Essential Korea

7 Jun 2018 – 22 Sep 2019

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York
New York, United States


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The history of Korean art spans more than five thousand years. Korea's cross-cultural contacts with neighbors near and far—especially China—have played a significant role in shaping its rich and diverse artistic traditions.


Korean culture has also provided important inspiration to others, notably Japan. This exhibition offers a window into the essentials of the peninsula's creative output, past and present. Arranged in loosely chronological order are major works from The Met collection, augmented by significant loans from the National Museum of Korea. The pieces represent key genres and themes of Korean art; they include strikingly modern-looking pots and glittering jewelry from ancient burial sites; exquisite Buddhist icons; refined green-glazed celadon; understated white porcelain; and pictorial images, both sophisticated and whimsical, that feature a range of motifs from nature.

The Met received its first gift of a Korean object in 1893. The Arts of Korea Gallery opened in 1998. Today, the collection and gallery afford New Yorkers and the Museum's global visitors ongoing explorations of Korea's cultural traditions and innovations.

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