Making noodles and playing the zither. Cultural images from Korea

20.01.2015 to 17.05.2015
Museum für Asiatische Kunst

The exhibition brings together 22 small-scale genre images from the collection of Paul Georg von Möllendorf (1847-1901), from 1882 to 1885 an influential minister and adviser in the service of the Korean King Gojong, and two 20th century pictures, each continuing, in its own way, the tradition of genre painting: a painted placard from North Korea and a large hanging scroll by Seok Do-ryun (1919-2011).

The small leaves, in album format, depict scenes from a traditional society which was already disappearing in Korea by the time the pictures were created. They are ascribed to an artist by the name of Kim Jun-geun, also known as Kisan, who was active between 1880 and 1900.

Kisan was obviously an artisan entrepreneur who produced works in response to the needs of Western travellers; after the forcible opening up of Korea in 1876, they came in increasing numbers to a country hitherto hardly known in the West, and wanted to take home with them souvenirs of the foreign way of life they had seen. The scenes preserved in the pictures show many forgotten rites, crafts, and customs and now represent a valuable repository of knowledge for ethnologists and cultural historians.

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