A new venue to enjoy Korean traditional paintings

In my blog post dated 5 March 2017, I have provided an overview of the Korean traditional paintings.  Where will you go if you want to see some Korean traditional paintings?  You may think of venues like the National Museum of Korea and art galleries.  However, currently, there is a new venue where you can see such paintings -the Seoul Metro.

The Seoul Metro has cooperated with a local cultural heritage foundation to print two pieces of Korean traditional paintings on the floors of  two cars of a train on the Seoul Subway Line 3.  The explanations of the history of these paintings are posted on the walls. The originals of the two pieces of Korean traditional paintings are currently kept overseas. One of these two pieces is the “Portrait of Four Seasons” (사계풍속도 – Sagepungsokdo) by Kim Hong-do (김홍도) of the Joseon Dynasty depicting the lives of Koreans in the 18th century in four different seasons. This Korean painting was donated by a French diplomat (who purchased it in the late 1800’s) to the Guimet Museum in Paris.  Another Korean painting is the “Ten Symbols of Longevity” (십장생 – Ship-jangsaeng) which was made in 1880 after King Gojong’s son recovered from smallpox, and includes the sun, water, fruits and animals symbolizing eternal youth and prosperity.  This painting was sold to the United States in the early 1900’s and is currently at the University of Oregon.

Through this project, the Seoul Metro hopes to raise public awareness of the over 136,000 pieces of Korean cultural heritage which are sold or taken abroad. These paintings can be seen on the Seoul Subway Line 3 train until 31 January 2018. After seeing these paintings on the subway train, if you want to see more of Korean traditional culture, you can get off the subway at the Gyeongbokgung Palace station (which is also on Line 3) to visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest palace in South Korea.

You may get a glimpse of the Korean traditional paintings printed on the subway train by watching this video. Enjoy! 🙂

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