Selected Hanji Exhibition
The “Selected Hanji Exhibition” proves to be the second chance for Jeonju National Museum and Suzhou Museum to collaborate with each other. Jeonju National Museum represents the cultural center of Jeollabuk-do, Korea,while Suzhou Museum that of Jiangsu Province, China.Since the two museums signed the agreement on cooperation in 2009,they have maintained good relations.
This exhibition focuses on Hanji, which will present Jeonju, the homeland of Korean traditional culture, to all the visitors to the best extent. It is said that the papermaking technique spread to Korea no later than the 4thcentury after being improved by Cai Lun of Eastern Han dynasty. According to historical records, Hanji produced in Jeonju had been widely applied to diplomatic correspondence and governmental documents since Korai period (918 –1392). Judging from this, we can know that Hanji produced in Jeonju plays a significant role in Korean traditional paper. This exhibition will demonstrate the diversifieddevelopment of Hanji created in previous times.
Since this exhibition is held in the cradle of Southern Painting School, we will introduce works by representative artists of North Korean period (1392 –1897). Meanwhile, we will also introduce works by modern artists and look into the future of eastern Asian traditional paper with China, the origin of papermaking technique.
We sincerely hope that this exhibition will promote the friendship between the two museums and provide a chance to better understand the culture of each other.
Sincere gratitude go to Mr. Chen Ruijin, Director of Suzhou Museum and all the staff, for giving us the opportunity to hold the exhibition in Suzhou, such a beautiful city renowned for its gardens.
Director of Jeonju National Museum
Paper plays a special role in the civilization of human beings. History, culture and sentiment are able to be shared, kept and inherited in a better way with the help of paper, since Cai Lun improved the papermaking technique in Eastern Han dynasty. Paper manages to attract people to continuously explore the papermaking technique by virtue of its own charm. In the 8thcentury C.E., Koreans who had been the first to learn papermaking technique from China created its own paper, using paper mulberry as the raw material and having it undergo processes such as dochim and dyeing. This made the origin of Korean traditional paper, i.e. Hanji. The Hanji-making process requires exquisite workmanship. Hanji received widely admiration when it spread to China in the Tang dynasty, due to its variety, density, whiteness, durability and practicability. Shen Defu, a Ming scholar, used to speak highly of Hanji for its density and whiteness. Literati even regarded giving Hanji to others as gifts as a courtesy.
Located in the southwest of Korea, Jeonju had been renowned for Hanji production since Korai period due to its high quality in water and paper mulberry. Therefore, Suzhou Museum and Jeonju National Museum selected Hanji as the subject of the first exhibition co-sponsored by the two museums in Suzhou. Jeonju National Museum collected the historical and cultural heritage of Jeonju and the whole Jeollabuk-do area. The two museums have started exchanges and communication since 2008. In 2009, they formally established partnership. During recent years, the two museums have been active in reciprocal visits and professional communication. In 2015, the exhibition “Faith and Life During the Transition from Tang to Song Dynasty”from Suzhou Museum was held in Jeonju, to reveal the history and culture of Suzhou by displaying artefacts produced from Tang to Song dynasty.
The “Selected Hanji Exhibtion”displays altogether 106 pieces of objects from Korai period to contemporary times, including ancient documents, paintings, calligraphy, fans, screens, handicrafts, etc. to manifest the protection and development of Hanji in Jeonju in a diversified way and the profound history and culture embeddedin it. It is said that paper can last for a thousand years while silk merely five hundred years. We hope that all the visitors will feel the endless vitality of as well as the wisdom and spirit cultivated in paper. Meanwhile, we also hope this exhibition can provide Suzhou visitors with a chance to know more about Korean historyand culture, and build a bridge for mutual cultural exchanges.
Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere thanks to staff from the two museums who have contributed so much to the success of the exhibition.
Director of Suzhou Museum