Korea

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities manages around 700 objects from Korea dating from the 4th century (i.e. the Three Kingdoms Era) till late 19th and early 20th centuries (i.e. towards the end of the Joseon Dynasty). Most of the Korean objects are ceramics but there is also a small collection of paintings and furniture alongside a couple of archaeological findings.

A substantial part of the objects are acquisitions and donations by Scandinavian doctors and nurses working at the Swedish field hospital in Busan during the Korean War as well as from Swedish diplomats and businessmen.

An essential part of the collection is made up of objects donated by His Majesty King Gustaf VI Adolf. The King's collection incorporates objects acquired by the King himself or received as gifts. One of the more special gifts is an earring of gold from the large and important Seobongchong Tomb ('The Auspicious Phoenix Tomb') from the 5th and 6th centuries (early Silla Era) in the City of Gyeongju. In 1926, the Crown Prince, as was his title then, took part in the excavation of the tomb in connection with his and his wife's, Her Majesty the Crown Princess Louise, travels around the world. 'Seo', as in the name of Seobongchong, is the first character of the Korean name for Sweden and also the character for 'auspicious'. The name of the tomb refers to the Crown Prince's visit and the pine tree that the Crown Prince planted in the City of Gyeongju is still in situ. The earring was a commemorative gift to the Crown Prince, who following his return to Sweden decided to donate the earring for inclusion into what was then the Far Eastern Collections.

Captions

On the left: Pear-shaped wine bottle made of porcelain with underglaze blue peonies and a bat, 19th century Joseon, OM-1987-0063.

In the centre: Pear-shaped bottle with an underglaze blue dragon among clouds, 19th century, TEMP-0188.

On the right: Spherical pickle-jar with an underglaze blue peony creeper and meander border, 19th century Joseon, OM-1985-0002.