23.09.2005 to 20.11.2005

Art from Ancient Korea: Historical Images of Tomb Murals from the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 BC-668 AD)

"Art from Ancient Korea: Replicas of Tomb Murals from the Goguryeo-Empire (37 BC-668 AD)" is the first significant exhibition in Europe dedicated to the ancient Korean Kingdom of Goguryeo. The show presents works of Goguryeo arts, among them replicas of tomb murals, ceramics, brick reliefs and a true-to-the original walk-in reproduction of a tomb with murals. Its original is located in Deokheung-ri near Nampo in North Korea. A monumental stele will be placed in front of the museum. It is dedicated to King Gwanggaeto, the 19th King of Goguryeo. The monument is 6.39 m high and its side length is 2 m.

The murals of Goguryeo were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004, and thus the paintings from the Goguryeo tombs are considered the most significant legacy of the ancient Kingdom. Only few cultural treasures of Goguryeo have been preserved. The walls of the tombs are painted with decorative ornaments, scenes from the daily life of the dead, depictions of protective spirits, or even stars and their constellations. They give witness of ancient life, testify of highly developed cultures and arts, and are of utmost importance for archaeology and history. Although the exhibition shows only replicas of the murals, which were created between 1912 and 1941, they are highly esteemed by art historians and considered exact reconstructions of the originals. Indeed, the replicas are more three-dimensional than the original murals that have deteriorated considerably over the last decades.

"Art from Ancient Korea" has been organized by the Korea Foundation and the Museum of East Asian Arts in cooperation with the National Museum of Korea and the Seoul National University Museum. A 180-page catalogue with many illustrations and pictures will be the first bilingual publication in English and German dedicated to the history of the Goguryeo Kingdom.