Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.758463
Title: Islamic material culture in medieval Korea and its legacy
Author: Han, In-Sung Kim
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 2357
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
The thesis investigates the material-cultural relationship between the Islamic world and the Korean peninsula during medieval period until mid-15th century. The research sheds light on how Islamic cultural elements were accommodated in the predominantly Buddhist society of Goryeo and NeoConfucian monocultural Joseon, and examines its continuation in the present-day Korean materialculture scene. In presenting the forgotten history of Muslim residents and their contribution on the hardly visible stratum of Korean art, it challenges the fundamental issues of Korean art history. It will also extend the confines of medieval Islamic arts by investigating their cultural survival in a place at the farthest distance from the Islamic world geographically and culturally. The centuries of Korean contacts with Islamic culture are divided into two phases according to Korean's response to incoming Muslims - the period from 8th to 13th centuries when their contacts were purely based on trade and commerce, and mid-13th century to the final phase of their relationship when the royal edict of 1427 of the nascent Joseon dynasty abruptly prohibited any manifestation of Islam and its culture. To contextualise the long-term cross-cultural communications in a material cultural term, each historical phase is discussed using relevant evidence from literature sources against archaeological findings. Every case is chosen to showcase the essential status of the exceptional cross-cultural contact between medieval Korea and Islamic lands and how they interacted. At an early phase, metalworking technique of 'white bronze' transmitted from Islamicised Iran to Silla probably through the maritime trade, while the decorative idiom of 'intertwined birds' was shared by them alongside the other regions of Inner Asia via overland routes. In the second phase, the contact between these two medieval cultures was intensified through the intervention of the Mongol Empire and permeates all level of medieval Korean society. During the period, Korean decorative schemes leaned toward the extensive use of stylised foliate scroll in overall density, reminiscent of Islamic decoration. The multicultural milieu is also detected by the sudden cultural promotion of the basin in medieval Korea. Finally, the motif of 'a bird in attack', another international visual idiom of the medieval period, reflects the change of Korean society from multicultural to strictly Neo-Confucian status, and serves as material cultural evidence of the irreconcilable cultural distance between these two cultures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.758463  DOI:
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