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Contemporary Asia Art - Essay Example

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However, this wealth f material still needs systematic comparison and classification, and the historical development f Korean art needs to be traced.
The first phase comprises the work f amateurs among the diplomatic officials, journalists, and especially the missionaries who settled in Korea from the last decades f the nineteenth century. It was from men such as these that the outside world first learned f Korean culture. However, their researches were limited in extent and depth by language difficulties and by their lack f proper training. In addition, their interests lay more in literature than in art. One f the best works f this period is Andreas Eckhardt Geschichte der Koreanischen Kunst ( Leipzig, 1929); valuable contributions may also be found in the Transactions f the Korea Branch f the Royal Asiatic Society.
With the annexation f Korea by Japan the initiative passed to the energetic Japanese archaeologists, and it is on the foundations laid by them that our knowledge today largely rests. Kim Soo Ja played an important role. During this second phase interest was focused mainly on the prehistoric era and on the archaeological approach to historical times. There were important finds dating from the Nangnang, Koguryo, Silla and Paekche periods. Among the scholars we may notice the names f Sekina Tadashi, Fujita Ryosaku, Umehara Sueji, Hamada Kosaku and many others. Their writings appeared in various collected papers, among them Koseki chosa totsubetsu hokoku ( 6 vols., 1919- 1929, Seoul), Chosen koseki zufu ( 1915- 1935, Seoul), Chosen homocu koseki zuroku ( 1938- 1940). Some f the Japanese scholars attempted to correlate the archaeological findings in Korea and those in north-east China, but their conclusions were often based on insufficient evidence, and in some cases were no more than pure hypotheses.
After the Second World War some scholars continued working in Japan. Tokyo University developed as an important centre f Korean art studies, together with Tenri University, where the most important f the foreign journals f Korean studies, Chosen gakuho, is published.
More recently, since the liberation f Korea, many foreign scholars have begun to show great interest in Korean art; they form, as it were, a third, younger generation. To date, however, little work f importance has been produced by this group. Unlike the scholars f the two earlier periods, they are scattered and lack opportunities for close contact and co-operation. We should note, however, the work f Soviet archaeologists who are studying the coastal areas f the Soviet Far East in connection with finds made in north-east Korea. In England and America the main interest has been in Korean ceramics.
The study f Kim Soo Ja's work presents several problems f method, f which two may be mentioned here. Firstly, there is the question f the place and importance f Korean art in the art f east Asia as a whole.
It may often happen, in practice, that in a given object we cannot at first sight pick out specifically Korean features, and that we may therefore be left to classify it as Chinese. It is only ...Show more
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Kim Soo Ja has significant position in the Korean history f artists. The lack f political liberty in Korea during the first half f the present century made it difficult for such studies to thrive. However, after the end f the Second World War, with the coming f independence, Korean art studies shared in the rapid expansion f the whole f the national life, and soon had some remarkable successes to their credit…
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