The Korea Herald


Lee Kun-hee collection to be exhibited at 10 national museums

By Choi Si-young

Published : April 5, 2024 - 13:35

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Bronze Rattles from Nonsan (National Museum of Korea) Bronze Rattles from Nonsan (National Museum of Korea)

The National Museum of Korea’s 10 regional museums across the country will start showcasing over 2,000 artifacts donated by the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee as early as mid-April.

The 2,254 pieces, which include 107 nationally-recognized objects, are part of over 20,000 pieces donated by Lee, a prolific collector of Korean and contemporary art. The collection spans from calligraphy and paintings to crafts, ceramics and sculptures.

From mid-April, the Buyeo National Museum will start showing Lee’s works, with the Bronze Rattles from Nonsan, which is believed to have been used during a ritual in the Bronze Age. The objects were retrieved in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province.

“The dumbbell-shaped ones have bells at each end. They all display highly skilled workmanship, serving as important relics for those studying religion or rituals of ancient times,” an official from the National Museum of Korea (NMK) said.

In May, public viewing will begin for the Bronze Artifacts from Bisan-dong, Daegu at the Daegu National Museum. The relics, dating as far back as the early Iron Age, represent “definitively local craftsmanship,” according to the official.

The Gilt-bronze Standing Buddha, a Silla-era (57-935) relic, will be featured at the Gyeongju National Museum. Porcelain and paintings during the Joseon era between 1392 and 1910 will be made public at regular exhibitions held by other regional museums throughout the year.

The National Museum of Korea said they are currently planning to hold special exhibitions at the Jeju National Museum and the Chuncheon National Museum in June and September, aside from the regular exhibitions.

The museum will wrap up its annual publication exploring the works donated by Lee by next year. Seventeen books summarizing the significance of the vast collection will be published.