The Case of the Art and Archaeology of Koguryo and Palhae as the World Cultural Heritage

Ah-Rim Park, Professor
Sookmyung Women’s University
Visiting Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Koguryo and Palhae history would be an interesting case study for understanding how ancient Korea interacted with neighboring empires such as Chinese and nomadic empires. In addition, the historical and cultural heritages from Koguryo and Palhae have received an intensive attention since the nomination of Koguryo capitals and wall painting tombs as the World Cultural Heritage in UNESCO in 2004. How these ancient Korean history and culture have been perceived by the international communities and by Korean people in the process of historical contesting on the identity of Koguryo and Palhae proposes us an interesting question to explore the internationalist discourses about Korean history. In this paper, first, I shall argue about the interaction with Chinese and nomadic empires shown in the cultural heritage of Koguryo and Palhae, especially about the wall painting tombs to see how Koguryo and Palhae appropriated and modified Eurasian cultures within their cultural contexts. Next, I will address the issue of how we can understand the significance of the cultural heritages of Koguryo and Palhae in the context of universal cultural values as the World Cultural Heritage.

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