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National Museum of Korea plans first special exhibit of the year on Ancient Korean earthenware

2023.05.20 07:47:15 Hoonsung Lee
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[Silla Tombs. Photo Credit to Pixabay]

The National Museum of Korea is set to launch its first special exhibit of the year entitled “Companions on the Eternal Journey: Earthenware Figurines and Vessels from Ancient Korea,” which takes visitors on a fascinating voyage through Korea's rich history. 

The exhibit will be open from May 26th to October 10th, 2023, featuring an impressive collection of over 300 ancient Korean earthenware artifacts.

These captivating pieces, including pottery and clay figures, offer insights into the lives and beliefs of the ancient Gaya and Silla civilians. 

The exhibition highlights the clay artifacts that were used in the death rituals of these civilizations, which were often buried with the bodies of Gaya Kings and Royalties. 

“The hieroglyphic earthenware and decorations give valuable insight into the spiritual and everyday lives of the ancient Koreans,” stated the National Museum of Korea. 

Moreover, the exhibit also highlights the latest discoveries from the previously unknown Aragaya royal mausoleums, bringing light to the progress made in Korean archaeology.

In October 2022, the Haman museum in Gyeongsangnam-do Province announced the discovery of new artifacts during the excavation of royal mausoleums in the ancient territories of Aragaya. 

Established in 45 AD, Aragaya was a key state in the ancient Gaya alliance and thrived during the Three States period until its fall to the Silla Kingdom in 561 AD.

Aragaya's strategic location in the agriculturally rich Nam-Gang plains, as well as its proximity to the Yellow Sea, opened trade with ancient Japanese and Chinese civilizations. 

In fact, Aragaya appears in “The Chronicles of Japan,” which is one of the oldest books in classical Japanese history.

It also appears in the “Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms” and  “History of the Three Kingdoms” both of which are books on Korean history that were written hundreds of years ago. 

Its economic and cultural importance has made it a focal point for Korean archaeology since the 1990s. 

The Haman museum's excavations at the royal Aragaya tombs in Haman Malisan have uncovered over 260 artifacts, including golden crowns, saddles, pottery, and ancient Korean armor. 

Jeong Yeon-bo, head of the cultural heritage department in Gyeongsangnam-do, described these findings as "among the best artifacts from the entire Gaya and Three Kingdoms period."

The significant discoveries from Aragaya and Gaya royal tombs have led them to be nominated as candidates for the 2023 UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a decision expected in September 2023.

The exhibit will also feature national treasures from Haman Malisan, such as the Haman Malisan 45th pictorial pottery.

Adding on, the exhibit will also display the Silla artifacts from Gyeongju, Hwangnam-dong, which were reorganized after their initial excavation 80 years ago during the Japanese occupation of Korea.

Visitors can also admire the Gyeongju Hwangnam-dong clay figure, a remarkable artifact from the Silla Kingdom that offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of ordinary Silla people.

For children under seven and seniors aged 65 and older, admission is free of charge, butadult tickets cost KRW 5,000, with discounted rates available for students and group bookings. 

The exhibition is an opportunity to be captivated by the rich history and culture of ancient Korea, while also gaining immense knowledge on the ordinary lives and traditions of the Silla and Gaya civilizations. 

Hoonsung Lee / Grade 10
Cornerstone Collegiate Academy Seoul