Two cultural assets allowed to be permanently taken out of country

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jun 18, 2019 - 19:40
  • Updated : Jun 18, 2019 - 19:40

 Two modern folding screens, called “byeongpung” in Korean, will be legally taken out of the country for permanent overseas display for the first time, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said Tuesday.

“The cultural assets committee has permitted the ‘Chaekgado’ and ‘Yeonhwado’ byeongpung to be transferred to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, permanently through a review,” the administration said.

The 326.5 centimeter x 177 cm Chaekgado, a depiction of the harmonious placement of books and stationery on a bookshelf, is believed to have been made around the late 19th century or early 20th century, and the lotus flower-themed 303 cm x 121 cm Yeonhwado is estimated to have been manufactured in the early 20th century. The works are both 10-panel screens. 

This photo, provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration, shows the 10-panel screen “Chaekgado.” (Yonhap)

According to the cultural assets protection law, national treasures, national folk cultural assets or national monuments are not normally allowed to be exported or be taken out of the country and can be temporarily taken out of the country only for cultural exchanges like overseas exhibitions.

Legally established museums can send ordinary movable cultural assets to foreign museums on condition that they will be returned home within 10 years.

“(In allowing the permanent exhibition of the two pieces at the National Gallery of Victoria), we‘ve taken into account that they are not registered cultural assets and that there are not a few similar paintings,” Oh Choon-young, a CHA researcher, said.

The committee has also considered that the owner of the works will not be an individual but a national museum, he said.

“The permanent display in Australia is expected to provide a momentum for Korean cultural assets to expand their external scope,” Oh said.

This photo, provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration, shows the 10-panel screen “Yeonhwado.” (Yonhap)

Earlier, the National Gallery of Victoria, founded in 1861, showed a strong intention to purchase Korean cultural assets via the Seoul-based Gallery Hyundai as its Korean collection is relatively poor compared with its Chinese and Japanese collections.

“Officials from the National Gallery of Victoria visited the country three times to purchase the works,” Sohn Yoo-jeong, head of the gallery, said.

The works are set to bent to Australia sometime next month, Sohn added. (Yonhap)