Korea

Powerful kingdoms have ruled the Korean peninsula for millennia, creating luxurious art for the elite.

57 B.C.E. - present

videos + essays

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Pensive bodhisattva
Pensive bodhisattva

What can a pensive bodhisattva tell us about 7th-century Korea?

Dhratarastra, Guardian King of the East
Dhratarastra, Guardian King of the East

The huge size of the canvas, the dynamic and decorative lines, and the combination of mineral colors are typical of Buddhist paintings from Korea.

Yun Baek-ha, a calligraphic handscroll
Yun Baek-ha, a calligraphic handscroll

This handscroll is an extremely valuable example of Korean calligraphy

Yi Che-gwan, <em>Portrait of a Confucian scholar</em>
Yi Che-gwan, Portrait of a Confucian scholar

Earlier Korean portraits were more interested in capturing a sense of the sitter's 'spirit' rather than in portraying an actual physical likeness such as this one from the 18th century

Maebyong vases, an introduction
Maebyong vases, an introduction

In medieval Korea, wine bottles were known as maebyong, which comes from the Chinese mei-ping ('vase for plum blossoms'), a misnomer dubbed by Chinese scholars of the Qing dynasty.

White porcelain ‘moon jar’
White porcelain ‘moon jar’

This moon jar is made of plain white porcelain, and it represented the epitome of austere Confucian taste in Joseon Korea

Chaekgeori-type screen
Chaekgeori-type screen

An array of items from the scholar's decorate this type of Korean screen

Conserving Korean lacquer
Conserving Korean lacquer

Western furniture conservators learn from Korean conservators and artisans about the original production and conservation of Korean lacquer

Korean Celadons of the Goryeo Dynasty
Korean Celadons of the Goryeo Dynasty

The distinctive green-blue glaze of Goryeo celadons has made these ceramics famous in Korea and beyond.

Water-Moon Avalokiteśvara
Water-Moon Avalokiteśvara

This exquisite example of a Goryeo Buddhist painting depicts the bodhisattva on his mountain-island abode.

<em>Portrait of Sin Sukju</em>
Portrait of Sin Sukju

Sin Sukju’s attire and posture may be formulaic, but the face is definitely his—wrinkles and all.

Song Su-Nam, <em>Summer Trees</em>
Song Su-Nam, Summer Trees

In title and medium, Song’s contemporary ink-wash painting looks back to the poetic landscape tradition.

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