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Category: korea

Bojagi

23 January, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, decorative arts / textiles, korea | By: xensen

bojagi, korean wrapping cloth

Bojagi are Korean wrapping cloths. They are typically square and hemmed along the edges; many have a sort of ribbon “handle” in the center. The cloths were used for wrapping presents, as well as for storying and carrying objects. They are wonderful examples of folk art, and although they date at least from the Joseon dynasty, they feel modern in their design spirit.

This example is from the Museum of Korean Embroidery in Gangnam-gu. There is another example (at this writing) in the lower right sidebar.

Buddhist painting demonstration in San Francisco

16 January, 2008 (05:00) | contemporary, korea, paintings | By: xensen

korean buddhist painting demonstration at the asian art museum of san francisco

At San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum a group of Korean monks has been in residency, producing large paintings and also block prints (visitors can take home freshly printed copies of the heart sutra or other prints). The monks (seunim, a gender-neutral term) include two men, Myung Chun-seunim and Sung Ryun-seunim, and a woman, Seol Min-seunim.

The program will culminate on January 20 with a sacred eye-opening ceremony of two hanging scrolls — the Water-Moon Avalokiteshvara by Seol Min seunim and a guardian figure painting by Myung Chung seunim — that the monks are donating to the museum. During the ceremony, the guardian king’s spirit enters the painting through the eyes, which are the last elements completed. The monks chant invocations to all the Buddhas in the universe to witness the event.

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Korean national treasures at HMFA

13 December, 2007 (05:00) | classical, decorative arts / textiles, korea | By: xensen

korean crown with pendants The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has made a long-term agreement with the National Museum of Korea that includes the load of some Korean national treasures, such as the crown with pendants shown (5th century, National Museum of Korea, National Treasure No. 87). The HMFA has also established a larger, permanent gallery for Korean art, as part of its Korean Art and Culture Initiative; the gallery opened to the public this month.

According to the museum, “the opening of the Arts of Korea gallery marks the first step toward the goal of full representation of Asian art at the MFAH. By 2008, approximately triple the current exhibition space will be devoted to the display and interpretation of Asian art. Other Asian cultures represented in the MFAH collection are China, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia. Each will have new gallery space.”

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LINKS:
MFAH page
Korea Times article

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Haein-sa Temple

23 November, 2007 (09:35) | korea, literature/performance/film/music, medieval | By: xensen

haein-sa temple, korea

Haein-sa Temple is located in Hapchon County, North Kyongsang Province, Korea. It is home to the most complete set of woodblocks of the Buddhist Tripitaka, the canon of Buddhist scriptures. (Tripitaka means “three baskets.” It refers to the conventional division of the scriptures into the sutras, or teachings of the Buddha; the vinaya, or precepts for community members; and the abhidharma, or commentaries.) The Tripitaka Koreana consists of 81,258 blocks (comparable to nearly 7,000 printed volumes), containing more than 52 million characters.

Korea was a leader in print technology from early times. Koreans invented and employed moveable metal type long before Gutenberg. In my article at rightreading.com called “Gutenberg and the Koreans,” I argue that awareness of East Asian printing processes may well have reached Europe during the early renaissance (thanks to the Mongol empire, which connected the two areas). The article is schedule for publication in Arts of Asia magazine in 2008.
The image above is from Discover Korea. For more images and a brief description of the temple and the blocks, see this Granite School page.