K-CULTURE FUSION. Korean Life Aesthetics exhibit showcases both the vibe of Joseon dynasty, and the modern, minimalist crafts designs. The exhibit runs until January 31, 2020 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

MANILA -- With "hallyu" (Korean wave) taking the Philippines and many other countries by storm, the door opened for many fans to explore the uniqueness and beauty of Korean culture and way of life.

For those who want to take a trip both down memory lane into the Joseon dynasty and the modern times, an exhibit -- the "Korean Life Aesthetics", is a must-see.

Officially opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila on November 14, this craft exhibit lets the public see minimalist designs that were based on Korea's history and culture, but were also given a modern twist.

"This is the 21st century, the age of internet. We wanted people to see our life, culture, and what matters to us. So we share these through artworks," Korean Cultural Center director Lee Jincheol told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He added that this is the first time such craft exhibit was held in the Philippines, because 2019 marks the 70th year of bilateral relations between the Philippines and South Korea.

The Korea Craft and Design Foundation chose 33 artists to showcase their designs -- furniture, dining set, hanbok, among others -- that one can find in the "hanok", the traditional Korean house.

"The crafts (here) are linking the past and the present (times). They introduce both the past and present aesthetics of Korean life," said exhibit director, Jin Hyo-Seung, adding that crafts are important cultural tools to show their lifestyle and artistic inclination.

Exhibit director Jin Hyo-Seung (left). (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

 At the entrance of the exhibit, one would find 28 pieces of moon jars, representing one rotation of the moon or 28 days, according to Jin.

A moon jar, apparently, is expensive, as this is meticulously made.

Feel the vibe of the old Korea, as well as the notable Korean drama, "Jewel in the Palace" through the exhibit's Table Set of Accommodation section. Table settings depend on Korea's four seasons, said Jin.

Table Set of Accommodation. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

Here, one could find a five-dish brassware set. These are used for rice, and side dishes. Since the bowls were made of bronze and copper, it apparently makes the food's shelf life longer.

Kim Wan-Kyu, a known cabinet-maker in Korea, said they still make that kind of table set now. They used a pine tree, burned it to give it a beautiful color and texture. After burning, he said they scraped then varnished it.

A simple table made of pine tree in the Table Set of Accommodation section. This sells for KRW 600,000, or approximately PHP30,000 according to cabinet-maker Kim Wan-Kyu. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata

In the Simple Study section, visitors would see that in the past, Koreans just sit on the floor. The tables were assembled without using nails, and the designs are very minimalist.

Simple Study. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

Kim noted that minimalism is the key in study rooms in Korea.

"In the past, people study hard to be a member of the government. It is important for them to read everyday," he remarked.

Simple Study showcasing a modern table. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)


He added that it was the reason why the room's design was narrow and small, so they could only put books.

Elegant Boudoir section showcases separate rooms for female and male Koreans. It's like seeing what a typical room in the old Korea looks like.

Elegant Boudoir showcasing a typical female Korean's room in the old times. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

The Naturalistic Rest, on the other hand, does not only showcase some fine tea sets, but depicts how Koreans normally design their homes. A "window" was adorned with a curtain made from very thin bamboo, so Koreans could see the view outside. The "outside view" also has moon jars displayed.

Naturalistic Rest. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)


Bigger moon jars displayed in the Naturalistic Rest section. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

"Korean Life Aesthetics" caps off the year-long celebration of the Philippines-South Korea 70th year of diplomatic relations. It will run until Jan. 31, 2020. (PNA)