National Museum unveils new catalogs including Lee Kun-hee’s donated collection

Four newly published catalogs of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s extensive art trove donated to the National Museum of Korea in April 2021 / Courtesy of NMK

In April 2021, the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s vast personal art trove found its way to major state-run museums in Korea, when his family donated over 23,000 works in an attempt to settle a substantial inheritance tax bill.The National Museum of Korea (NMK) became the biggest beneficiary of Lee’s estate, receiving a total of 21,693 cultural assets – earthenware, ceramics, metalwork, manuscripts, calligraphy, paintings, wooden furniture and stone sculptures – that spanned from the Neolithic Age to Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).As part of its efforts to conduct a comprehensive survey of this extensive collection, the museum published nine catalogs of donated items last year under the series titled “The Lee Kun-hee Collection at the National Museum of Korea.”This week, it announced the release of four additional volumes, each focusing on historical records, Buddhist sculptures, wood and lacquer crafts, and stone sculptures.The volume on historical documents introduces 180 pieces of epitaph tablets, maps, royal investiture books, seals and letters. Among them is the 19th-century jade investiture book, which was previously thought to have been lost during the 1866 French invasion of Korea.

The publication on Buddhist sculptures highlights 135 ancient pieces from the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE – 668) to the Joseon era, including seven state-designated national treasures or treasures such as the millennia-old Gilt-bronze Standing Bodhisattva Triad.Meanwhile, the volume on wood and lacquer crafts lists 592 items of furniture, stationery and ornaments, a majority of which were produced during and after the 18th century, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of the late Joseon period.Lastly, the publication on stone sculptures features 835 stone monuments and assets spanning over a millennium, like pagodas, stupas, statuettes and totem poles.The NMK plans to release four more catalogs on Lee’s collection of calligraphy, paintings and white porcelains over the next two years, bringing the total to 17 by 2025.All publications are publicly available on the 카지노사이트킹 museum’s website.

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