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The Korean-Arts’

Newsletter for September 7, 2007


New Items

Teapot Sets

Wedding Ducks

More (furniture coming soon!)

On Sale Now

About Korea: Chuseok (Korean harvest festival)



New Items…

*                                            Teapot Sets


We have a new line of taller teapots with more volume that are suitable for larger pots of black or red teas in addition to smaller servings of green tea. They are available in seven designs from the stunning Red Lotus Teapot Set shown at left, to other designs that include dark lotus, white lotus, white bamboo, red chrysanthemums, red dragons, and tigers. They have a one quart (900ml) capacity and come with five matching cups. See all the teapots here, or all of our new items here.



*                                            Wedding Ducks


Still carved the way they were 600 years ago in the early Chosun Dynasty, these wedding ducks truly do put the good fortune of the carver in the ducks and pass that fortune along to the newlyweds (read more about that here). These ducks are carved one at a time, by a single artisan using only hand tools, just the way they were made in the past, and therefore they look identical to historic wedding ducks from the Chosun Dynasty found in museums. In the Korean wedding duck tradition, the ducks are given to the couple at their wedding and then placed somewhere in the house and their position tells of the marriage's status; nose to nose means the relationship is good, and tail to tail means things are a bit shaky. See all our wedding duck sets here, and all our new items here.



*                                            More




In addition to the above items, we also have several new styles of small vase and bottle sets which represent male and female shapes respectively. The long slender shape of the bottles with a gentle slope at the bottom expresses the voluptuous beauty of femininity, while the wide shoulder and stockiness of the vases, represents the masculine form. The two new styles are the peony branch design seen at left, and the chrysanthemums design here. The peony design appears again in the Tall Peony Branch Oil Bottle similar to those used by women of the Chosun Dynasty for hair oil. A mask from the city of Yang-ju, the Yang-ju No-jang (elderly man) mask, is a hand-carved and painted, full-sized mask such as that used during the traditional Korean mask dance (Tal-chum), and features a cloth hood to cover the performers head. The original meaning of the Tal-nori (Tal play), or Tal-chum (Tal dance), is a play or dance that helps shed ones stress and grief. Read more about the Korean mask dance here. See all our new items here.

Next month be sure to check out our new collection of traditional Korean furniture which will include, traditional medicine cabinets, make-up chests, letter boxes, wedding or dowry chests, end tables and more.





On Sale Now


Three of our small vase sets in traditional celadon, bun-cheong (brown porcelain) and multi-colored, are now on sale, as well as two of our most popular teapot sets, cute miniature wedding duck sets, coffee cup sets, and four of our best selling teacup sets with strainers. Other sale items include scroll paintings, stoneware figurines, white porcelain jars, traditional vase and bottle sets, and even gift-wrapping to make gift-giving easier. See all our sale items here.




  About Korea: Chuseok
(Korean harvest festival)


Most traditional Korean holidays are celebrated on the lunar calendar and so change on the solar calendar each year. Chuseok is always on 8/15 on the lunar calendar which falls on 9/25 on the solar calendar this year, however Chuseok is the largest Korean holiday and the official holiday (red letter days as they are called in Korea) starts 9/23 and runs through 9/26.

Chuseok originally began in the Shilla Dynasty as a cloth weaving contest but has evolved over the years into a harvest festival similar to those in other countries throughout the world, but the Korean holiday also incorporates an aspect of ancestor worship.

The idea of the 'hometown' is somewhat different in Korea than that in the West and so does not necessarily mean the place where one was born but signifies the hometown of one's ancestors or family origin. As soon as the holiday starts and at the earliest possible opportunity, families who's hometown lies away from their current residence travel to their hometowns to meet up with other displaced family members and visit the ancestral tombs. The amount of people that travel are so great during this period, that the roads are choked with traffic for several days at the beginning and ends of the festival, making what is usually a 4 hour trip from Seoul to the southern city of Busan by car a 12 hour marathon. Since Seoul is the economic center of Korea and as such, many have moved there for work or study, the exodus usually is out of Seoul towards the country at the beginning of the festival and back into Seoul near the end of the holiday.

Upon arrival in their hometowns, families get together and start the festivities. In the days before the actual Chuseok day (9/25) generally the women prepare the foods that will be both eaten and left on the tombs during the ancestral rites. Chuseok morning families gather for the traditional Chuseok dish of Song-pyeon (shown at right) which is a rice cake filled with sweet bean paste, or sugar and sesame seeds and is generally steamed over pine needles and served with them as well to give it a delicate pine flavor.

After the morning meal, families pay respects to their ancestors by visiting and cleaning their tombs and making offerings of food and drink and bowing to them in thanks for the bountiful harvests, the lives the current generation now enjoy and the sacrifice the ancestors made to help the current generation live fruitful lives. Throughout the rest of the day there is eating, games, celebrations and enjoying getting re-acquainted with extended family members who may not have met for a year. The celabrations continue until the last day of the holiday when the mass return begins and the roads are again jammed with cars returning from the country to Seoul.





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The Korean-Arts staff



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