Korean Cultural Properties Come Home from U.S.

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Korean Cultural Properties Come Home from U.S.

Korean cultural assets formerly housed in the United States have been permanently returned to Korea.

The National Museum of Korea received a donation of 482 articles denominated as cultural assets from Arthur J. McTaggart, 85, a U.S. citizen. On April 10, the museum made public the donation.

The relics include 380 earthenware pieces dating back to the Shilla dynasty (57 B.C. - A.D. 935), the Kaya dynasty (42 - 562) and the Unified Shilla dynasty (668 - 935). In addition, there are 102 ceramics from the Koryo (918 - 1392) and Choson (1392 - 1910) periods, such as white porcelain vessels, celadon, and white-gray porcelains produced by coating celadon with light clay. The 482 items have so far been housed at San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

The relics include some important pieces, such as a horse-shaped earthenware vessel made in Kaya during the 5th-6th centuries and an earthenware container decorated with tiny droplets hanging from the handles at the sides. All are highly valuable to academics because each comes with records of how it was obtained, when it was bought, and where it was unearthed.

The total value of the donated articles is estimated at $600,000 to $900,000. According to the wishes of the donator, they will be housed and on display at the Taegu National Museum.

Mr. McTaggart collected Korean cultural properties while he was working at the United States Information Service (USIS) in Taegu. After his retirement from USIS, he was a visiting professor at Yeungnam University in Taegu for over 20 years. At present he is receiving medical care in the United States.

by Pak Tae-wook

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