The Korea Herald

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What's new in national museums 2023

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Jan. 3, 2023 - 14:45

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A helmet and armor gifted to German Prince Heinrich by King Gojong in 1899 (Museum of Rothenbaum World Cultures and Arts (MARKK), Hamburg-KCHF) A helmet and armor gifted to German Prince Heinrich by King Gojong in 1899 (Museum of Rothenbaum World Cultures and Arts (MARKK), Hamburg-KCHF)

Following the explosive popularity of two exhibitions at the National Museum of Korea -- “A Collector’s Invitation” showcasing the late Samsung Chair Lee Kun-hee's art collection and "Six Centuries of Beauty in the Habsburg Empire" -- which attracted thousands to the museum daily, national museums in Seoul have more exhibitions of historical artifacts from both home and abroad in store this year.

In late May, the National Museum of Korea will present a special exhibition of earthenware and clay figures from the Three Kingdoms era. Many clay objects depicting a person riding a horse or a boat, as well as oil lamps, survive from that period.

Among the highlights of the exhibition showcasing some 300 earthenware pieces are earthenware funerary objects in the shape of a warrior on horseback, excavated from Gyeongju’s Geumnyeongchong Tomb, and designated a National Treasure in 1962.

Earthenware funerary objects excavated from Geumnyeongchong Tomb in Gyeongju, the capital of Silla kingdom. (NMK) Earthenware funerary objects excavated from Geumnyeongchong Tomb in Gyeongju, the capital of Silla kingdom. (NMK)

In June an exhibition of 52 Western European paintings from the 15th to the 20th century from The National Gallery in London will take place at the National Museum of Korea.

The special exhibition commemorating the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the United Kingdom is the first-ever show in Korea of works from The National Gallery.

Works by master painters Botticelli, Raphel, Titian and Caravaggio, as well as Manet, Monet, Renoir, Gauguin and Van Gogh, will be shown.

At the National Palace Museum in May, reproductions of three artifacts from the Korean Empire in the collection of the Museum of Rothenbaum World Cultures and Arts (MARKK) in Hamburg, Germany will go on display.

The three artifacts -- a suit of armor, a helmet and an armor box -- are part some 40 gifts that King Gojong presented to the visiting German Prince Heinrich (1862-1929) in 1899.

Ten custodians of intangible cultural heritage are currently working on reproducing the items.

The National Hangeul Museum will present a special exhibition on the cultural history of Hangeul in May.

The exhibition will mark the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Korean-language children's magazine "Eorini (Children)" published by independence activist Bang Jeong-hwan (1899-1931). It also invites viewers for a closer look at the word, "eorini" from a linguistic and textual perspective.

“Self-Portrait at the Age of 63,” by Dutch artist Rembrandt, which will be shown at the National Museum of Korea in June (The National Gallery, London-NMK) “Self-Portrait at the Age of 63,” by Dutch artist Rembrandt, which will be shown at the National Museum of Korea in June (The National Gallery, London-NMK)

The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History is preparing three exhibitions that unveil Korea's modern and contemporary history under three keywords: finance, Hallyu and coal.

Although the dates have yet been announced, a small-scale exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement will also be held at the museum.

The National Folk Museum is set to expand the meaning of folk culture and arts with the opening of a new permanent exhibition on K-culture in the latter half of this year.

A special exhibition dedicated to masks of East Asia will open in October, with the goal of introducing talchum, traditional Korean mask dance drama, that was designated UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in November.