WEFOUNDKorean Art from the Gompertz and Other Collections in the Fitzwilliam Museum: A Complete Catalogue (Fitzwilliam Museum Publications)


Wrestling, called ssireum , is the oldest form of ground fighting in Korea, while subak / taekkyeon was the upright martial art of foot soldiers. Weapons were an extension of those unarmed skills. Besides being used to train soldiers, both of these traditional martial arts were also popular among villagers during festivals for dance, mask, acrobatic, and sport fighting. These martial arts were also considered basic physical education. However, Koreans (as with the neighboring Mongols ) relied more heavily on bows and arrows in warfare than they did on close-range weapons. [3]

It appears that during the Goguryeo dynasty, (37 BC – 668) subak/taekkeyon or ssireum (empty-handed fighting), swordsmanship, spear-fighting and horse riding were practiced. In 1935, paintings that showed martial arts were found on the walls of royal tombs believed to have been built for Goguryeo kings sometime between the years 3 and 427 AD. [ citation needed ] Which techniques were practiced during that period is, however, something that cannot be determined from these paintings. References to Subak can be found in government records from the Goguryeo dynasty through the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). [ citation needed ]

It is believed that the warriors from the Silla Dynasty (57 BC-935 AD) known as the Hwarang learned subak from the neighboring Goguryeo armies when they appealed for their help against invading Japanese pirates. [ citation needed ] But this remains a conjecture, as there is zero actual documentation of such in Korean records. There also remains no known documentation of specific military training by the Hwarang ˌ groups of Sillaˌ 74 護身術ˌ hosinsool

‘Provides a fascinating insight into the greatest century of political, social and cultural change in the history of Korea, the focus of artistic as well as military confrontation between East and West.’ – Keith Pratt, Emeritus Professor, Durham University

‘This book covers over 100 years of Korean modern art in one flow by explaining each period’s art scenes with well-documented information. It suggests the inseparable relationship between art and politics under the dynamically changing social context in and out of Korea.’ – Jungsil Jenny Lee, University of Kansas

Charlotte Horlyck is Lecturer in Korean Art History at SOAS, University of London, where she teaches on Korean art from pre-modern to contemporary times. She has published widely on Korean material culture.

Wrestling, called ssireum , is the oldest form of ground fighting in Korea, while subak / taekkyeon was the upright martial art of foot soldiers. Weapons were an extension of those unarmed skills. Besides being used to train soldiers, both of these traditional martial arts were also popular among villagers during festivals for dance, mask, acrobatic, and sport fighting. These martial arts were also considered basic physical education. However, Koreans (as with the neighboring Mongols ) relied more heavily on bows and arrows in warfare than they did on close-range weapons. [3]

It appears that during the Goguryeo dynasty, (37 BC – 668) subak/taekkeyon or ssireum (empty-handed fighting), swordsmanship, spear-fighting and horse riding were practiced. In 1935, paintings that showed martial arts were found on the walls of royal tombs believed to have been built for Goguryeo kings sometime between the years 3 and 427 AD. [ citation needed ] Which techniques were practiced during that period is, however, something that cannot be determined from these paintings. References to Subak can be found in government records from the Goguryeo dynasty through the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). [ citation needed ]

It is believed that the warriors from the Silla Dynasty (57 BC-935 AD) known as the Hwarang learned subak from the neighboring Goguryeo armies when they appealed for their help against invading Japanese pirates. [ citation needed ] But this remains a conjecture, as there is zero actual documentation of such in Korean records. There also remains no known documentation of specific military training by the Hwarang ˌ groups of Sillaˌ 74 護身術ˌ hosinsool


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