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Yoogeum Museum sheds light on roof tiles from East Asia

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Yoo Chang-jong, one of the founders of Yoogeum Museum, explains exhibits during the Korea CQ Forum at the museum in Seoul, May 21. Courtesy of CICI
Yoo Chang-jong, one of the founders of Yoogeum Museum, explains exhibits during the Korea CQ Forum at the museum in Seoul, May 21. Courtesy of CICI

By Dong Sun-hwa

Yoogeum Museum is the only museum in Korea dedicated to collecting and exhibiting roof tiles from different East Asian countries ― Korea, China and Japan.

Founded in March 2008, it is home to some 5,000 roof tiles and other stones used to decorate the walls and floors of ancient buildings. In particular, Yoogeum Museum displays traditional Korean roof tiles collected by Japanese physician Isao Iuchi (1911-1992), one of the biggest collectors of Korean roof tiles, along with other works from the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.―A.D. 668) to the 1392-1910 Joseon era.

"Each kingdom had its own distinctive roof tiles," Yoo Chang-jong, one of the founders of Yoogeum Museum, said during the Corea Image Communication Institution's (CICI) Korea CQ Forum that took place at the museum, May 21. The forum intends to bring together opinion leaders and promote cultural exchanges worldwide.

"The Goguryeo roof tiles, for instance, often featured lotus patterns and the faces of goblins. In the case of Joseon, the roof tiles were far from being magnificent or aesthetic due to economic crises triggered by foreign invasions. So people made more functional roof tiles adorned with dragons and birds," he explained.

"Yoogeum" is the combination of the surnames of Yoo Chang-jong and his wife Geum Key-sook. Yoo, a former prosecutor who fell under the spell of roof tiles many years ago, joined hands with his wife, a former professor of textile art and fashion design at Hongik University, to set up the museum in Seoul's Jongno District.

The Korea CQ Forum was joined by German Ambassador to Korea Michael Reiffenstuel, Italian Ambassador Federico Failla, Australian Ambassador Catherine Raper and Philippine Ambassador Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, among others.

From left in the back row are Mint Tour CEO Park Youn-jung, YooGeum Museum Director Yoo Chang-jong, German Ambassador to Korea Michael Reiffenstuel, YooGeum Museum Director Geum Key-sook, Sophia Wong, her husband Italian Ambassador Federico Failla, Australian Ambassador to Korea Catherine Raper and her spouse Gary Walker. From left in the front row are the Korea Herald culture desk editor Kim Hoo-ran, Philippine Ambassador to Korea Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, CICI President Choi Jung-wha, CITIAP President Kim Kwi-yeon and Cs President Didier Beltoise. Courtesy of CICI
From left in the back row are Mint Tour CEO Park Youn-jung, YooGeum Museum Director Yoo Chang-jong, German Ambassador to Korea Michael Reiffenstuel, YooGeum Museum Director Geum Key-sook, Sophia Wong, her husband Italian Ambassador Federico Failla, Australian Ambassador to Korea Catherine Raper and her spouse Gary Walker. From left in the front row are the Korea Herald culture desk editor Kim Hoo-ran, Philippine Ambassador to Korea Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, CICI President Choi Jung-wha, CITIAP President Kim Kwi-yeon and Cs President Didier Beltoise. Courtesy of CICI
Dong Sun-hwa sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr


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