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Arts of Korea: the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the publisher’s website:

Of all the cultural and artistic traditions of East Asia, those of Korea have received the least attention in the West. This volume, along with the major exhibition it accompanies, examines the most significant developments in the history of Korean art, from the Neolithic period to the nineteenth century, through outstanding examples of Korea’s artistic achievements. Written by leading Korean art scholars and drawing upon the latest research in Korean art studies, the hook examines stylistic characteristics and technical innovations in four major areas: ceramics, Buddhist sculpture, painting, metalwork and decorative arts. Attention is given to the political, social, and cultural conditions that led to the creation of the works of art. in particular the Korean peninsula’s external relationships and interchanges with China on the continental mainland to the north and west and with the Japanese archipelago to the south.

The exhibition, the first comprehensive display of masterworks of Korean art presented in the Unified States in nearly twenty years, was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to coincide with the opening of the Museum’s new, permanent Arts of Korea Gallery drawn from the collections of The National Museum of Korea, important private collections in Korea, Japan, and the United States, and the Metropolitan Museum’s own holdings, the works in the exhibition represent the finest examples of Korean art in all major media. They have been chosen on the basis of their place in the historical development of Korean art. their manifestation of important changes in technique and style, and their representation of Korean aesthetics.

During the past two decades, significant advancements in art historical scholarship in Korea and new archaeological discoveries throughout the peninsula have led to a more thorough and critical assessment of Korean art. This scholarly publication will bring to the Western audience a greater awareness and understanding of the very special and distinctive cultural and artistic legacy of Korea.


Profile of the Korean Past | Jonathan W. Best


Metalwork and Decorative Arts
Buddhist Sculpture


  • The Art of the Korean Potter: From the Neolithic Period to the Choson Dynasty | Chung Tang–mo
  • Tradition and Transformation in Korean Buddhist Sculpture | Kim Lena
  • The Origin and Development of Landscape Painting in Korea | Yi Song–mi
  • An Kyon and the Eight Views Tradition: An Assessment of Two Landscapes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Kim Hongnam
  • The Korean Art Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Pak Youngsook

LKL says:

This volume is now out of print. It is available for free from the Met website linked above, but it’s such a lovely book that it’s worth tracking down second hand, if you can find it.

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.