Calligraphy and Painting


Calligraphy is the art of decorative and harmonious penmanship. In Asian calligraphy, the artist generally seeks to create a sense of inspiration and grace through strong and soft touches of the brush and changes in the lines of the letters or ideograms. Through calligraphy, letters can express emotion and thought not only by the words they form, but by their appearance. Hence, great calligraphy conveys aesthetic, intellectual, and spiritual beauty.

In Korea, calligraphy was a means of artistic expression for elite literati and classical scholars who were well versed in humanistic knowledge, poetry, and literature. It was widely believed that handwriting was a reflection of one’s mind and personality, so for centuries people strived to cultivate their mind and acquire diligence by improving their penmanship. Korean calligraphy combines Chinese characters and Korean script. Prior to the 15th century, calligraphy in Korea was limited to Chinese characters, and thus was practiced almost exclusively by scholars, as most people could not read or write Chinese. But in 1446, King Sejong promulgated Hunminjeongeum (Hangeul, the Korean alphabet), which was designed to allow the greater public to easily learn to read and write. Hence, Korean script calligraphy developed in everyday life, though it was still practiced primarily by royal and noble families.

The Calligraphy gallery showcases the finest works of master calligraphers and presents epigraphical artifacts, such as rubbed copies and tombstones, to enhance the understanding and appreciation of calligraphy culture.

Main Collection

Calligraphy of Kwon Sang-ha (Song of Returning Home)