I love when Museums are free. Especially since we pay so much here.
Anyway, I visited the National Museum of Korea before the end of my trip. I have to admit, learning about history isn’t my forte. I actually find a lot of it to be…tedious. The thing is, I need to know more about a culture that seems so backwards to me, having been born in another country. Perhaps, just perhaps, it would help to understand some of what eventually led up to this point.
So, I decided to go with the English tour that is available for free, twice a day. I had missed the earlier one, so I went for the afternoon session. The older gentleman was nice, and did his best to explain the history in a way that would help us relate to it in some way.
I had forgotten my battery pack, so I didn’t record, but there was just so much that went on.
In any case, this post is pretty picture heavy, so more after the jump…
No one wants to carry heavy bags. I knew from the science centre that there should be lockers…but I didn’t see them. Turns out they were near the Gift Shop -____- I carried my bag the whole time, which didn’t help my back at all.
The gift shop is to the left of the picture, and the lockers will be on your left hand side, against the wall. If I recall, it was 100won/10 cents to store your stuff. The locker size was fairly big as well.
I was pretty happy that there wasn’t a lot of people the day I went. There were a bunch of school groups, but nothing to be too worried about. OR SO I THOUGHT! These kids were a menace! Their teachers were basically babysitters. Which was interesting to me, as that is not how I know Korean teachers to be. These kids were yelling, running around playing tag, hiding and scaring their friends. The female teachers were impossibly short skirts…that she couldn’t pick up the pen she dropped, and had to get her student to do it for her -_____-
It also just happaned that I left my ipod in the locker back at the Seoul Metro Station OTL.
So I made the best of the situation. At least I tried.
What I learned from this piece, was that there are a number of national treasures in the building. Some of the pieces are held at the other museums, and others at other locations. But the national treasures are labeled on the plaque, and has its own identification number.
This piece was interesting, because it was all gold, with jade pieces. It was found within one of the burial sites that they excavated. On that note, the way that the Koreans had created their burial mounds, were pretty fascinating. I forgot when this was actually discovered, but a lot of the tomb pieces were retrieved in 1970-1999ish. The fact that it hadn’t been too long since they were discovered, was a theme that would constantly reoccur during my visit there. In any case, the tombs were created that without certain machinery, the mound would collapse on you. So the tombs weren’t/could not be raided like the ones of the Pharaohs in Egypt.
I liked the way they used electronics. Basically they took videos, and the touch screens would allow you to manipulate the video clip in the way you want. It would also let you zoom, so you could see a macro shot of how the piece looks.
Before, Buddhism was the dominant belief for South Korea. Now, according to our guide, it was Christianity then Buddhism. But even then, the stats were fairly low, where most chose to not believe in either.
This piece was really interesting. It looks rather small, but it was HUGE! In addition, the colours were so vibrant. It was beautiful It was also to have been painted with colours found in nature. The reason why this was so large, was because of the fact that a lot of people would gather for the Buddhism ceremonies, and well, you would want everyone to see, especially if you were expecting thousands of people.
Another beautiful piece was the pagoda. According to the guide. It was originally from North Korea? But ended up in South Korea. Then Japan smuggled it to Japan. Then with pressures from others, it was finally returned back to Korea soil. I didn’t take close pictures, but if you were to walk up close, you will see that there are two colours to the Pagoda. Basically the different colour shows where it has been patched up during restoration.Of, in addition, this can be broken don into pieces, which is how it was moved to Japan in the first place.
Another thing that fascinated me about this museum, was the way they had a large dedication to donated collections. Not just one or two pieces, but massive collections, well, in its own right. It was amazing to me, sespecially to think that this was held in a private home at one point. Until it was donated (most of which were donated fairly recently).
This room had screens at the front of the room, screens that were used as dividers. The twist was that the screens were digital screens, and thus were animated. It was nice. And Quiet. I figured I would take a ‘selfie’.
This post was mostly a, see no touch type of deal. I know I didn’t share much, but in all seriousness, there was just so much there that it was rather difficult to absorb!
Anyway, if you ever visit Korea, make sure you book some time off to go and visit. I spent about 4 hours, and rushed the last bit.