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Sunday, June 7, 2009

National Museum of Korea


Hazy view of N Seoul Tower from the museum entrance.

If you have any interest in Asian art in general -- specifically, ancient Korean art -- the National Museum of Korea is somewhere you should visit immediately. If this isn't your cup of tea, you might do better to steer away from this huge museum in Ichon, central Seoul. 

Asian art isn't my favorite genre. I know I shouldn't generalize and label all Asian art with a big "not interested" sign, but overall, it's not my favorite. But what drew me to the National Museum of Korea today had nothing to do with Asia. I wanted to see the special exhibition about ancient Egypt, which is a subject that fascinates me. 

No trip to a museum is complete without a visit to the cafe. So cute!

Egypt has been on my must-see list of a LONG time and I know that I'll make it there at some point, just not sure when. But in the meantime, I love visiting Egyptian art galleries at museums around the world. London's British Museum, in particular, has an amazing permanent collection with many Egyptian artifacts, includes several mummies -- it's absolutely worth checking out if you're in London and, best of all, it's completely free! I love London!

The National Museum's exhibit was interesting as well, although not as comprehensive as I expected. There were a couple of human mummies, as well as mummified cats, birds and alligators, but there was less art than I hoped and many more carvings. Nothing jumped out as being unique or something I hadn't seen before. (Actually, I'm not altogether sure I haven't seen this exact exhibit before -- it's been touring the world so I may have seen it in Washington sometime in the past few years.)



If you're interested in Egypt, you should totally visit this exhibit. It's a bargain at 10,000 won and includes entrance to the entire permanent collection of the National Museum. My favorite part, naturally, was the cafe. What's a great museum without an adorable little cafe to go along with it?!

Ultra-modern ornaments in the cafe contrast ancient art.

My latest crazy travel idea: taking a quick weekend trip to Beijing in August. I really want to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City and since it's only a 2-hour flight -- WHY NOT?! Stay tuned...

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