LACMA Exhibition Showcases Treasures from Korea


In one room, an immense painting of the disturbing yet almost beautiful torture of sinners by the Three Kings of Hell is prominently displayed. Expressions of despair, agony and cruel satisfaction are clearly detailed by the varying shades of green, brown and red ink on the masterfully woven silk. In another room, an engraving of a roaring dragon over tidal waves and mountains on a majestic brass jar sat along other ritual vessels.

Starting from June 29 until September 28, the Los Angeles County Museum or Art will be presenting “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910,” the first-ever, comprehensive exhibition of nearly 150 beautiful objects from Korea’s longest ruling dynasty. Viewers will get a chance to explore and experience the 500 years of traditions, custom and history of these artifacts, some of them considered national treasures.

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Colorful traditional dresses, elegantly painted porcelain jars, enormous scrolls containing messages from kings and commoners and stunning painted screens used for royal ceremonies are aesthetically set up in five different rooms. Michael Govan, the director of LACMA, described the exhibition an international collaboration that symbolizes the “culmination of the relationship between our two nations.”

Virginia Moon, assistant curator of Korean art at LACMA, viewed this exhibition to be important specifically for Los Angeles because the region boasts such a sizable Korean American population. However, Moon said this exhibition should also draw non-Koreans due to the growing awareness of Korea in the States. “Especially since more people know about Korean food, K-pop and K-drama so I think it’s a little easier to express interest in Korean art now,” she said.

For more information on the exhibit, visit

Top photo by Tony Kim.