Namwon City has developed woodcraft skills to make things using the good wood of Mt. Jiri, and the skills have been handed down to this day. It has such a deep history that the jegi (ritual bowls and dishes) made here was used throughout the country for 500 years of the Joseon Dynasty. Since wooden utensils are made of wood, if they absorb moisture, the shape is deformed and the utensils become unusable. For this reason, lacquer is necessary. Lacquer can add color and beauty and at the same time make wooden utensils that are good to use. In Namwon, there is an artisan who continues the tradition of lacquer. That is Namwon Lacquer Varnishing Craft Museum Director Park Kang-yong.
|▲ Namwon Lacquer Varnishing Craft Museum / Director Park Kang-yong|
Jeollabuk-do Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 13 Lacquer Varnishing (refine) Master
Unchanging passion and skills attract love and attention
Lacquer varnishing is the act of applying the sap of the lacquer tree to dishes or furniture. It is widely used regardless of daily necessities, handicrafts, and works of art. Namwon, famous for woodcraft, holds the National Lacquered Woodcraft Exhibition every year to inherit and develop this craft while discovering artists. Director Park is a master of Lacquer Varnishing (refine), the 13th intangible cultural property of Jeollabuk-do, and is one of the leading lacquer craftsmen in Jeollabuk-do. Park boasts 47 years of experience in this field. He saw that there were many woodcraft factories in Namwon and the corresponding infrastructure was built, but there were not many artisans specializing in lacquer. This led him to settle down in Namwon. Jeong Su-hwa is Korea’s Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 113 and is an authority on lacquer and its purification technology. Park received skills from Jeong and completed a unique refining skill of his own that does not change paint even at high temperatures. As a result, Director Park’s lacquer craft is not only popular as a craft for everyday life, but also loved for its excellent workmanship.
From exhibitions to training
Introducing lacquer from Korea to the world
Lacquer has excellent heat resistance, flame resistance, antiseptic, waterproof, insect repellent, and insulation properties, and has advantages such as durability that can be preserved even after 1000 years. As time goes by, the depth of the painted color is added, and it gradually becomes transparent with a brown gloss, and the wood pattern is revived, and it has excellent aesthetics. Thanks to these advantages, lacquerware culture has developed in the Orient for about 4,000 years and has been used not only for daily necessities but also for various art objects. Park opened the Namwon Lacquer Varnishing Craft Museum in 2004 and sells and trains on lacquer as well as displaying lacquer crafts. Upon entering, director Park’s lacquer works welcome visitors. A variety of works are exhibited at the Museum, and Park also conducts professional training here. Thanks to his passion and excellent teaching method, some students are walking the path of professional craftsmen. Park won the grand prize in the craft category at the World Peace Art Exhibition in 2002. In 2009, he won the Ishikawa Prize at the Japan International Lacquer Competition. In 2015, he shone in the exhibition of ‘Korean Crafts and Innovation 2015’ in Milan, and in 2019, ‘Lacquer, Lacquer and Mother-of-pearl – Bridge of the Thousand Years’ at Seosomunseong Regional Museum.
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