At the National Museum of Korea

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

Some background

videos + essays

The National Museum of Korea's website

Gilt-bronze Buddha with inscription: “seventh year of <i>yeonga</i>“
Gilt-bronze Buddha with inscription: “seventh year of yeonga

This gilt-bronze statue is the oldest-known Buddhist sculpture that has ever been found in Korea

<em>Four Preaching Buddhas</em>
Four Preaching Buddhas

The representative example of a sixteenth-century Buddhist painting commissioned by the royal Joseon court.

Buncheong Jar with cloud and dragon design
Buncheong Jar with cloud and dragon design

This buncheong jar with cloud and dragon design integrates the Goryeo tradition with elements acquired through cultural exchange.

Yun Du-seo, <em>Portrait of Sim Deukgyeong</em>
Yun Du-seo, Portrait of Sim Deukgyeong

Portrait of Sim Deukgyeong is an exemplary work that demonstrates how a gifted artist can capture a person’s spirit in a portrait.

Horse-rider-shaped vessels, Silla
Horse-rider-shaped vessels, Silla

Why would a serving vessel be made in the shape of a horse?

Gujangbok, a ceremonial robe symbolizing the king’s prestige
Gujangbok, a ceremonial robe symbolizing the king’s prestige

A “gujangbok” is a ceremonial robe worn by the Joseon king is adorned with nine symbols representing the consummate authority and virtue of the king.

Kim Jeonghui’s calligraphy of Kim Yugeun’s <em>Autobiography of Mukso</em>
Kim Jeonghui’s calligraphy of Kim Yugeun’s Autobiography of Mukso

Very few original examples of Kim Jeonghui’s regular script have survived, making this work especially valuable.

<i>Maebyeong</i> with peony design
Maebyeong with peony design

This large maebyeong with a peony design represents the peak of Goryeo celadon.

Bronze bowl with inscription for King Gwanggaeto the Great
Bronze bowl with inscription for King Gwanggaeto the Great

The excavation of Houchong Tomb was a true landmark in the history of Korean archaeology—as this bowl attests.

Kim Jeongho, woodblocks of <em>Daedongnyeojido</em> (“Territorial Map of the Great East”)
Kim Jeongho, woodblocks of Daedongnyeojido (“Territorial Map of the Great East”)

In 1861, the great cartographer Kim Jeongho produced the woodblocks and printed the map of Daedongnyeojido (“Territorial Map of the Great East) to create one enormous map of Korea.

<i>Maebyeong</i> with cloud and crane design
Maebyeong with cloud and crane design

Why was this Goryeo maebyeong designated as a “Treasure” of Korea?

Bronze ritual object with farming scenes
Bronze ritual object with farming scenes

The bronze ritual object with farming scenes is an invaluable artifact for our understanding of the Korean prehistoric period