Showing posts from May, 2015

Korean traditional flower shoes (Hwahye) ...

Korean traditional  flower shoes are called Hwahye.  Hwa is a generic term for any type of footwear and hye means a short version of shoes that don't cover the ankle.

There were over 20 different types of Hwahye shoes  that were worn during the Joseon dynasty and they indicated a persons status and  varied according to someones age, social class and gender. 

They  are traditionally decorated in bright flamboyant colours and patterns and are made in either leather, silk, wood or even rubber.  The rubber version was introduced in the 1920s during the  Japanese colonial period from 1910 to 1945 but these days they're only worn by the monks.

As the Joseon Dynasty social hierachy crumbled  in the early 1900's and Korea began to become more globalized in their outlook and customs the need for the different varieties of Hwahye  became less necessary and during the 1930's the Hwahye shoes made way for western trends and the Korean people embraced modernisation except for on spe…

Portrait of Song Siyeol......

I took the opportunity of having some free time whilst in Korea to visit the National Museum of Seoul over the weekend and was  enthralled by its size, airiness and beautifully displayed items from both Korea and around all of Asia. There was a  special exhibition of paintings by well known Polish Artists on display but I was so engrossed in the Korean paintings and artifacts that I had to forgo that one for another day.
I was however very excited when I stumbled upon a painting, 'Portrait of Song Siyeol' which was painted on silk in the 18th century. It was this portrait that I'd printed on to Hanji paper and put  onto a box that was in my recent Hanji exhibition, so to see the painting up close was amazing. This painting is considered to be one of the best portraits of Song Siyeol who lived from 1607 - 1689 and he was a dedicated follower of the orthodox Neo- Confucianist doctrine of Zhu Xi.There is more information about him if you follow this link.

In this half length…

Lotus Lantern Festival '15 - Seoul

Over this last weekend the annual Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival was held in honour of Buddha's birth. It's typically held the weekend before his birthday which is May 25th so this year it was celebrated between May 15th - 17th.

Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival continues the tradition of making and hanging lanterns as symbolic offerings of light, wisdom and compassion in the Buddhist traditions. About one-quarter of Koreans are Buddhists, and the Jogye Order is Korea’s largest Buddhist sect. As the festival hosts, they  start the annual celebration at Seoul Bongeunsa temple near the COEX Conference and Exhibition Center, with an exhibition of traditional lanterns made from Korea’s traditional paper Hanji.

Since it's inception in 2009 there have been some amazing displays of lanterns made by both Korean and International artists along the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul, Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple, and the Dongguk University areas. During the festival hun…

Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival 2015 - Reflections

On the first weekend in May  for the last 19 years (except for last year due to the Korean ferry disaster period of mourning) they've held the Hanji Culture Festival in Jeonju, the Capital of Jeollabuk-do Province. This city 240 kms south of Seoul is not only renown as the centre of paper making in Korea but it's also the ancestral home of the descendants of Yi Seonggye, founder of the Joseon dynasty and it's famous for the Korean rice and vegetable dish called Bibimbap. My journey south from Seoul on the fast train, along with my 2 sisters Pam & Heather and my sister in law Pauline, took only 1hr and 20mins. 

During my Hanji Exhibition in April of this year I met a lovely Korean lady named Sue who happened to come from Jeonju so when I told her I was to visit the Hanji Festival this year she said she'd see what she could do.  Before I knew it she'd been in contact with the Festival organisers and had details for me about where to go, who to contact and what to …

Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival 2015 - Fabric

The City of Jeonju  annually holds the Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival along with the National Hanji Craft Contest to promote the excellence of it's paper. In 2015 it's celebrating it's 19th anniversary and I've been fortunate enough to visit  the Festival after an absence of almost 12 years.  The last time I visited was when I was living in Pusan and Teaching English as a Second Language to students at the National University. I was encouraged to make the trip  by my Korean Hanji teacher who was adamant that Jeonju Hanji was the best you could buy. Jeonju is the centre of Hanji production in Korea and the base for 50% of the domestic Hanji manufacturers, and they currently account for 80% of the Hanji production in the country. 

Hanji has always been famous throughout the Orient.  It was one of Korea's top exports during the 11th Century and although it's been used as long-lasting paper for over a thousand years, it's more recently been used for a va…