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New Korean gallery opens in Paris

For your weekend away in Paris, there’s a new attraction. Steer clear of anything to do with the Da Vinci Code at the Louvre and instead go to the new museum of African & Asian cultures at Quai Branly. Thanks to David at for a link to this article on the Yonhap site.

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) — France will open a museum next month in Paris that will showcase Korean art and civilization among its celebration of world cultures, France’s top envoy in Seoul said Tuesday.

The Quai Branly Museum, located beside the Eiffel Tower and close to the Louvre, gears up for its opening after generating much anticipation in France and around the world for its dedication to arts and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, French Ambassador to Seoul Philippe Thiebaud said at a press briefing.

“When President Jacques Chirac took office in 1995, he established a commission to examine the means of giving indigenous art its deserved place in French Museums,” Thiebaud told the press briefing.

“Therefore as part of the efforts, some 600 art pieces from Korea, about 88 of South Korean origin and about 505 of North Korean origin, will be displayed at the museum,” he added.

Out of the 600 pieces, 200 are traditional Korean costumes, or “hanbok,” while the rest are musical instruments and supplies used in daily life. Most of the pieces have been donated by private owners and the Korean government.

“The museum will also have a number of pieces relating to the traditional and unique religion of Korea, shamanism,” the ambassador said.

The Quai Branly museum, even before its opening, received much recognition as architect Jean Nouvel designed the building with the demands of image, identity, environment and function in mind. The museum is scheduled to open June 20.

It will not only showcase some 300,000 objects, but will be used as an interactive place of research, training, performance and international relations, the ambassador said.

The envoy also said that even though only 800,000 visitors are expected a year at the moment, he expects many Koreans to visit in the future.

“It will certainly be a tourist attraction,” he said.

In fall, to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, a fashion show of traditional Korean costumes will be held at the auditorium of the museum.

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