Korean art history Essay

Korean art history

Korean art consisted long before 2000 BCE, it consist of very early Stone Age artwork dating from 3000 BCE which mainly consisted of sculptures. This was tracked by the art styles of various Korean kingdoms and eras.

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 Korean art articulate interests that explore geography, social custom and native vernacular. Painting of the 18th century portrays famous sites in Korea and day to day life of its people, this show how Korean had vibrant artistic expressions. All this were incorporated with ceramic production.


This era marked the appearance of pottery and small settlement. The various shapes in

Pottery reflected the diversity in the material culture in Neolithic period.

The pots were hand made with clay and sand and fired in an open furnace at a low temperature of 700 for them to dry gradually.

Korean started producing plainer potters as a result of migration of new group of people from Serbia into the peninsula. This group of people came with new ideas in pottery which include design, shapes handles and kiln technology of burning the ware in high temperature.


Bronze knowledge came in Korea from the northern part of the continent. Bonze object in those days included swords, small bells and daggers. Korean bronze was different from neighboring countries because it contained more Zink. Bronze was used in high profile burial tombs and graves.


Iron used in Korea was imported from Japan by the beginning of 4th century.  The locally produced iron was mostly used for weapon, agricultural implement and woodworking tools.

Iron Age saw the introduction potters wheel. The diversity resulted to the production of higher-fired ware during the three kingdoms period.


In this period we find the oldest paintings where the used to decorate interior walls of a tomb in Koguryô kingdom which was in the north of the three kingdoms. The painting signified the daily activities of the tomb occupants which included; they also provided variable information about dressing, architectural and local custom and beliefs.

In the three kingdoms period, this is where we find the silla kingdom where the originality of Korea metal men was seen in the tomb furnishings. Each of the southern state produced crafted gold, bronze, iron weapons, personal ornament and vessel for the purpose in afterlife.

A federation of independent principalities was known for producing and exporting iron for creation of weapon and was known as kaya. The aristocracy in silla and Kaya showed interests elegant taste, as well as attraction with foreign designs and products.

Supply of gold in silla was abundant hence naming its capital Kûmsông (city of gold), this showed interest in decoration of items that led to production and designing of ornament which mostly suggested antlers, dangling pendants and treelike shapes.

Korean crown are similar to one in some parts on Eurasia steppes connecting to that of Korean shamanism

Korea traded its wares with chine where they exchanged with some precious form of goods.


Chông Sôn and Kim Hong-do, see Arts of Korea,

pp. 202–5, 211–13,

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (www. metmuseum.org/explore/Chinese/


Korean Cultural Heritage: Performing Arts. Vol. 3.

Seoul: The Korea Foundation, 1997.

Korean Ceramics from The museums of Oriental

Ceramics, Osaka.