The evening of 28 April marked the official opening of the Korean Treasures from Seoul – the New Path of Korean-Thai Art Destination exhibition at Bangkok's Korean Cultural Center. The exhibition, hosted by the Society of Seoul Intangible Asset of Seoul Metropolitan Korean Cultural Center in Thailand, and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand, features Korean traditional art and handicrafts together with Thai pieces. It is aimed at promoting Korean tangible and intangible heritage among Thai citizens, and to strengthen the Korean and Thai people's relations by highlighting the two nations' similarities in traditional culture.
“We'd like to introduce and promote Korean traditional culture along with our pop culture, which is now famous and prevalent in many countries around the world, including Thailand, which we have very close relations with in every aspect,” said H.E. Mr Noh Kwang-il, ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Thailand.
With the K-pop trend booming in Thailand for a while now, Korea is a top travel destination for Thai people of all ages. And likewise, Koreans love visiting Thailand.; the number of Thai tourists to Korea and vice versa has reached 1.5 million a year. According to Kang Euna, director of the cultural center, the exhibition – which proves great similarities between the two traditional cultures – is expected to encourage knowledge exchange, deepening understanding between the two nations, and thus bringing them closer.
"Thai and Korean people have long been deeply interested in each other's cultures. We hope the exhibition introduces traditional Korean culture and art to Thai people who are not familiar with it, and allows Thais who know certain aspects of Korea to have broader knowledge about our culture,” said Miss Kang.
The exhibition hosts 150 art and craft pieces from Korea, and handcrafts of nine Thai artisans, the latter provided by the Support Arts and Crafts International Center of Thailand. The pieces are beautifully arranged and spread on both floors of the center. The Korean pieces include folding screens as seen at Buddhist temples, window joineries, rice wine containers, woven reed mats, Hahoe Tal performers’ masks, musical instruments, women’s accessories, and hair ornaments. The Thai items include Sukhothai silverware and lacquerware. Each piece carries the craftsmanship and wisdom developed over generations.
“Lots of pieces here are designed based on practicality in the daily lives of the Korean people. I find some principles adaptable and applicable even for us Thais. Learning about their arts and crafts, we can adapt them to our lives here in Thailand as well, making our lifestyles more interesting,” commented exhibition visitor Somsri Decharin, an art connoisseur who lives in the center's neighborhood.
The exhibition runs until 30 June. The Korean Cultural Center is located on Sukhumvit Road, between sois 15 and 17, close to Holly's Coffee. The center is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, except on Korean national holidays.