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Berlin Office
Discovering Korea through Artifacts from German Collections

Korean Art Exhibition Will Tour Four Major Cities in Germany
Min Young-joon
Director, KF Berlin Office
Korea Rediscovered! - Treasures from German Museums, a touring exhibition of Korean artworks from 10 museums in Germany, is scheduled to open on March 25, 2011, at the Museum of East Asian Art in Cologue. The exhibition will continue until February 17, 2013, at museums in four major German cities: Cologne, Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.

The Best of Korean Art in Germany
The touring exhibition Korea Rediscovered!-Treasures from German Museum will showcase 116 Korean artworks, which have been selected from the Korean art collections housed at 10 German museums. This is the Korean art exhibition jointly organized by 10 contributing museums and the Korea Foundation. The 10 participating museums are the Museum of East Asian Art Cologne; Linden Museum Stuttgart; National Museum of Asian Art Berlin; National Ethnological Museum Berlin; Museum of Ethnology Hamburg; Museum of Art and Crafts Hamburg; Museum of Ethnography Leipzig; Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt; Gutenberg Museum Mainz; and Missionary Museum St. Ottilien.
The 116 exhibits include seven items from the Three Kingdoms period, 34 items from the Goryeo Dynasty (Buddhist paintings, artifacts with inlaid mother-of-pearl, and celadon) and 75 items from the Joseon Dynasty (Buddhist paintings, folding screens, mother-of-pearl articles, bronze objects, and printed materials). Especially noteworthy are “Suwol Gwaneum” (Water-Moon Avalokitesvara), “Elegant Gathering in the Western Garden” (1794), an eight-panel screen of the Joseon Dynasty, Daedongyeojido (Great Map of Korea) of the 19th century, “Paonien” folding screen of the Joseon Dynasty, lacquered articles inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and celadon ware of the 18th century.
The touring exhibition has been organized over 20 months since August 2009, when directors and curators of the 10 participating museums met in Berlin and agreed to support the cooperative project. The exhibition will officially open at the Museum of East Asian Art Cologne, on March 25, 2011, and be shown there through July. Then, it will be held at the Museum of Ethnography Leipzig, from February 17, 2012 to May 27, 2012, and the Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt from June 28, 2012 to September 9, 2012. A final showing is slated at the Linden Museum Stuttgart, from November 17, 2012 to February 17, 2013.

Richness of Korean Artworks
Dr. Ken Vos, the exhibition’s head curator, selected “A Journey Back in Time” as the overall theme, along with four concepts: (1) Ideas and Lifestyles (Buddhism, shamanism), (2) Art Collectors (Moellendorff, Fischer), (3) Production Techniques (painting techniques, kiln firing methods), and (4) Introduction of Korean Arts. The exhibits will be grouped under these concepts and shown in chronological order.
In an effort to promote the Korean art collections maintained in Germany and to introduce Korea’s cultural heritage to the academic community and art lovers in Germany, the Korea Foundation plans to publish an extensive exhibition catalogue in German and English. The catalogue describes the cultural relations between Korea and Germany, which are not well known, by introducing Germans who lived in Korea during the late Joseon period, and explaining how Korean artworks were acquired by German art collectors. In addition, the catalogue offers a multidisciplinary approach to modern Korean cultural studies by providing information related to art history, ethnology, and social/political studies. The exhibition catalogue (3,000 copies) will be available for purchase by visitors at the four host museums.
Since the 1980s, only a few Korean art exhibitions have been presented in Europe. They include the “Koreanische Tage/Korean Days -Koreanische Kunst 5te-20ste Jahrhundert”(1984) held in Ingelheim am Rhein; “Treasures from Korea” (1985-86) held at Cologne, Hamburg, and London; “Korea: The Old Kingdom” (1999-2000) at Essen, Munich, and Zurich; “Han Collection” in London; “Korean Pottery” (2005) in Frankfurt; “Goguryeo Tomb Murals” (2005) in Berlin; and “Buddhist Arts” (2008) in Brussels. As such, the upcoming exhibition represents a valuable occasion to introduce the richness of Korean art to European scholars and art lovers, and to enhance their understanding of Korea’s culture, history, religion, and lifestyle, which form a spiritual basis for the arts of Korea.

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