Of all the cultural and artistic traditions of East Asia, those of Korea have received the least attention in the West. This volume, along with the major exhibition it accompanies, examines the most significant developments in the history of Korean art, from the Neolithic period to the nineteenth century, through outstanding examples of Korea's artistic achievements. Written by leading Korean art scholars and drawing upon the latest research in Korean art studies, the hook examines stylistic characteristics and technical innovations in four major areas: ceramics, Buddhist sculpture, painting, metalwork and decorative arts. Attention is given to the political, social, and cultural conditions that led to the creation of the works of art. in particular the Korean peninsula's external relationships and interchanges with China on the continental mainland to the north and west and with the Japanese archipelago to the south.
The exhibition, the first comprehensive display of masterworks of Korean art presented in the Unified States in nearly twenty years, was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to coincide with the opening of the Museum's new, permanent Arts of Korea Gallery drawn from the collections of The National Museum of Korea, important private collections in Korea, Japan, and the United States, and the Metropolitan Museum's own holdings, the works in the exhibition represent the finest examples of Korean art in all major media. They have been chosen on the basis of their place in the historical development of Korean art. their manifestation of important changes in technique and style, and their representation of Korean aesthetics.
During the past two decades, significant advancements in art historical scholarship in Korea and new archaeological discoveries throughout the peninsula have led to a more thorough and critical assessment of Korean art. This scholarly publication will bring to the Western audience a greater awareness and understanding of the very special and distinctive cultural and artistic legacy of Korea.