Korean art is a diverse and vibrant expression of the country’s rich cultural heritage. It has evolved over thousands of years, influenced by different dynasties, religions, and political movements. This historical overview will explore the evolution of Korean art from ancient times to the present day.
The Three Kingdoms period
The Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE-668 CE) marked the beginning of Korean art. The art of this period is characterized by the use of bronze and stone objects, such as weapons, pottery, and jewelry. Buddhism was introduced during this period, which influenced the art, architecture, and literature of the kingdom.
The Unified Silla period
The Unified Silla period (668-935 CE) was a time of artistic and cultural flourishing. The capital city of Gyeongju was home to many of the country’s most significant Buddhist temples and pagodas. The art of this period was heavily influenced by Chinese Tang Dynasty aesthetics, which led to the development of a distinct Korean style. The famous Gyeongju National Museum houses many artifacts from this period, including gold crowns, pottery, and Buddhist sculptures.
The Goryeo Dynasty
The Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392 CE) was a time of great artistic and cultural achievement. The period was characterized by the development of celadon pottery, which is famous for its pale blue-green glaze. The dynasty also produced beautiful Buddhist sculptures and paintings, many of which are still preserved in museums around the world. The famous Buddhist temples of Haeinsa and Bulguksa are examples of the outstanding architecture of this period.
The Joseon Dynasty
The Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910 CE) marked the beginning of the modern era of Korean art. The period was characterized by the development of the literati painting style, which focused on the beauty of nature and the expression of personal feelings. The dynasty also saw the emergence of traditional Korean folk painting, which was created by anonymous artists and often depicted scenes from everyday life.
The Korean War
After the Korean War (1950-1953), Korean art experienced a period of rapid development and growth. The country’s economic boom in the 1960s and 1970s led to an increased interest in contemporary art, and Korean artists began to gain international recognition.
Today, Korean art is a thriving and diverse field that encompasses a wide range of styles and mediums, from traditional ink painting to contemporary video installations. The collection of Korean art Kaesong features some of the finest contemporary paintings and drawings, created by artists like Jong Chang Mo, Son U Yong, Rim Ryul, Tak Hyo Yeaon, and more.