Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Royal Decoration Culture Exhibition in Seoul

I was thrilled to be able to attend the Royal Decoration Culture Exhibition in Seoul. I was able to attend the pre-show which was only open to those exhibiting and their invited guests. The owner of the maedeup shop was exhibiting and she invited me and my Korean girlfriends.

Hellena meet me in Seoul and Hannah was coming later. We met up with the owner, my maedeup teacher and a few other girls I had seen in the shop from time to time. It was steaming hot and humid in Seoul that day and I was praying that it was air conditioned.

The exhibition took place in Seokjojeon Hall in Deoksugung Palace. As we entered the palace, we were greeted by these Koreans wearing traditional clothing.
In 1964, Korea created "Important Intangible Cultural Properties" to preserve Korean culture. Maedeup is number 22. This exhibition featured the work of many "masters" of Korean culture. The gentleman in the photo above is a master in Hanbok shoes. They are made with silk and are hand embroidered. They also have a leather sole. He is very famous in Korea.
Of course, I didn't stop with one. These two are also masters: one in jade carving and one in woodworking. They both gave me their namecards (business cards). I was thinking about what Hannah had told me many times, "Just don't give out your namecard to everyone you meet (I had been)." So I didn't give them one but I should have.

This is some of the amazing work I saw. I am in awe of the talent of the people of Korea.

On the right side of this photo is braiding that the maedeup owner created. She weaves using a loom and it is incredible the amount of time and talent it takes her.

Some shots of the palace grounds.

Unfortunately, the air conditioner in the building was broken and I was dripping in sweat by the time we were done. They also provided refreshments afterwards. It was funny all the Koreans that were trying to get me to eat everything they had to offer. I could only eat so much since Hellena and I had eaten right before the exhibition. But I didn't want to offend so I finally asked Hellena if we could go. The food was beautiful to look at and delicious. I forgot to take a picture of it.
As we were exiting the palace, we encountered this line of police officers. It was so hot and humid I felt sorry for them. I asked Hellena why they were there and she asked me if I really wanted to know. I told her that I did so she went up to the end guy and asked. He said that they were there for security for the celebration that would start at 8pm (it was 4pm at the time). I had forgotten that it was Korea's Independence Day.


Helena said...

Ooh, that would be fun to see.

I always wanted to get some hanbok shoes but I couldn't find any that fit me. I just wear my regular brown flats with my hanbok.

Sarah said...

I love the lacquerware boxes you photographed. I think that's my favourite Korean craft, and also the traditional embroidery. I hear the place where the good lacquerware comes from is Tongyeong, down near Geoje-do. They have the best materials down there -- the abolone shells and proper wood. I think there's a lacquerware festival in Sept or Oct and I'm thinking of going.

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