting traditions across three generations from Yun Du-seo to his son, Nakseo Yun Deok-hui (1685~1766) and then to his grandson, Cheonggo Yun Yong (1708~1740).