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  • 25October

    Exhibit sheds light on urbanization of Joseon
    A new museum exhibit gives insight into how the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) capital changed from the 18th century through urban and commercial development and how it influenced the evolution of art. "The City in Art, Art in the City" is held at the Special Exhibition Gallery of the National Museum of Korea (NMK) in Yongsan, Seoul.

    "The exhibit focuses on the relationship between the city and art and how they coexisted," NMK director Lee Young-hoon said. "This is dedicated to those who loved and supported art."

    The exhibit begins with a 19th century map of Seoul, which was then called Hanyang. The map shows the entire cityscape of Seoul from Bukhan Mountain in the north to Han River in the south. The population was concentrated in the modern-day downtown area with dense roads marked in red.

    "Mountain-shaped Water Dropper" from the 19th century Joseon Kingdom / Courtesy of National Museum of Korea

    "Comprehensive Map of the Capital," a woodblock print also from the 19th century, reveals a similar population concentration within city walls. "The Local Court of Gyeonggi Province" describes Gyeonggi Court, which was located outside the city's western gate in today's Seodaemun-gu area, reflecting how the city expanded beyond the area enclosed by the city wall.

    "Hanyang prospered as the city went through commercialization and people and money flocked to the capital," NMK curator Jang Jin-ah said.

    The exhibition also sheds light on the literati culture in Hanyang and neighboring Asian countries China and Japan.

    Two scroll paintings from the Liaoning Provincial Museum in China are highlights of this exhibit. Over 10 meters long, "Along the River during the Qingming Festival" and "Prosperous Suzhou" capture the prosperity of Chinese cities in extreme detail. Such paintings sparked curiosity over wealth and a commercial boom in urbanized areas among Joseon people, especially aristocrats. The original paintings are on view until Oct. 23 and will be exchanged for replicas afterwards.

    "The City of Supreme Peace," an 18th century Joseon painting from an unknown artist, reflects such interest in urban commercial activity. Though the painting has people in Chinese costume, it mirrors many customs of Joseon and it is suggested that such a bustling atmosphere was considered utopian among Joseon people.

    "It also shows how cultural exchanges between Korea and China influenced urban development," the curator said.

    The second section, "People, Captivated by the City," features works of Kim Hong-do and Shin Yun-bok, the two most famous creators of genre painting.

    "Leisure has become an important part of city life," Jang said. "It is interesting to observe how Kim and Shin described the entertainment and culture in different ways."

    As commerce thrived, the lower classes came on the art and culture scenes, boasting aesthetics matching those of the elites, backed by their newfound fortunes.

    "Literati Gathering of the Middle People," an 1853 painting by Yu Suk, is an example of Joseon's commoners enjoying high culture.

    As people started to collect artworks it revolutionized the production of art. "Hundred Fans," a series of paintings for folding screens borrowed from the Hamburg Museum for Ethnology in Germany reveals how elaborate paintings describing Joseon culture grabbed the attention of foreigners as Joseon opened its ports.


    More info : National Museum of Korea
  • 05October

    Museum Puri Lukisan Will Exhibit Paintings of Ketut Madra and Wayang Art of the Past 100 Years

    A new exhibition, opening on 7 October at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan, includes 69 paintings by Ketut Madra of Peliatan and 22 other artists, all working in the oldest style of Balinese painting and telling the ancient Hindu and Buddhist legends of Bali’s shadow puppet theater or wayang kulit.


    More info : Museum Puri Lukisan
  • 23September

    Afghanistan museum director to guest lecture at Jones Auditorium

    In an effort to establish a more working relationship between the Museum of Texas Tech University and the National Museum of Afghanistan, Texas Tech will host Fahim Rahimi for a guest lecture at 6 p.m. today in the Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium.

    The lecture will be free and open to the public.

    These days, people who work in and around museums have realized their works have become more global than it has local, Gary Morgan, executive director of the museum, said. Along with emphasizing the obligations to Lubbock and West Texas, the Tech museum has tried to expand into more of a global role.


    “We recognize in the National Museum of Afghanistan a potential partner in an area of particular significance,” Morgan said. “And that particular significance is: The role that culture plays in the ethos and re-establishment of a really viable community, especially one that has been through a very difficult time of some extended conflict.”

    There is a real opportunity in a partnership between the two museums, he said, that levers off of the collections in the National Museum of Afghanistan. Part of the purpose of Rahimi’s visit is to discuss preliminary goals for the partnership.

    Additionally, there is a need for expanded hands on research and conservation on Tech’s part, Hyojun Cho, associate professor of heritage management, said. This would mostly focus on the graduate program in the Tech museum.

    “Not only are we educating our students, which the partnership will greatly benefit, so studying that cultural heritage like Afghanistan’s is just our study too (and) our research as well,” Cho said.

    Excited on the invitation to speak at Tech, Rahimi, director for the National Museum of Afghanistan, will deliver the lecture, “Fighting for the Nation’s Cultural Heritage: Efforts and Challenges of the National Museum of Afghanistan.”

    The lecture will focus on the importance of understanding cultural heritage, especially through museums, Rahimi said.

