A special exhibition features masks from around the world
held under the title “Magic Art Symbol [K]reative”
Eight junggwangdae masks collected by Jin-tae Son revealed for the first time
An academic conference examines the significance of the world’s mask cultures
An exhibition entitled “Magic Art Symbol [K]reative” recently opened at the Korea University Museum and will run from May 16 to July 29. This exhibition brings together a collection of masks from across the world with contributions from Asia, the Americas, Melanesia, and Europe. The Korea University Museum held the opening ceremony at 3 pm, May 16.
The impressive collection currently on display showcases over 350 masks from 21 different countries. Visitors can compare unique mask styles from Korea and Japan (courtesy of the National Museum of Korea), China and Tibet (from the National Folk Museum of Korea), and African nations (from the Myeongin Mask Museum).
The eight junggwangdae masks presented together for the first time were collected in the 1920s and 1930s by the folk scholar Jin-tae Son, who also served as the director of the museum at Bosung College (known today as Korea University).
Kyung-wook Jeon, the current director of the Korea University Museum, personally collected the masks on display from Mexico and Guatemala. Traveling to villages across the region, Director Jeon met with descendants of traditional performers and gathered for preservation some of the original masks that would have been worn during past performances.
On May 19, an academic conference on the legacies and significance of mask culture took place on campus. Jeon-yull Park, a professor at Chung-Ang University, gave a presentation entitled “History of Japan’s Kagura and Performance Trends.” Heng-fu Zhu of Shanghai Normal University introduced Chinese Nuo opera, while Kyung-wook Jeon of Korea University discussed the functions and significance of various mask cultures. Alongside the exhibition, this conference gave participants ample opportunity to reflect on the social relevance, symbolic meaning, and artistic value of this remarkable facet of folk culture. Until July 29, visitors can broaden their horizons by visiting the Korea University Museum and exploring the world of mask culture.