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National Museum's remodeled gallery showcases true beauty of Goryeo celadon

Art/Culture 14:11 November 22, 2022

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) -- The National Museum of Korea (NMK) on Wednesday will reopen a gallery remodeled to spotlight the true beauty of the celadon ware of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) as one of the country's most iconic cultural heritage.

It took one year for the museum to give a facelift to the gallery as part of its project to upgrade its ceramic galleries on the third floor of its permanent exhibition wing. The museum reopened the Buncheong Ware and White Porcelain Gallery after renovation in February last year.

On display in the remodeled celadon gallery are about 250 pieces of celadon, including 12 national treasures and 12 lower-level treasures.

Goryeo celadons are on display in a remodeled celedon gallery of the National Museum of Korea in central Seoul on Nov. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

The centerpiece of the remodeled gallery is an exclusive space called "Goryeo Bisaek (The Jade Hues of Goryeo)" for immersive appreciation of the maximized beauty of Goryeo celadons in their enigmatic jade color with a delicate sheen.

The immersive space showcases a total of 18 select sculptural celadon ceramics presumed to be made in the 12th to 13th century when Goryeo's celadon art reached its peak. Among them are exquisite incense burners with a ball-shaped lid decorated in openwork design and a lion-shaped lid and a dragon-carp shaped ewer.

Goryeo celadons are on display in a remodeled celedon gallery of the National Museum of Korea in central Seoul on Nov. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

In the space darker than the rest of the gallery, visitors can be fully immersed in the mystic beauty of the jade-colored ceramics, helped by the soothing sound of "Blue Celadon," a new composition by French media artist and producer Daniel Kapelian.

The museum expects the remodeled celadon gallery will pair with its Room of Quiet Contemplation, which was created a year ago and instantly became a hot place among local museumgoers, as its two most popular signature spaces.

The dimly lighted room provides immersive appreciation of Korea's Buddhist statues by showcasing only two famous gilt-bronze "pensive bodhisattva" statues from the late sixth to the early seventh centuries in a minimalist way.

Goryeo celadons are on display in a remodeled celedon gallery of the National Museum of Korea in central Seoul on Nov. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

In the celadon gallery, visitors can also see teaware showcasing the culture of Goryeo's ruling class, waste shards from major kiln sites in the southwestern county of Buan, where the finest celadon ware was baked, and illustration videos reinterpreting various patterns remaining on the shards in a modern sense.

"We paid attention to the historical value of the celadons, such as various techniques to make them and their usage in everyday lives, together with their beauty," Lee Ae-ryung, who heads the fine arts division at the museum, said during a media tour of the celadon gallery Tuesday. "Visitors can view Goryeo celadons from various perspectives through the specially designed 'Goryeo Bisaek' space, various materials like waste shards from major kiln sites and videos that reinterpreted the celedons in a modern way."

"We hope that visitors will find peace of mind in this gallery while appreciating the divine beauty of the celadons and sharing the Goryeo people's outstanding aesthetic sense and love for nature," Yoon Sung-yong, director general of the museum, said.

sshim@yna.co.kr
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