The National Museum of Korea

I think I can officially say I am not a fan of museums. Or at least not historic ones. I much prefer art gallery type museums like the Louvre.

The National Museum of Korea is situated at the top of hill, and is quite an impressive piece of modern architecture. The museum in its entirety is huge, consisting of the main building, one for featured exhibitions, numerous restaurants and cafes, as well as a garden. Admission to the main building and garden is free, however you can expect to pay 10,000 to 15,000 won if you want to see the special exhibition.

The National Museum is three floors, each of which focus on a specific period of time or art form within Korean history. The first floor focused on prehistoric and ancient society, while the second focused on calligraphy. The third floor featured Buddhist sculptures and white porcelain.

Most of what I noticed was the vast amount of pottery on each floor. Most of the displays in the prehistoric section featured earthenware, as well a weapons from the Bronze and Iron Ages. The calligraphy section seemed to consist mostly of scrolls, or brush holders and water droppers, and of course the third floor was dedicated to porcelain.

There were a few exhibits I found interesting though. I enjoyed the large Buddhist sculptures, as well as a mural of the four guardians of the four compass directions. For those of you who don’t know what they are: black tortoise, blue dragon, red phoenix, and white tiger. The mural was found in a tomb with the four guardians meant to protect the tomb and its inhabitant.

During my little museum run, I actually ran into one of the girls from the hostel, so we finished the second and third floors together, then went out to grab lunch. The restaurant and cafes in the museum were a bit expensive, but there was another cafe by the gardens that was reasonably priced.

The National Museum

A painting of what an ancient village would have looked like.

A rubbing of the inscription on the sacred bell of King Seongdeok
A painting from the Joseon Dynasty.


A statue of a lion.

I couldn’t help taking a photo of this due to my slight obsession with tea.

A Buddhist statue


Another Buddhist statue

Figures with paper arms

A sacred bell


Traditional hair pins

White porcelain

The ten story pagoda

Lunch at one of the museum cafes!