At the National Museum of Korea

Virtually explore the National Museum of Korea with Smarthistory as your guide

Some background

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The National Museum of Korea's website

Celadon Melon-shaped Bottle
Celadon Melon-shaped Bottle

This vase exemplifies the Goryeo royal court’s exceptional taste for fine celadon.

An Junggeun, Calligraphy work of his final message
An Junggeun, Calligraphy work of his final message

An wrote this calligraphy work in March 1910, shortly before his death—and added his distinctive handprint.

Stone casket and funerary urn of the Unified Silla period
Stone casket and funerary urn of the Unified Silla period

Stored inside a granite casket, this urn is elaborately decorated with a stamped pattern of flowers and covered with an even coating of green glaze

Celadon dragon-shaped ewer and celadon turtle-shaped ewer
Celadon dragon-shaped ewer and celadon turtle-shaped ewer

Coated in luminous jade-colored glaze, these sanghyeong celadon vessels combine the beauty of artworks for appreciation with the function of household implements

Gold crown and gold belt from the north mound of Hwangnamdaechong Tomb
Gold crown and gold belt from the north mound of Hwangnamdaechong Tomb

Hwangnamdaechong Tomb contained an impressive array of personal ornaments, rare imported items, and grave goods, including a queen's embellished gold crown and belt

<i>Portrait of Yi Chae</i>
Portrait of Yi Chae

Yi Chae stares straight out from the canvas, depicted in attire of a Neo-Confucian literati

Yi Myeonggi, <em>Portrait of Kang Sehwang</em>
Yi Myeonggi, Portrait of Kang Sehwang

With his proper attire and solemn posture, Kang Sehwang is the model of a dignified Joseon official.

Gold Earrings from the Double Burial in Bomun-dong, Gyeongju
Gold Earrings from the Double Burial in Bomun-dong, Gyeongju

Even after being buried for around 1500 years, the gold earrings still elicit gasps of amazement for their lustrous sheen and splendid decoration.

<i>Cheonggu Gwanhaebang Chongdo</i>, or “Map for the National Defense of Korea”
Cheonggu Gwanhaebang Chongdo, or “Map for the National Defense of Korea”

Cheonggu Gwanhaebang Chongdo, or “Map for National Defense of Korea,” records the locations of military bases throughout the Joseon Dynasty

Baekje stone Buddha and gilt-bronze bodhisattva from the temple site of Gunsu-ri, Buyeo
Baekje stone Buddha and gilt-bronze bodhisattva from the temple site of Gunsu-ri, Buyeo

The Buddhist sculptures excavated at the temple site of Gunsu-ri are crucial for studying the early stages of Korean Buddhist sculpture.

Official Register from the late Goryeo period
Official Register from the late Goryeo period

The practice of collecting different information from a person depending on his social status carried over from the official registers of the late Goryeo period to those of the Joseon period

Celadon incense burner with lion cover and celadon incense burner with open work geometric design
Celadon incense burner with lion cover and celadon incense burner with open work geometric design

The sheer variety of Goryeo celadon incense burners demonstrates how widespread the culture of incense burning was during the period.