From the Bronze Age to the present day Korean artisans, traditionally known as jang-in, have used metals to create functional everyday objects, objects of great beauty and objects of powerful symbolism. The way metal has been used and regarded in Korean society tells a compelling story of its history, culture and most meaningful rituals and beliefs.
Through three essays and more than 150 spectacular objects, this publication traces the development of metal craft from Korea’s ancient craftsmen to the spectacular ‘kingdoms of gold’ of the Silla royalty, the influence of Buddhism on craft skills and practice, the simplicity of the Confucian era, and the dark days of the early 20th century. Contributing institutions are the National Museum of Korea, Gyeongju National Museum, National Folk Museum of Korea, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Tongdosa Museum and the Powerhouse Museum.
Reflecting a contemporary spirit of jang-in, a selection of metal works from practicing Korean artists living in Korea and Australia is also featured. Spirit of Jang-in celebrates the Year of Friendship between Australia and the Republic of Korea, marking 50 years of our bilateral relationship.
This publication is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, the Australian Government through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the National Museum of Korea.