Harmony between tradition and modernism creates unique works of Korean mother of pearl

신태섭 기자l승인2022.03.03l수정2022.03.03 10:07






▲ Korean Mother of Pearl Artist Hosup Yoon

Mother of pearl is a traditional Korean craft practiced for a long time. Pearls inlaid on furniture has unique beauty and they were highly sought after by the nobles up until the end of Joseon dynasty and early period of modern Korea. However, the design and method stayed as it is and people started to turn their back with inflow of western props, furniture and culture. On the flip side, selling mother of pearl furniture and making them were two different areas as the latter involves craftsmanship regardless whether the furniture is sold or not. 

Making furniture with mother of pearl is like piling up a pagoda. It requires attention to detail finish on every single process from carving, coating, patterning and drying. It takes time and effort as well as endurance and above all passion. More than 10 times of coating should be followed even after all those labor hard works of sawing the abalone shells. 

"Korean mother of pearl goes back to Goryeo Kingdom and it has survived and developed into a traditional craft. Though treated as a boring genre of crafts by young people today, once knowing the charm will change their prejudice. Mother of pearl masters in this respect not only work hard to create unique works of Korean mother of pearl but also have a sense of duty to spread the beauty to the people in the world" says mother of pearl artist Hosup Yoon.

[Hosup Yoon]
Yoon is famous for using modern materials and design. He is the one who first used bamboo to make upper part of furniture with Japanese cypress inside. The oil came from German orange peel extract to finish the details inside and the high glossy used for the piano to finish details outside. The colors have become more vivid than traditional mother of pearl furniture so that trend crazed young people can also pay attention to this traditional beauty with modern edge.

Apricot flower, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo are commonly inlaid in mother of pearl furniture alongside ten traditional symbols of longevity to wish good energy and virtue. Yoon has combined both tradition and modern elements to create uniqueness in his works. In fact, popping into a cafe nowadays greets us with this unique harmony between up to date trendy interior emphasized by traditional props and furniture and Yoon's works answer to this trend with agreeable design and finish. 

Yoon has walked a single path as a mother of pearl master for 55 years. He started making furniture right after finishing the elementary school and majored in business administration at Soongsil University Graduate School. 

"It is my goal to promote Korean mother of pearl like global masterpiece of Swiss watches one day. I'm proud of what I'm doing and determined to spread excellence of traditional Korean crafts and arts to the world" says Yoon. <PowerKorea>

신태섭 기자  tss79@naver.com
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