Behind the Scenes: Archaeologists’ Discoveries at the National Museum of Korea
As one of South Korea’s most renowned cultural institutions, the National Museum of Korea offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history of the Korean Peninsula. Within its walls lies a treasure trove of archaeological discoveries that have unveiled ancient civilizations and shed light on the lives of its people. In this article, we delve behind the scenes to explore some of the fascinating finds uncovered by archaeologists at the National Museum of Korea.
The Dongdaemun Treasure
One of the most significant discoveries housed at the National Museum of Korea is the Dongdaemun Treasure. Unearthed during the reconstruction of the old city walls in Seoul, this treasure consists of over 30,000 artifacts dating back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It includes various objects such as ceramics, gold ornaments, and Buddhist statues, providing valuable insights into the cultural and artistic achievements of that time.
The National Museum of Korea is also home to a remarkable collection of Goryeo celadon, renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and stunning green glaze. These ceramics were created during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and reflect the influences of both Chinese and Korean aesthetics. The museum’s collection features delicate cups, vases, and incense burners, showcasing the mastery of Goryeo potters and their contribution to the development of Korean art.
Baekje Royal Tombs
The ancient kingdom of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea (18 BCE – 660 CE), left behind an enduring legacy in the form of majestic royal tombs. Archaeological excavations near Iksan, Jeollabuk-do province, have uncovered these burial sites, revealing the grandeur and sophistication of Baekje culture. The National Museum of Korea proudly displays the artifacts retrieved from these tombs, including gold crowns, jewelry, and ceremonial objects, all of which provide valuable insights into the rituals and beliefs of the Baekje people.
Silla Gold Crown
The Silla Dynasty (57 BCE – 935 CE) is renowned for its mastery of goldsmithing, and the National Museum of Korea holds a captivating treasure that exemplifies this expertise: the Silla Gold Crown. Discovered in 1921 in Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom, this crown is a remarkable testament to the cultural and artistic achievements of that era. Adorned with intricate patterns and elegant ornaments, the crown stands as a symbol of Silla’s royal power and artistic sophistication.
Boseong Bronze Bells
The exquisite collection of Boseong bronze bells found at the National Museum of Korea offers a glimpse into the musical traditions of ancient Korea. These bells, originating from the late Goryeo Dynasty to the early Joseon Dynasty, were often used in Buddhist temples and royal ceremonies. The intricate engravings and musical tones of these bronze bells reflect the cultural significance of music in Korean society and its role in religious and ceremonial practices.
The National Museum of Korea stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Korean Peninsula. Behind its doors, archaeologists have unearthed countless treasures that shed light on the lives, arts, and beliefs of ancient civilizations. From the Dongdaemun Treasure and Goryeo celadon to the Baekje royal tombs and Silla gold crown, these discoveries offer a captivating journey through time, allowing visitors to connect with the past and embrace the depth of Korea’s history.