Korean Wave fans in Singapore rejoice! A new and limited time Korean Wave is now here in Singapore, at the Asian Civilisations Museum! This special limited time Korean Wave started on 22nd April 2017 to 23rd July 2017. Fans who love Korean Wave, especially Korean period dramas, this special exhibition is something you must not miss! Inside the Joseon Korea exhibition, get up close and have a good view of the many different types of treasures, fashion, history, heritage and culture that you saw in Korean dramas.

On 21st April, I was honoured to be invited to attend the official opening of the Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life special exhibition at Asian Civilisations Museum. Mr Kennie Ting, Director of Asian Civilisations Museum, gave the opening speech on this special Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life exhibition

ACM Director Kennie Ting said, “Fans of K-culture will not find this showcase unfamiliar, as many of the stories and treasures that we are showing in this exhibition have inspired Korea’s popular culture – from period drama series to contemporary arts and aesthetics, and even fashion. Much of what is regarded as traditionally Korean today had been developments and innovations during the Joseon period. In the same thread, South Korean artist Ran Hwang’s art installation adds to the experience of the exhibition, with its contemporary interpretation of Korean traditions. The Joseon dynasty’s extraordinary legacy not only withstands the test of time by being relevant to this day, but also resonates with new audiences beyond geographical boundaries.”

The Guest of Honour was Ms. Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who officially declared this special exhibition opened, accompanied and attended by many distinguished dignitaries and guests of the Asian Civilisations Museum. A grand occasion with traditional beautiful Korean cultural performances that delighted the guests present at the official opening event.

After watching the traditional Korean performances, I visited the exhibition together with my friends. The Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life exhibition is divided into 6 sections –

  • Departing from the Goryeo kingdom sets the stage with an introduction of the transition between two dynasties, including key episodes and figures like King Taejo of Joseon, whose changes and ideas laid the foundation for the dynasty. His move to adopt Neo-Confucianism distinguished a new era for Korea, and shaped its political and cultural life;
  • Royal authority and court culture unveils life inside the royal palace, the roles and expectations of the king and queen, courtly rituals and ceremonies, and even costumes, food and music. The calculated pomp and pageantry that surrounded them was central to asserting the royal authority, and the King’s multiple roles as leader, ruler and scholar;
  • The yangban, which looks at the elite and aristocratic class in Joseon. Considered the moral pillar of Joseon society, their adherence to Confucian ideals and hierarchical values translated to their daily lives and in their living spaces. This examination of the yangban’s public and private lives paints a picture of their prominence, priorities and pursuits;
  • Nature in Korean Art depicts the importance of nature to Joseon artists – not just as inspiration, but also the material for their creations. Among the showcase are traditional buncheong stoneware, popular during the first two centuries of the Joseon dynasty, and the characteristically Korean style of ‘true-view’ landscape paintings that reflect the socio-political climate of developing a distinct Korean identity;
  • Sacred art and religious traditions provides insight to the influence of Confucianism and Buddhism in Joseon ritual life – from grand state ceremonies to private family religious practices. Beyond the connections of the living to their forefathers and enhanced solidarity among kin through such traditions, how Buddhism integrated with indigenous folk religion for mass reception is also examined; and
  • Streets of Hanyang: Everyday life of the people, depicting life in the capital through genre paintings – a major form of Korean art that flourished in the 18th  These vignettes candidly capture everyday life, societal classes, and how important occasions like the first day of the Lunar New Year, harvest festival Chuseokand individual rites of passage were celebrated.

(Information courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum press release)

I do watch selected Korean dramas, therefore, I was able to relate and understand some of the items that were exhibited inside this exhibition. Some exhibits were intriguing and I was able to learn more about Korean history, heritage and culture.

The paintings and artworks on display were a real eye-opener for me, especially some of the paintings that were quite long in the length and the amount of delicate and skilful display of people on the paintings.

Having watched a small number of Korean dramas that showcased the Joseon dynasty, I got excited when I saw the clothing on display! This was as close as getting to learn more about Korean history, heritage and culture in Singapore since I haven’t visit Korea yet! (Ok, I think it’s high time that I plan a travel photography holiday to Korea)

From artwork, paintings, furniture, fashion, clothing, manuscripts and artefacts, this is a very meticulously curated special exhibition on Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, right here in Singapore, at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

I wasn’t able to view everything on display at the Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life during the official opening event. Therefore, I have to visit the exhibition and add on more photographs to share with my readers here!

To all the Korean Wave (especially Korean drama) fans in Singapore, the Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life special exhibition is definitely worth a visit! While it is not exactly visiting a Korean drama production setup, entering into the world of Joseon Dynasty, you are able to learn more about them and appreciate the Korean drama period shows even better!

I would like to thank Asian Civilisations Museum for the invitation to Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life official opening event and the opportunity to tour the exhibition.

Key information on Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life special exhibition

Location: Asian Civilisations Museum

Period: 22nd April 2017 to 23rd July 2017

Ticketing:

  Price
Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (Adults) $10
Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (Concession: Seniors, Students, NSF*) Free
Non-Residents (Adults) $15
Non-Residents (Concession: Seniors, Students*) $10
Non-Residents (Family of 5) $45

Website: www.acm.org.sg