국립중앙박물관 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF KOREA

Highlights
Goryeo Metal Type
  • Exhibition Name

    ‘Bok’ Metal Type

  • Culture/Period

    Goryeo Dynasty

  • Provenance

    Gaeseong area

  • Materials

    Metal - Copper Alloy

  • Category

    Science & technology - printing - printing type

  • Dimensions

    L. 1.2cm, W. 1.0cm T. 0.7cm

  • Accession Number

    Deoksu 4462

  • Location

    Goryeo Dynasty II

This piece of metal type for printing the Chinese character “bok” dates from the Goryeo Dynasty, and is currently the only surviving example of metal type from that period found in South Korea. The Gaeseong Museum in Gaeseong, North Korea possesses the only other known sample of Goryeo metal type. This particular specimen was reportedly excavated from a tomb in Gaeseong, the one-time capital of Goryeo. The lengths of the sides are different at the front and back, and the back has an oval-shaped concave dent likely intended to reduce the amount of copper required. The casting technique used is less sophisticated than that of later metal type from the Joseon Dynasty, but this piece is an invaluable artifact for examining how type was cast during the Goryeo Dynasty and analyzing the development of typesetting technology in Korea.