Heritage

Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 3pm. Not far away from Songsan-ri is the fortress of Gongsanseong. It clings to the banks of the Geumgang river (nothing to do with Mount Geumgang in north Gangwondo) and its walls scale the cliffs and meanders along the contours of the hill, forming a 2.6km circuit which climbs to […]

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2016 travel diary 6: Gongju’s royal tombs

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 2:15pm. The Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri Our first stop in Gongju is the set of seven or more tombs in Songsan-ri. The experts think there may be as many as ten tombs in the area. It seems odd, in an age when so much in the way of sophisticated electronics […]

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2016 travel diary 5: An introduction to the Baekje Historic Areas

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016 The kingdom of Baekje had its beginnings as a small state founded on the south banks of the Han River in 18 BCE by King Onjo. The people were largely of Buyeo origins – an early kingdom absorbed into Goguryeo. The kingdom gradually grew, absorbing the small Mahan states to […]

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2016 travel diary 3: Seoul’s Fortress Walls, and genre painting at the DDP

by Philip Gowman 15 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, Sunday 15 May 2016. The time lag has caught up with me. My intention this morning had been to go along to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza to visit the exhibition of Joseon dynasty genre paintings from the Kansong museum before joining the RASKB for a walk along the eastern sections of Seoul’s fortress […]

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A way to make sure you never have enough time in Korea

by Philip Gowman 29 April 2016
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I’ve just discovered a great way to help plan a trip to a particular part of Korea to make sure you get maximum value from your time in the area. Go to the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) website, go to Heritage Info, and then General Search. In the search form, select the Location (province or […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 2: The Drawing hand | Seooreung | Tea Museum | Makgeolli at Kim Sakkat

by Philip Gowman 30 May 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, 30 May. Two hours sleep on the plane, and only another two on my first night in Seoul, means that I’m groggy on Saturday morning. A quick session in the hotel gym doesn’t do much to remedy that. Coffee with The Drawing Hand My brain is gently kick-started by a coffee in the hotel lobby, […]

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Looking back at 2014: Culture, sport and tourism

by Philip Gowman 15 February 2015
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In the first of four articles looking back over 2014, we recall some of the culture, sports and heritage stories that made the news. Arts Dansaekhwa emerged as flavour of the year. Following the MMCA exhibition in 2013 and Joan Kee’s book, Kukje Gallery had a monochrome retrospective, and dansaekhwa artists were included in MMCA […]

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Exhibition visit: Constancy and Change in Korean Traditional Craft

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2014
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Nothing prepared you for the sight that greeted you when you entered the room containing the Korean crafts at Tent London. As you were wandering past the various stalls in the main part of the exhibition displaying contemporary crafts from around the world on your way to the “Constancy and Change” room, you might have […]

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Latest UNESCO listings break the stereotypes

by Philip Gowman 19 July 2014
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A famine-ridden state that spends all its money on its army and its nukes; and a country that builds a green city and restores its rivers… Those are the stereotypes. Yet it’s the North that has just had a biosphere reserve registered at UNESCO, while the South’s latest registration is an impressive piece of military […]

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Namhansanseong joins Suwon fortress on UNESCO World Heritage list

by Philip Gowman 30 June 2014
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South Korea’s eleventh listing on the UNESCO World Heritage list is Namhansanseong. It was added to the list at the end of a 10 day meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at Doha on 25 June. According to the summary on the UNESCO website: Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson dynasty […]

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The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types

by Philip Gowman 5 April 2014
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Organised to coincide with the London Book Fair, this exhibition at the KCC is curated by the Korean Publishers Association: The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types Exhibition Dates: 07 April 2014 – 14 June 2014 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK The World’s Oldest Wooden and Metal Printing Technologies – Korea’s Printing Culture presented […]

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Looking back at 2013: Culture, tourism and branding stories

by Philip Gowman 2 February 2014
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In the second of five articles looking back over 2013, we recall some of the tourism and heritage stories that made the news. And we also take a look at some of the stories about Korean food, given the increasing popularity of Korean cuisine of Korea. Arts and Heritage Sungnyemun, the great Namdaemun gate, reopened […]

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Kimjang gets a UNESCO listing

by Philip Gowman 11 December 2013
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Kimjang, the making and sharing of kimchi in the Republic of Korea, was admitted to the UNESCO register of intangible cultural heritage on 5 December 2013. Note that, like the listing of Arirang, this pan-Korean cultural item has been registered by South Korea. Links: Kimjang page at UNESCO Update 13 December: The South China Morning […]

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Korean Naval Firepower Part 2 – Koryo and Columbus

by Matthew Jackson 9 September 2013
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Choi Mu-seon was not the inventor of heavy artillery, although he made many innovative variations of the concept. Why did other countries not simply take their cannons and heavy firearms with them on board their ships? The problem with a wooden ship is, if its displacement is sufficiently small, the recoil of a heavy weapon […]

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Photos of King Taejo’s tomb in Kaesong

by Philip Gowman 21 July 2013
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The Rodong Sinmun has some nice pictures and a brief article on the tomb of Wang Kon, founder of the Koryo dynasty as King Taejo. The tomb is one of the Historic Monuments and Sites of Kaesong recently entered into the UNESCO list of world heritage. Update: links to the full set of Rodong Sinmun’s […]

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Bought for £10 from a Parisian cheese merchant, Lady Hyegyong’s Uigwe is now digitised

by Philip Gowman 9 June 2013
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The Joseon court knew how to document things. And one of those court records, recently digitised and put online by the British Library, shows they also knew how to celebrate. The Uigwe – The Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty – were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2006. In its […]

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“Arirang” looks to be safeguarded at UNESCO for (South) Korea

by Philip Gowman 11 November 2012
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After last year’s scare that China was laying claim to Arirang, Korea’s most famous folk-song, it looks like UNESCO will soon be listing it as part of Korea’s intangible heritage (source: Korea Times / Cultural Heritage Administration). But the song, which is loved throughout the peninsula and in Korean communities elsewhere, is to be registered […]

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