Prologue: Seoul, Where Tradition and Modernity Coexist
Seoul, with its long-standing history, is both the Capitalof and the largest city in Korea. Over the course of Korea’s rich history, Seoul has served as the Capital for more than a millennium, and for more than half of that period it was the Capital of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Atthattime, Seoul was simultaneously a piace where goods from all overthe country gathered, and the hub through which foreign civilizations and cultureswere introduced.
The cityalso led the way in philosophy, scholarship, and the arts, and cultivated the epitome of living culture in terms of clothing, housing, and food. However, modern changes began with the introduction of Western culture in the 19th century, and the city was devastated by war in the 20th century. As Seoul subsequently began to rebuild itself, it underwent a period of contemporary upheaval. Nevertheless, historical remnants of Seoul and evidence of its longstanding status as Capital can be seen in every nook and cranny of the city.
Amidst the forest of skyscrapers at the city’s center, the ornate royal palaces of Joseon coexist with the Hanok (Korean traditional buildings) in Bukchon neighborhood, and people dressed in traditional clothing can be spotted on the modernized streets. This exhibition is designed to explore the beauty of Seoul’s traditional attire and homes, and to examine how they have been passed down to the contemporary era. It is our hope that this exhibition will give you a glimpse into Seoul, a city where tradition and contemporary culture coexist in style.
The Museum of Ethnography located in Budapest, Hungary is a globally influential folklore museum that plays a major role in helping people understandHungarian history and culture with its collection of folk artifacts from various regions. The Seoul Museum of History is located on the grounds of Gyeonghuigung Palace, one of the royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. As a landmark museum in Seoul, it offers domestic and internationalvisitors the opportunity to feeland experience the history and culture of Seoul through its rich collection of artifacts and diversely curated exhibitions. It is my wish that the collaborative exhibition Charm of Seoul will serve as an opportunity to maintain a deeper level of exchange and cooperation between the two museums, and contribute to the cultural and social development of both countries and cities.
Director of the Seoul Museum of History