London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

An introduction to Hangeul – part 2

By Matthew Jackson. Despite the technical merits of Hangeul, it is hard to get beyond the fact that it is, after all, just a phonetic alphabet, albeit a unique one. As with other treasures of Korea, the real value of Hangeul lies in the story behind it. Its creator, King Sejong the Great, worked very … [Read More]

The World’s Oldest Woodblock Print

Matthew Jackson explores another of Korea’s contributions to world culture The first printing presses were made out of wood. The process of woodblock printing emerged in the East during the 8th century. For some time, the earliest woodblock print was believed to be a copy of the Diamond Sutra, discovered at Dunhuang in China by … [Read More]

The Tripitaka Koreana part 2 – the Depository Buildings

Matthew Jackson continues his series of articles on the important treasures from Korea’s past The depository buildings which house the Tripitaka Koreana library are unique in almost every sense. Officially the largest wooden storage complex in the world, they are registered together with the Tripitaka itself as part of the UNESCO World Heritage ( The … [Read More]

The Tripitaka Koreana – part 1

Matthew Jackson continues his series of articles on the important treasures from Korea’s past One crowning achievement of Korea’s Buddhist heritage that is not included in the Bozar ‘Smile of Buddha’ exhibition is the Tripitaka Koreana. There is a practical reason for this, as it consists of 81,258 woodblocks, weighs 280 tons in total, and … [Read More]

The Pensive Bodhisattva comes to Brussels

By Matthew Jackson The centrepiece of the Bozar exhibition of Korean Buddhist Art, beginning in Brussels on the 10th of October, will be the Pensive Bodhisattva statue, Korea’s National Treasure No. 83. It is difficult to describe in words why the statue is regarded so highly as a work of Buddhist art, because its qualities … [Read More]

“Made in Korea” festival in Brussels

The “Made in Korea” festival in Brussels is a big-budget four month perspective of Korea’s arts. Centred around the Centre for Fine Arts, this is a unique opportunity to see some of Korea’s ancient treasures and also some more contemporary visual and performing arts. Definitely worth a trip to Brussels. First, a summary of some … [Read More]

Saturday documentaries at the KCC

This Saturday there will be a screening of a short film entitled “The History of Gold” at the Korean Cultural Centre at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. Each screening will last around 30 minutes. Silla people decorate their houses with silk interwoven with golden thread, and use golden plates and cutlery at meals (Arab historian, 10th … [Read More]

Namdaemun before, during and after

First, some pictures of Namdaemun as it used to be:     The YouTube Namdaemun Then and Now group contains loads of more recent, pre-fire, images. Here’s a couple of samples: Next, a YouTube (from MBC) of the fire itself: Some spectacular stills of the fire are on pwalks’ flickr page (HT to Seoul Man … [Read More]

The Namdaemun Gate tragedy

There are some current events which are so unexpected and shocking that the first moment of becoming aware of them is indelibly printed on the memory. It is said that anyone who was adult at the time can remember where they were when they first heard of the death of JFK. I certainly will always … [Read More]

The Leeum Art Gallery, Seoul

A brief walk from Hangangjin subway stop (line 6) near Itaewon is the Leeum Gallery, set up by Samsung. No expense has been spared on the building itself, with prestigious foreign architects engaged to build it, and an impressive collection of artworks. The building itself is very spacious, and has three main sections. Older artworks … [Read More]