    There is an important need for people to understand their heritage, he said, but there is even more of a need for people’s understanding to be focused on Afghanistan.

    “I wanted to talk to the people and give them some information about the importance of cultural heritage here and what we are doing to preserve that,” Rahimi said.

    Through his efforts Rahimi is trying to show other parts of the western world the positive aspects of Afghanistan because in many instances all that is portrayed is the negative, he said.

    Museum activities have not historically been very outreaching, Rahimi said, and this especially took a hit during the time of the Afghanistan civil war in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    There has also been a struggle in cultural preservation during conflict time, Morgan said, which makes it difficult to prioritize museum artifacts over people’s safety.

    Previous directors of the National Museum of Afghanistan have struggled to keep artifacts and other objects from being looted during conflict times, Rahimi said. Though the museum officials were able to preserve the most important parts of their cultural heritage, there is still a big portion that is missing, yet to be rediscovered.

    “According to estimations, we had more than 100,000 inventory artifacts there, but about 70 percent of them were looted,” Rahimi said.


    Before the civil war, museum administration decided to move the most important artifacts to different areas of the country, so if one were looted, there would still be a small safety net, Rahimi said. One of the safest places for these artifacts was the president’s palace and a central bank vault in Afghanistan.

    At this point in history, there is also a good benefit in cultural tourism, Morgan said. This lecture will address several misconceptions of an Afghanistan war zone that is too violent to visit.

    “It’s hard to imagine that tourists would visit Afghanistan because of the way it’s presented in the media,” Morgan said. “But that’s only a matter of time before the current situation passes and that we have a really stable and perceived stable environment.”

    Cultural tourism could stand as a primary rebuilding agent, he said.

    There is great potential in Afghanistan, but because of misinformation by western media many people only see the part of the country that is surrounded by violence, Rahimi said.

    “But there is a lot of cultural and natural beauty there, but even now we have tourists — we do not think of that — but we have tourists,” Rahimi said.

    Because of that the museum is hosting two international exhibitions: the Afghanistan Treasures Exhibition, which is traveling around the world, and one in the Czech Republic, he said. The Czech Republic exhibition concluded recently.

    Afghanistan does have problems, now and again, but there is still beauty in the country and culture, Rahimi said.

    “People do not know about the importance of their cultural heritage. They simply consider it as material,” Rahimi said. “They don’t know the value which is attached to that material culture.”

    More info : Daily Toreador
  • 19September

    Crown of Empress Xiao of Sui Dynasty revealed in northwest China

    Chinese archaeologists have restored a 1,400-year-old royal crown, which belonged to the wife of Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (581-618).

    The crown was unearthed in the tomb of the queen, known as Empress Xiao, in 2012 in Yangzhou, eastern China's Jiangsu Province.

    It is the oldest official crown of a queen ever found in China.

    Archaeologists dug it out of a rotten wooden box near the queen's coffin and sent it to a relic restoration lab with the Cultural Relic Protection Institute in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
    Yang Junchang, a professor with Northwest Industrial University, who led the restoration project, said his team carefully cleared fragile copper wires from the crown, inch by inch, to restore 13 flower decorations.

    The flowers made of gilded bronze wires are very delicate with clear shapes of stalks, petals and stamen. The decorations are gold colored, and flicker with movement.

    The crown was made with a variety of materials, including bronze wire, gold, pearls, cotton and silk.

    Shu Jiaping, head of the Yangzhou Institute of Archaeology, said that lab research had helped rediscover the materials and ancient techniques used for making a royal crown.


    More info : New York Archaeology
  • 13September

    Exhibition will show the softer side of the samurai

    FOR centuries they have been portrayed as among history’s most fearsome fighting warriors, but a new exhibition will reveal the softer side of the samurai.

    The role of the famous Japanese soldiers as lovers of literature and the arts will be the focus of a new exhibition The Shogun’s Cultured Warriors at the Oriental Museum in Durham.

    Museum staff and academics from Durham University’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures have worked together to develop the exhibition which opens tomorrow (Tues, June 7).

    The exhibition includes historic armour and weapons, together with wood block prints, lacquerware and ceramics, some dating back as far as the 16th century, together with modern objects such as film posters and fashion.

    Curator, Dr Rebekah Clements, said: "Contrary to their rough image as fighters, Japan’s samurai elite were lovers of literature and the arts, leaving behind a legacy that continues to the present day.

    "The ruling shoguns and their high-ranking samurai were keen to cultivate their reputation as cultured rulers in the East Asian tradition.

    “When they took over as the effective centre of power in Japan from the 12th Century many adopted courtly pursuits including Japanese and Chinese poetry, painting, and calligraphy.

    "In 1644 when the Ming dynasty in China fell to the Qing, a tribe who were regarded as uncultured barbarians, many of Japan’s samurai elite saw themselves as the true inheritors of the cultural legacy of China." 


    More info : The Northern Echo
  • 30August

    Collection of Japanese objects in the VNMH

    The vietnam National Museumof History(VNMH) preserves a Japanese collection of 72 objects which were made of organic materials. According to records, those objects were collected by the Louis Finot Museum from exchanging with the Japanese Royal Museum, dating estimated in Edo period (1603-1868) and Meiji period (1868-1912).



