Lacquer, an artistic practice that shines more radiantly over time, has organically blended into the daily life of ancient Koreans who appreciated harmony with nature, moderate stylishness and a relaxed lifestyle.
A plant that grows naturally in all parts of Korea, lacquer tree was consumed as food and medicine and used as a natural pigment since 2000 years ago. After removing foreign substance and moisture, the sap extracted from lacquer tree was used either in its original form to highlight the texture of wood or combined with pigments to create new color. As a fortifying agent, lacquer was applied to wood or paper to enhance the material’s durability and preservability against moisture, temperature change, humidity and insects and also coated metal or leather to prevent corrosion or decay. This traditional technique also served a decorative function as the unique luster and smooth surface texture of lacquer achieved through repeating many times the processes of applying and polishing did not diminish over time. Lacquer was applied to various ceremonial and everyday objects used by the ruling class of the Proto-Three Kingdoms period as well as the royal family of the Joseon Dynasty to symbolize their authority and dignity.
Made through a long process that requires both patience and dedication, lacquerware did not lose its deep and delicate luster with the passage of time. This suited the aesthetic senses of ancient Koreans who valued composure and style in daily life. Lacquer works were well-loved throughout the centuries and enriched the lives of Korean people.
This special exhibition introduces lacquerware artifacts owned by the Coreana Cosmetics Museum. The exhibition consists of over 40 najeonchilgi (Korean lacquerware with mother-of-pearl inlay) works applied with traditional lacquer, red lacquer, and brilliant mother-of-pearl inlay alongside the works of modern artists who each present a unique world of art by making use of the traditional lacquer technique.
We hope that this exhibition allows visitors to interact while admiring from a fresh perspective the traditional lacquer art of Korea that meshes together a long period of time and techniques.
Participating Artists : Dongwan Kim, Insoo Chun
Supported by Coreana Cosmetics, Co., Ltd.
Taro #37_60x60cm_natural lacquer, gold leaf on wooden panel_2014
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