Thirteen masterpieces on loan from the National Museum of Korea are highlighted in the exhibition Splendors of Korean Art, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 17, 2017. They include Silla gold jewelry and pottery, Goryeo Buddhist sculpture and celadon, and Joseon porcelain and paintings—some of which have never before crossed the Pacific Ocean—and are presented together with treasured works from The Met’s collection in the Arts of Korea Gallery. Organized chronologically from the Late Bronze Age to the 21st century, this year-long presentation explores Korea’s rich artistic traditions and conveys the broad framework of its art history.
Featuring more than 70 works in various media, the installation offers stellar examples of Korean art in areas that are not often represented in American collections. One highlight is a resplendent 14th-century gilded Amitabha Triad representing the culmination of a well-established, defining religious art. Displayed near The Met’s seventh-century Pensive Bodhisattva and 17th-century Seated Bodhisattva—among the finest Buddhist sculptures of their eras—it provides visitors with a rare opportunity to glimpse over a thousand years of Korea’s Buddhist art. A sumptuous eight-panel screen, illustrating the birthday and reign anniversary of King Sunjo in 1829, exemplifies both the codified court life and the popularity of court paintings during the late Joseon period. The screen will be on view for three months only and then will be replaced by another screen from the National Museum of Korea, depicting major milestones in the life of a government official.
The Met received its first donation of a Korean object in 1893. The Arts of Korea Gallery opened in 1998. Today, the collection and gallery present New Yorkers and the Museum’s global audience with ongoing explorations of Korea’s rich and varied artistic traditions.