    More info : Vietnamese National Museum of History
  • 22August

    Nyonya needlework on show at Singapore’s Peranakan Museum

    Nyonya needlework is a distinctive form of Peranakan Chinese art, but the embroidery and beadwork of Straits-born Chinese women tell stories beyond those of their own culture.

    The new exhibition, Nyona Needlework, at the Peranakan Museum in Singapore aims to show this. It features close to 200 items of embroidery and beadwork from Singapore's national collection - the largest collection of Nyonya needlework in public hands - as well as some loans from the Rijksmusum and the National Museum of World Culture, both in the Netherlands.

    More info : Star2
  • 12August

    V&A wins Museum of the Year 2016

    The Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize was awarded to the V&A last night at a dinner and ceremony at the Natural History Museum, London. V&A Director, Martin Roth, accepted the award from HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. The event was attended by prestigious guests from the art, design and museum world, many of which have worked closely with the V&A.

    The annual museum prize, the largest in the world, recognises the outstanding innovation, imagination and achievements of one museum throughout the preceeding year. The V&A was one of five finalists including :Arnolifini(Bristol), Bethlem Museum of the Mind (London), Jupiter Artland (Edinburgh), and York Art Gallery (Yorkshire).


    More info : Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
  • 10August

    Kumamoto Castle: Repeated Damage Due to Natural Disasters and the Repairs Performed

    Two major earthquake occurred sequentially on April 14th and 16h, 2016 which caused significant damage across the Kumamoto region. Kumamoto castle, the symbol of Kumamoto, suffered serious damage including the collapse of stone walls, damage to several small turret towers, and damage to the main castle tower.

    Although the words "partially collapsed castle" may give the impression of a major crisis for the first time since the fortification was erected, historical documents held at Kumamoto University's Faculty Literature have revealed that the castle has endured repeated damage from natural disasters beginning soon after its construction.

    According to the historical documents on Kumamoto Castle, several lords applied to the Tokugawa Shogunate (the central government during Japan's Edo Period from 1603 to 1867) for permission to repair collapsed stone walls that resulted from a natural disaster early on in the castle's history. These documents come from the Eisei-Bunko Research Center of Kumamoto University, where ancestral works, literary manuscripts, and other historical materials of Hosokawa family - once the daimyo (lord) of Kumamoto, are safely stored for research and historical purposes.

    Though the docmuments that have been reviewed at this time are from the early Edo period(early 17 century), it is thought that repeated damage, caused mainly by natural disasters, and repairs have been a common occurrence at the castle.

    The castle is a symbol of Kumamoto, and many voices are saying that the restoration should be finished a soon as possible. On the other hand, it is very important to make the restorations carefully over a reasonable period of time.

    "Rather than rushing the restoration we think it is more appropriate to provide people the opportunity to view the repair process while also ensuring sufficient constrcution safety for the viewing public and the construction workers. We hope that Kumamoto castle will continue to be hight regarded for the craftsmanship used in its construction and repair, as well as its beauty and durability over its next 400 years," siad Ms. Goto, a member of the center's research staff.

    After the recent earthquakes, the staff of the Eisei-Bunko Research Center have been performing rescue activities that have saved many historical documents from private homes affected by the disaster. The center has been entrusted with the temporary storage of many important documents. Already 120 boxes of historical documents and materials have been brought in for safe keeping.

    Furthermore, projects supporting the restoration and utilization of cultural assets, like Kumamoto Castle, has been recently established by a collaboration of researchers from Kumamoto University's Eise-Bunko Research Center, Department of Architecture and Building Engineering, and Division of History. Specialized support from their respective research fields toward the recovery and utilization of affected cultural heritage sites and historic buildings is provided by the group. They will provide advice and support in helping th return Kumamoto Castle to tis pre-earthquake beauty.




    More info : Heritage Daily
  • 08August

    Ancient beads' lasting magic

    It was made in the prehistoric period, an ancient bead 15cm long, tubular and consisting of black-and-white agate and orange carnelian rock. It was broken in two and buried, separately, with two bodies, perhaps relatives, in what is today the Tha Luang district of Lop Buri.

    Last decade, local diggers found one section of the bead and put it up for sale on the underground market. They failed to find the other part of the bead after digging at the Tha Luang site.

    But it was eventually recovered and reached the hands of bead collector Peerachai Luejaroenkiat, also vice-president of the archaeology club of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. He thought he would never see the other part.

    But last year he found a pricture of a bead with a similar shape and materials posted on the Facebook page of Bunchar Pongpanich, a doctor known for being an expert on ancient beads.

    They met in November during a bead exhibition arranged by the collectors group Suvarnabhumi Beads.

    The two parts of the bead were joined. To the delight of observers, they fitted seamlessly.

    Tracing back the bead's origin, Mr Peerachai believes his way dug up by Nakhon Sawan diggers who sold it via another trade route. The two halvers may have been separated for 2,000 years, even though the two graves were only 40 metres apart.

    The reunion of the two halves was seen as a miracle by some bead collectors.

    More info : Bankok Post
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