Renovated Ho-Am Museum Reopens With Korean Artifact Exhibit

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Renovated Ho-Am Museum Reopens With Korean Artifact Exhibit

Ho-Am Art Museum, located in Yong-in, Kyonggi province, re-opened on Saturday, April 21, after five months of intensive renovations. Since last November, the museum has been expanding its exhibition halls and setting up more facilities in an attempt to offer a better environment for visitors. Its new facilities include a elevator for the disabled. The museum is holding an exhibition titled, "The Golden Glow of Korean Art" until July 15 to celebrate its re-opening.

The exhibition features over 140 Korean works of art from the period between the Three Kingdoms Era (BC 57 - 660) and the Choson Dynasty (1392 - 1910) including four National Treasures and seven other designated treasures. Many of the works in the exhibition are ancient relics made of gold, but there are also gold-plated Buddhist art pieces, craft works, paintings and calligraphic works on display. The exhibition offers a chance to appreciate the superb art works from ancient Korea and learn more about a variety of techniques for applying different types of gold such as pure gold, gilt, golden copper, gold thread and gold foil to pieces.

The main attractions of the exhibit are the two National Treasures, Kaya-geumgwan (Kaya Golden Crown), from the 14th century, excavated from the Goryeong area in North Kyongsang province, and the Amita-samjondo (Amitabha Triad).

As in many other countries, gold was equated with high status and power in Korea. In the old days it was used for a number of purposes and beginning with the Three Kingdoms period, the precious metal was made into accessories such as crowns, earrings and necklaces for the highest nobility.

When Buddhism was introduced to Korea, gold was used to make Buddhist articles such as statues of Buddha and incense burners for ceremonial purposes. During the Silla dynasty (661 - 935) and the Koryo dynasty (918 - 1392), gold was used even in making ordinary craft works. However, during the Choson dynasty, gold came to be used for making goods that expressed the power of the aristocracy. Examples of this displayed in the exhibition are Il-wol-obong-byeongpung (Sun, Moon, and Five Peaks), a folding screen placed behind the throne, and the Sipjangsangdo (Ten Longevity Symbols), which were placed behind the queen's seat. A scientific study on the Treasure Golden Earrings, by Ho-Am Conservation Institute of Cultural Properties is also a part of the exhibition.

A variety of wild flowers will be exhibited in the museum; some are on sale. Until May 20, visitors to the museum will receive flower seeds free of charge.

The museum is also currently holding a contest for family photos taken at Hee Won, the Korean-style garden at the museum. People who want to enter the contest should submit their photographs to the Samsung Foundation of Culture by May 31. Winners will be announced on June 8.

Museum hours will be extended by two hours until 8 p.m. between Thursday, April 26 and May 6.

Admission price is 3,000 won ($2) for adults and 2,000 won for students.

For more information, call 031-320-1801 or visit the museum's Web site at www.hoammuseum.org

For English service, contact Kim Ja-myung on 031-320-1800.



by Cho Hyun-wook

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