Gwangju National Museum
Asian Pottery Culture Research
Publication of Reports
Gwangju National Museum
역사와 문화가 살아숨쉬는 국립광주박물관
2016-12-06 ~ 2017-04-02
The Gwangju National Museum held a special exhibition titled “Jegi of Joseon Sculpted with Clay” in 2016. Jegi, which are the wares and utensils used in ancestral rites, had a strong significance in the Joseon Dynasty, which established Confucianism as the social norm. The clay-based jegi from the Joseon Dynasty, which placed importance on ancestral rites, are important materials that shed light on the “etiquette” culture and are artworks that embody the aesthetics unique to ceramics.
The Gwangju National Museum presented jegi from the early Joseon Dynasty modeled after metal jegi, based on Jegidoseol (Explanatory Diagrams of Utensils Used in Ancestral Rites), jegi from the mid-Joseon Dynasty with original shapes, and the late-Joseon jegi with neat lines and faces.
Also, all of the Buncheong jegi wares excavated from the kiln site dating from the Joseon Dynasty in Chunghyo-dong, Gwangju in 1991 were presented together for the first time at the exhibition.
With this special exhibition, the Gwangju National Museum hoped to spark an understanding of and further research on jegi ceramics.
2016-10-25 ~ 2017-01-30
The Gwangju National Museum hosted a special exhibition titled
to commemorate the 40th anniversary of uncovering the Sinan ship, which became the impetus for the establishment of the museum.
The ship on the seabed off the coast of Sinan became known to the world when pottery ware was caught in a fisherman’s net in August 1975. Through eleven underwater surveys carried out in the course of 9 years, a whopping 24,000 cultural assets including Longquan celadon produced in the Chinese Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) were revealed to the world.
This exhibition organized as part of the exhibition tour of the National Museum of Korea presented a glimpse into the international trade ship from the 14th century that departed from the Port of 경원 kyungwon (present-day Ningbo) in China with various ceramics, metalwares, red wood and coins on board to head to the Port of Hakada in Japan.
Special Exhibition “Dolmens, a World Heritage: Making Tombs with Large Stones”
2016-04-26 ~ 2016-07-31
This exhibition was organized to examine the research findings on the dolmens in Korea.
The prologue section presents information on the significance and special features of the dolmens built in Korea amidst the diverse megalithic cultures of the world.
The first part of the exhibition allowed an understanding of the most basic information about dolmens such as the definition, form, structure, and distribution patterns thereof. Also, it allowed the visitors to realize the advanced level of technology in the Bronze Age, based on the scientific principles applied to the construction of dolmens, and get a glimpse of how a sense of community was fostered and promoted through the erection of dolmens.
The second part focused on comprehending the meaning of dolmens as a tomb, based on the artifacts such as the bronze violin-shaped dagger, polished stone dagger and polished red earthenware as well as petroglyphs and human skeletons that have been found. Also, the lifestyle of the people in the Bronze Age who built the dolmens was examined at the exhibition.
The third part touched upon how dolmens have been perceived throughout history since the Bronze Age. Dolmens inspired a wide range of myths and legends, and even became an object of worship, as mystical objects that were thought to have indwelling spirits. To the westerners who visited Korea in the late 19th century, the dolmens were massive structures that were representative of Joseon. The full-fledged excavation surveys on the dolmens in Korea commenced in the Japanese occupation period, and various types of research were carried out after Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule.
The epilogue of the exhibition endeavored to examine the current status of the dolmens in Korea that have been designated as World Heritage and the possibility of using them to create cultural content in addition to employing them as a theme for comics, movies and games.
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.