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Monday, 23 September 2013

Museo di Shinku (Shinku's Museum): Gwangju National Museum - Only in Honam-Jeolla Region


Gwangju National Museum (Hanja: 國立光州博物館) in 110 Haseo Avenue (Haseo-ro/하서로; REMEMBER - not Haseo/하세오 in .hack//series), Maegok-dong san 83-3 beonji, Gwangju Buk-gu collects and preserves cultural relics from Southern Jeolla Province. The exhibits are grouped in 7 categories according to period and type. The Prehistoric Hall displays stone tools from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Ages, as well as other relics from the early Iron Age. Samguk Hall displays many earthenware and ironware from the Large Onggwan in the Jeolla Provincial area. 

In the street of Maehwa (apricot tree) in City of Light, we can see an aerial tile-roofed house at Maehwa Village. The site is wide and natural landscape is so fresh and we can recollect the spirit of our nation through the ancient history and culture. A quiet, cozy environment is the very Gwangju National Museum. Looking around from place to place of Gwangju National Museum arranged on the sunny ground, outdoor exhibited ancient relics are coming up on us lively.

We face up to 'Jangun-dong Five-story Stone Pagoda' in the right side immediately after entering the gate of the museum located in Jangun-dong. At this stone pagoda that is presumed to be of the Goryeo dynasty, we can confirm what Roof stone of the pagoda structure is. In addition, we can see the structures of southern-style and northern-style dolmens directly and also the miniature of the celadon porcelain kiln in Yongun-ri, Gangjin-gun that informs the kiln structure and manufacturing technique of the celadon porcelain of the Goryeo dynasty.

In the permanent exhibition hall, there are twin-lion stone lanterns in Jungheung Mountain Fortress that was designated as National Treasure No. 103. Two male lions face each other and hold the stone lanterns, and keep the central hall. Following two male lion stone lanterns at the central hall lobby, the first floor exhibition continued to the Buddhist Art Hall and the Painting Hall.

In the Buddhist Art Hall we can touch the ancient Buddhist culture from the Buddhist art works excavated at every place of Gwangju and Jeonnam area such as a bronze temple bell, a bronze safe, gilt bronze standing Buddha statue, and others. Besides, we can appreciate the paintings of Honam (Jeolla provinces) painters such as Yang Paengson, Yun Duseo and Heo Ryeon and others who were the painters from the middle of the Joseon dynasty to the modern age. Looking into Gamulcheop (picture book passed down from a family) that is Yun Duseo's picture book (album), we can see the new style of pictures that contain his thoughts and intentions. This hall exhibits cultural Items related to the religion, the Painting Hall exhibits work of artists of the Honam district from the Joseon and modern periods. Jeolla Province is also considered the birthplace of Korean Pottery. The Goryeo Pottery Exhibit Hall showcases the transition from the Cheongja of Goryeo Period to Joseon Period's Buncheongsagi and Baekja. It is possible to witness the entire pottery-making process at once. Pottery items are also on display at Joseon Buncheongsagi ㆍBaekja Hall. 

The second floor is a relic exhibition hall. The traditional arts arranged according to the age and subject is exhibited. We can see the prehistoric culture, Culture of the pre-Three Kingdoms period, culture of the Three Kingdoms, ancient culture, Goryeo celadon, Joseon grayish blue powder celadon, Joseon White Celadon Exhibition Hall and Sinan Museum of Undersea Cultural Relics. Here we can see the earthenwares of the prehistoric age with many curiosities such as "What do the pots which our ancestors used look like? Does it have a handle? Does it have a lid? Is the bottom round-shaped? Is it pointed? What's the difference between the earthenware and the pottery?" For example, there are not many vessels having a lid, but without handles. The name of a vessel is difficult to decode and the shape is difficult to catch the traits. However if we look into them closely, we can gain many benefits. At the Wonsamguk hall, a gilt bronze crown excavated from an old tomb at Shinchon-ri, Bannam-myeon, Naju city, Southern Jeolla takes catch of our eye. It is the relic of the Three States age designated as National Treasure No. 295. We can also see the Shinan seafloor relics which are famous for the Goryeo celadon porcelain. The Sinan Museum of Undersea Cultural Relics is a unique exhibit hall with items on display from a trade ship submerged for 600 years in the Shinan Sea. The items were excavated during 11 operations taking place from 1976 to 1984 and totaled 20,681 works of pottery, metal, stone, wood and glass items. 

Coming out of the permanent exhibition hall and turning to the left, there is Nurigwan building. Initially opening as the 'Children's Museum', the building has many mysterious and valuable exhibitions to both children and adults. This is the place where we can see and learn the ancient culture of Namdo from the childhood. As a museum originally is the effective study place to children, especially Children's Museum offers a lot of exciting history experiences to children. How did people live in the Bronze Age? We can check the constellation table made at Bronze Age and try directly how they made fire. Visitors can make the pottery directly and make a time capsule travel to 2,100 years ago with watching a video on the relics of Shinchang-dong, Gwangju Gwangsan-gu.

There is the sensory experience hall for the handicapped kids. 'Touching and feeling', they can learn the ancient history and culture. They can hear the sound by playing a string instrument and a temple bell that were played 2,100 years ago. Hearing the explanation about the relics with a headphone on is more realistic.

Gwangju National Museum opens several events and special exhibitions on occasion. Cultural and educational programs for the inhabitants of Gwangju and Jeonnam are various. It runs visiting and attending museum the whole year round and executes the cultural education for the family unit, youngsters and teenagers, culture expert process and the like. In addition, there are participating programs which can be in contact with deep art and culture such as “Exciting and Enjoying Saturday Museum”, “We are the kids and families of the museum”, the museum lesson for teachers, and culture creation studio in the museum. Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month and the museum is closed on Mondays.