Exhibit explores life during the Goguryeo eraEver since the dispute over Goguryeo flared up two years ago between Korea and China, the very name of the ancient kingdom ignites a sense of fierce pride and nationalism among Koreans.
But since the kingdom (B.C. 668 to 37 A.D.) ruled over most of present-day North Korea and a large portion of Manchuria, South Korea does not possess a rich and impressive array of artifacts from that period. To observe the culture and history of that period one would have to visit China or North Korea.
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Inter-Korean Summit, North and South Korea agreed to hold a joint exhibition on Goguryeo artifacts in Seoul. The Seoul Museum of History will showcase more than 54 items from North Korea’s Joseon Central History Museum in Pyongyang; a total of 200 artifacts will be on display.
The Korea University Museum held an exhibit of Goguryeo artifacts lent by Pyongyang in May, but the Seoul Museum of History will display replicas of additional artifacts such as clothing, instruments and weapons. Royal tombs and mural paintings will also be reconstructed with the help of North Korean historians. The exhibition will also show how ordinary people lived during the period, and their views on the afterlife, by recreating scenes from the past.
The exhibition is divided into five sections: warfare, afterlife, architecture, ordinary lifestyle and the spirit of Goguryeo.
A high definition video display will show the ruins of Goguryeo palaces near Pyongyang, as well as the Daeseongdsan Wall that surrounded the royal palace, giving the public a more realistic experience of the ruins.
Other video presentations will feature the history of Goguryeo and its expansion in its heyday. Famous Goguryeo kings such as Gwanggaeto and Jangsu will also be featured in the panel displays.
In the warfare section, a replica of a Goguryeo warrior will be on display in full armor, mounted on a horse. In contrast to the contemporary Shilla and Baekje dynasties, Goguryeo people were mostly hunters and warriors. But the exhibition shows that they had a large number and intricate types of musical instruments.
The afterlife section demonstrates how Goruryeo people honored their dead and conducted rituals through a video clip of the murals and ceilings of the tombs. Gold-plated ornaments that were placed in the tombs indicate the importance Goguryeo people placed on the deceased. Roof tiles from the Anhakgung palace show the elaborate designs and patterns used by the ancient Goguryeo people.
By Choi Jie-ho
The exhibit of Goguryeo artifacts from North Korea, called “The Dream of the Continent, Goguryeo,” runs until Aug. 21 at the Seoul Museum of History. Admission is 700 won (70 cents) for adults, 300 won for children. For more information, call (02) 724-0146 or visit www.museum.seoul.kr.