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Title Korea CQ - Visit to YooGeum Musem
Posted by webmaster Hit 197 Date 2022.05.31

On May 21st, Korea CQ visited the YooGeum Museum of Roof-end Tiles located in the northern part of Seoul.

H.E. Michael Reiffenstuel, H.E. Federico Failla, Sophia Wong, H.E. Catherine Raper, Gary Walker, H.E. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, Yoo Chang Jong, Geum Key Sook, Kwiyeon Kim, Youn Jung Park, Hooran Kim, Yeju Sannae Ahn, Didier Beltoise, and Choi Jungwha attended this day. 


Directors Yoo Chang-jong and Geum Key Sook welcomed the members in the garden and gave them a tour.

Opened in March 2008,  YooGeum Museum is the only museum specializing in roof tiles in Korea. The museum was named after the surnames of former Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office Yoo Chang-jong and Geum Key Sook, former professor of Textile Art and Fashion Design at Hongik University and director of costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

First, we saw the fashion art exhibition 'Visible & Invisible II – KEYSOOK GEUM', and saw the beautiful wire costume works inspired by plum blossoms blooming in the museum garden.

We then saw an exhibition titled 'The Beauty Korean Roof Tiles', which perfectly illustrates the characteristics and differences of roof-end tiles by region and era, from Goguryeo, Baekje, Ancient Silla, Unified Silla, Balhae, Goryeo, and Joseon Dynasty.

The Korean roof tile collection of the YooGeum Museum is significant in that they brought overseas relics to Korea, starting with the collection of Isao Iuchi from Japan, which was collected from the 1910s. YooGeum Museum owns world-class collection of Korean roof tiles with a history of over 100 years.

The roof tiles of Goguryeo often used lotus patterns and goblin faces, and overall has strong lines that leaves a powerful impression.

In Baekje, roof tiles with various patterns were made. Tiles of the Hanseong period had geometric and concise patterns, while those of the Ungjin and Sabi periods had lotus patterns characterized by softness and elegance. On the other hand, during the Sabi period, tiles with Baekje’s unique patterns such as plain or pinwheel patterns were excavated.


In the early days of Ancient Silla, there were many patterns influenced by Goguryeo and Baekje, but from the late 6th century, roof tiles unique to Ancient Silla began to be produced. Most of the roof tiles are engraved with a lotus flower pattern, and they are gray-black or gray-blue, giving a simple and rough impression overall.

During the Unified Silla period, palaces expanded and many temples were built, and so the types and patterns of roof tiles diversified and the quantity of roof tiles exploded. In addition to the lotus pattern, various plant patterns, arabesque patterns, animal patterns such as lions, ki-rin, birds, and dragons, and Kalavinka patterns and Apsara patterns(Buddhism) appeared. 

Unified Silla boasts the highest level of East Asian tile culture through its openness that accepts the culture of Goguryeo, Baekje and the Tang Dynasty, while preserving its own culture.


 The roof tiles of Balhae are decorated with beautiful patterns such as lotus flower pattern, bosang flower pattern, and phoenix pattern.

In the early Goryeo period, tiles inheriting the traditions of Unified Silla and Goguryeo were produced, but as time passed, new tiles such as Chwidu and Youngdu tiles appeared, and new patterns such as lotus patterns and arabesque patterns as well as Sanskrit patterns began to be used. Roof tiles of the Goryeo Dynasty are generally simple and abstract but in palace architecture, celadon tiles were used, highlighting the splendor of Goryeo architecture.

During the Joseon Dynasty, there were many changes to roof tiles due to the deteriorating economic condition caused by the strict suppression of Buddhism from the beginning of the country and frequent foreign invasions. As a result, a new type of tile was developed that emphasized functionality while weakening its grandeur or aesthetics. In terms of patterns, lotus patterns related to Buddhism disappeared, and flowers, birds, faces, dragons, and phoenix patterns were mainly produced.

After looking around Korean tiles, we went to see the exhibition Roof tiles from MING·QING Dynasty, China

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, imperial architecture developed. Glass roof tiles were standardized and production technology reached its peak. Glass tiles with rich colors and detailed patterns became a symbol of palaces in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The color of the glaze with glass tile had a wide range, from yellow, green, indigo, to black. The patterns are also diverse, and dragon patterns, phoenix patterns, and lotus patterns were used. Types of decorative tiles include Chimun, Yongdu, Japsang, and Tosu, which are also coated with glazes of various colors. The dragon and phoenix patterns engraved on the roof-end roof are very sophisticated and lively, and the Chimun and Youngdu have fantastic features.

After the tour, Director Yoo Chang-jong gave a performance on his Danso in the museum garden, and ended the forum by enjoying hamburgers specially prepared by the two Directors for lunch.

We would like to thank Director Yoo Chang-jong and Geum Key-Sook for allowing us to enjoy the special tour of the YooGeum Museum. We are also grateful to the members who attended despite of their busy schedules.

Thank you.

For more pictures please click the link below.

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