MU Museum of Art and Archaeology adds Korean artwork

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | 5:57 p.m. CST; updated 7:19 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Pieces of Korean artwork by Kim Jeong-ok, Suh Ji Min and Han Yong Tack will be given to the Museum of Art and Archaeology on Wednesday. The Buncheong ware bottle, left, and "moon" vase, center, are made by Kim Jeong-ok. The jade turtle is by Suh Ji Min and Han Yong Tack.

COLUMBIA — In the past few years, the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology has been looking to expand its slim collection of Korean artwork. This effort will get a boost Wednesday with a gift of three noteworthy art works.

Two are pieces of pottery by renowned Korean artist Kim Jeong-ok: a large, porcelain "moon" vase and a smaller Buncheong-ware bottle detailed with flying bat motifs on the exterior. Kim's ceramics have been displayed in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute and the British Museum.

The third work — a small jade turtle mounted on a square base — is the creation of artists Suh Ji Min and Han Yong Tack, both of Korea. Protruding from the lower body of the turtle are two maroon tassels connected by a cord of silk.

The pieces will be presented in a private reception Wednesday morning at the museum.

"Until now, our collection has had few, if any, Korean pieces of such scale and significance," Museum Director Alex Barker said. "The artists of these works have been said to be masters of intangible cultural heritage."

The pieces are being given to the museum via The Wind Institute, an independent institution that has operated in collaboration with the MU Office of the Vice Provost of International Programs since May 2010. The mission, according to the institute's website, is to "encourage scholars in the global community to focus on global issues and to provide guidance to future generations that contributes to a solution to poverty, promotes freedom, and enhances the value of life."

Institute founder Kyungja Lee described the gift as being part of a global cultural exchange. The artworks will allow students a greater global perspective, she said.

For the Museum of Art and Archaeology, this gift means the possibility of presenting a deeper discussion and understanding of traditional art from Korea and around the world, Barker said.

"The university has one of the most important comparative and synoptic collections of ancient ceramics of all of the country's universities," Barker said. "I hope that this gift will allow us to better explain how Korean art has influenced other cultures and, in turn, how other cultures have influenced Korean art."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey

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