KPop Academy Week 11: Korean Art at the British Museum

Monday, 12 May 2014

This was our last class for KPop Academy. I cannot believe that it has come to an end. It feels like yesterday when I told you guys about my first day at the academy. I'll save all the sappy for my post after graduation. P.S This is so it doesn't really feel like the end :(

So for the last class we went on a field trip to The British Museum to Check out the Korean Exhibition.

We first stopped at a reconstruction of a traditional Sarangbang, or Scholar’s Study,where the guide told us a bit about the history of traditional Korean houses. She mentioned some really interesting things about the Architecture of it all as well. Some of it are 
  • The Sarangbang is a room in traditional Korean houses for men, the space for women is called Anbang. The two rooms were separated by a corridor known as Daecheong which is like a front porch. It was used to cool the houses during summer by protecting it from sunlight. 
  • A floor heating system known as Ondol was used to warm the room during winter. Because of the effectiveness of Ondol, it is still used today.
  • One of the Characteristics of the Sarangbang is that it has a separate study known as the Sarangchae which was forbidden for women.
  • Korean architecture lends consideration to the positioning of the house in relation to its surroundings, with thought given to the land and seasons.
  •  The ideal house is built with a mountain in the back and a river in the front
  •  Cheoma is the edge of Hanok's curvy roofs. The lengths of the Cheoma can be adjusted to control the amount of sunlight that enters the house.

According to the Museum, Objects on display in Room 67 also known as the Korea Room date from prehistory to the present day and include ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, painting, screen-printed books and illuminated manuscripts. 

We then proceeded to take a look at the Ceramics and Ornaments representing the Joseon era ad the Silla period. The guide told us about things that influenced Korean Art in that era and the distinct feature in Korean ceramics which is characterized by inlays.

He told us to take a picture of these two displays and compare it with the displays in both the Chinese and Japanese exhibitions. He told us how popular and in demand Korean ceramics were in that time and this was largely be attributed to the popularity of the Tea ceremony. Korean tea bowls were used for that.

We moved on to view the Chinese display of ceramics. According to the guide, it was the  largest display of Chinese ceramics outside of China and the entire collection belongs to one person. It was on a long term loan to the British Museum. 

We compared the two pictures and there were some similarities between the two types one of which is its colour. You could tell that the Art was greatly influenced by the other.

Our last stop on the tour was the Japan Room. The collection was arranged from early years of Japanese existence up until the modern times. It told a story of how Japanese Art has evolved. We stop to compare some jewellery and Metalwork with the one we saw earlier at the Korea room and there was a lot of similarities not only in colour and design but in Materials used as well. 

I really enjoyed learning about the Art of these Asian countries and would recommend you pay a visit to the British Museum.  Not only can you check out these three exhibitions, but there are also Art from all over the world. From mummies to Vikings and a whole lot in between.     



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