Thursday, August 28, 2014

National Museum of Korea

Here's another one of those "flash from the past" blog posts - back in early 2014, shortly after we arrived and when winter had us seeking indoor activities, we ventured south of the base to the National Museum of Korea.  It's a very large and impressive structure, with three floors of art and artifacts covering a huge span of history, including items from the Paleolithic Age, the Three Kingdoms Period, the Joseon Dynasty, and modern times.

Our first trip there (I say first, as this museum took three separate trips in order to see everything), we started out in the Children's Museum.  There are a number of hands-on activities throughout and it was hard to get him to leave.  I know this is an earlier trip just by looking at this picture of our little guy - he has grown so much in six months!

Below you see they had a magnetized puzzle to recreate pottery and a mini rampart.

Building a pagoda puzzle - not quite tall enough to reach the top here!

There were also some pretty cool displays and artifacts for the kids to study. Different sections were dedicated to the home, pottery, war, clothes, and music - with very thorough displays.

Michael's favorite part, by far, was the area where cartoon kids taught interested onlookers a simple tai chi exercise - he tried very seriously to "do the dance", and was the subject of many pictures by people we didn't know.  :)
We eventually made it out of the kid's area, had some bulgogi burgers at the cafeteria, and moved on to the bigger kids' stuff.  Since it took three trips to see everything, I've condensed it all into this one blog post - some with descriptions and others just to enjoy.

Blue and white porcelain bowl and pitcher - Ming dynasty

Japanese armor

Duck-shaped pottery (had to have some ducks somewhere, right?)

A dog? A dragon? A lion? You decide. Michael called it the smiling pig.  

Two dragon tapestry

Michael needed a rest break...

Example of traditional wooden hanok house

Beautiful wooden cabinetry - I definitely want to bring home something in this style.

Joseon dynasty (19th Century) folding screen with the eight virtues of Confucianism - hyo (filial piety); je (respect for one's elders); chung (loyalty); sin (trust); ye (propriety); ui (righteousness); yeom (honesty); and chi (humility) - depicted by character scenes.

A small Buddhist ritual bell - with the main features of a dragon loop, sound stub, and striking point.

This large pagoda is visible from all three floors - beautiful!

Michael needed another break - 
so where better to sit, then next to a display of ancient sarcophaguses?

A stone dragon head

Another beautiful instrument - the Pyeong-gyeong - a set of stone chimes.

And I'll let that happy fellow bid thee farewell for now. 

Anyone in Seoul who wishes to visit the museum - 
it's an easy walk from Ichon Station on Line 4, exit 2.
Closed on Mondays - FREE to the public.

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