Traditional Korean Culture to Be Presented in Bangkok, Thailand through Immersive Digital Media Inauguration of an Immersive Gallery of Korean Art at the National Museum Bangkok

Date Nov 21, 2022


Exhibition Title: A New Encounter: Immersive Gallery of Korean Art

Period: November 20 (Sun.), 2022 – May 21 (Sun.), 2023

Venue: Room 401, Maha Sura Singhanat Building, National Museum Bangkok

Presented Works: The immersive digital content pieces Journey of the Soul and Royal Procession with the People; Standing Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Unified Silla Period of Korea and Standing Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Srivijaya Period of Thailand

Hosted by: The National Museum of Korea and the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Thailand

Supported by: The Korean Cultural Center in Thailand


The National Museum of Korea (Director General: Yoon Sung Yong), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Thailand, is presenting a new Korean gallery featuring immersive content at National Museum Bangkok. The exhibition will be held from November 20 (Sun.), 2022 through May 21 (Sun.), 2023. It presents two immersive digital content works digitally reinterpreting Korean traditional cultural heritage and two Buddhist sculptures, one from Korea and the other from Thailand, symbolizing the time-honored Buddhist traditions of the two countries.


The first showcase of Korean cultural heritage in Thailand, the exhibition is especially meaningful in that it will present a different aspect of Korean culture, that is, its traditional culture, to a Thai public more familiar with Korea’s pop culture. Moreover, the exhibition is characterized by a new format focusing on immersive video works bringing together digital technology and cultural heritage. The exhibition was organized with the aim of providing an opportunity to understand the rich Buddhist histories of Korea and Thailand and to newly discover traditional Korean culture through the familiar medium of digital video.


A New Form of Korean Culture: A Digital Exhibition of Traditional Korean Cultural Heritage


The major highlights of this exhibition include two works of immersive digital content produced by the National Museum of Korea: Journey of the Soul and Royal Procession with the People. They have been created based on items from the museum’s collection – respectively Joseon-era Buddhist paintings and uigwe (royal protocols), the official records of the events of the Confucian Joseon royal court. These two works have been adapted to the exhibition space in Thailand with the addition of voice and subtitles in Thai.


The first immersive digital content work, Journey of the Soul, explores the Buddhist worldview and views on the afterlife as perceived by ancient Koreans. It was produced based on traditional Buddhist paintings such as The Ten Kings of Hell (depicting the ten kings who judge the deceased) and The Assembly of Amitabha Buddha. The second work, Royal Procession with the People, illustrates the rites of the Joseon royal court that embody Confucian values. It invites viewers to the world of majestic royal rites centering around the processions to Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon made by King Jeongjo (r.1776–1880), the twenty-second ruler of the Joseon Dynasty. King Jeongjo may be known in Thailand based on the Korean historical drama The Red Sleeve. These digital panoramas on large-scale screens allow viewers to become deeply immersed in the paintings and royal protocols through the light, sound, and bright colors filling the exhibition space. By doing so, they provide viewers with a new experience and impression surpassing that of the original works.


An Exhibition Bringing Together Buddhist Cultural Heritage from Korea and Thailand


In addition to the immersive digital content based on state-of-the-art technology, this exhibition brings together two Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva sculptures from Korea and Thailand. They support the appreciation of the long-standing Buddhist traditions and outstanding artistic achievements of the two countries. As a deity rescuing sentient beings from difficulties, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva was a principal object of worship in almost all the regions to which Buddhism was transmitted. This exhibition presents a Korean sculpture of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Unified Silla Period and a Thai version in the Srivijaya style. Both works aptly represent the Buddhist faith and art of their respective countries. The Korean image was produced around the ninth century and wears a crown with an image of Amitabha Buddha, the emblem of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, on its head and holds a kundika  in the left hand. It is marked with the rough texture distinctive to granite. Similarly, the Thai piece was produced around the seventh century is depicted with a headdress decorated with an Amitabha Buddha. However, unlike its Korean counterpart, it is carved out of sandstone that allows a soft and smooth depiction of body. Although these two sculptures were created by different people in separate eras, they relate a similar sincere wish for salvation.


A Collaborative Exhibition Organized by the Representative Cultural Institutions of Korea and Thailand


This exhibition is a result of the long-standing collaboration between the National Museum of Korea and the Thai Ministry of Culture. It is a meaningful outcome of the MOU on Academic and Cultural Exchange that was signed between the two institutions in 2019. In addition, active support from the Korean Cultural Center in Thailand contributed significantly to the staging of the exhibition.


Even after the exhibition has been completed, the National Museum of Korea plans to continue to carry out cooperative projects, including the establishment of a permanent Korean corner within the Gallery of Asian Art in the National Museum Bangkok, mutual exchange exhibitions, and human exchanges. The long-standing friendship between South Korea and Thailand is expanding into the realm of human and cultural exchanges, and it is hoped that this exhibition, which is being presented through collaborative efforts between representative cultural institutions from the two nations, will become a symbol of such cultural exchanges. Moreover, just as Korean pop culture, such as TV series, films, and music, are widely appreciated among the Thai public, it is hoped that the exhibition presented at National Museum Bangkok will serve as a special opportunity for encountering Korean traditional culture in an open and interesting manner.