Looking back at 2014: Culture, sport and tourism

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 […]

Latest UNESCO listings break the stereotypes

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 […]

The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types

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 […]

Kimjang gets a UNESCO listing

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 […]

Korean Naval Firepower Part 2 – Koryo and Columbus

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 […]

Photos of King Taejo’s tomb in Kaesong

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 […]

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

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 […]

2012 Travel Diary #16: Silla pagodas, Korea’s first beautiful village, and Nammyeong’s tomb

Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Thursday 29 March 2012. Today is the day we start the ascent of Jirisan, but first there’s a couple of local sites of interest that I need to visit. First, the two Unified Silla dynasty stone pagodas, which are now the only remnants of Dansoksa, a temple built in the middle of the eighth […]

Reading the Heavens Part 3 – The Astronomical Legacy of King Sejong

As mentioned in part 1, King Sejong presided over the zenith of Korean astronomical achievement. The construction of a large observatory at Gyeongbok Palace in 1438 – later destroyed without a trace in the Japanese invasion – played a key role in the country’s progress. On the roof were installed various astronomical instruments such as […]