BKS Visit to the British Museum 2024

Written by: Hannah Giles  |  Posted on: February 29th, 2024

Guided Tour of the Korea Foundation Gallery at the British Museum


BKS members had a most insightful and enjoyable tour of the Korea Foundation Gallery at the British Museum on Friday 23rd February. Sang-ah Kim, Curator for the Korean collections, guided us through the gallery with her expert knowledge of Korean history and art. Some objects on display in the gallery rotate regularly and we were treated to newly displayed items in the gallery including objects on loan from National Museum of Korea, Gimhae National Museum and Gyeongju National Museum as well as collections from the British Museum.


BKS members at Naru Korean restaurant

Sang-ah gave insightful explanations for many items ranging from a stoneware funerary vessel from the 5th Century AD (the Three Kingdom Period), a stoneware tea bowl from the 13th Century AD (Goryeo Period), jars from the 17th– 20th Century (Joseon period) to a modern vase from the 21st Century. It was fascinating to hear how Korean belief, philosophy, ideology, culture and economy at the time influenced and changed the shapes, sizes, colours and ideas for the objects. I must say one of the highlights of the tour was to see the metal movable type in Hangeul on loan from National Museum of Korea (estimated to be made soon after the Korean script Hangeul was invented in 15th Century). You might be surprised to hear that the oldest extant book made with metal movable type is Jikji, a compendium of Seon teachings, printed in Korea in 1377, which pre-dates the Gutenberg printing press by several decades.


After the gallery tour, we had an informal and friendly Korean dinner at Naru Korean restaurant nearly. We thoroughly enjoyed our Korean meal, beer (and Makgeolli too) and good conversations. All of us who were fortunate to be on the tour thoroughly enjoyed all parts of the evening.



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