Get Familiar with the Old to Discover the New
See & Do Tours
March's Main Article
“Get familiar with the old to discover the new” is one of the many Korean idioms that children are accustomed to hearing. This particular phrase depicts the hope of past generations that the future generation would embrace the new only after they’ve learned from the past. However, the children of today, also known as Generation Z, might find this to be an unfamiliar concept. In an era where millions of articles are being constantly uploaded within seconds of each other, where cell phones don’t last a year before newer models come out to replace them, where everyone seems to be soley focused on moving forward, it’s important to take a pause, look back, and try to learn from the old. So in the modern day today, what’s considered “old” and where do we even start looking?
This project began with the hope of having stores in Seoul last for up to 100, even 1,000 years. A shortened form of a phrase which describes a desire that old stores and shops will last a long time, the term “Oraegage” was aptly named endearingly by the citizens of Seoul. Throughout the districts of Jongno and Euljiro, 39 stores passed rigorous screenings and inspections to become a part of “Oraegage”, making them eligible to receive promotional support and become viable future locations for major events and activities.
Oraegage 39 is made up of 39 different stores and shops that have maintained their business in traditional Korean arts and crafts, heritage, and culture. The criteria for joining were very specific. Stores dealing with Korean heritage and culture had to be in business for at least 30 years while stores dealing with traditional Korean arts and crafts had to be either succeeded by a second generation or be designated as a cultural heritage site among other requirements.
① Manna Bunsik ② Kyungin Museum of Fine Art ③ Guksun Mother-Of-Pearl Inlay and Lacquerware
• Korean heritage and culture: Be in business for at least 30 years
• Traditional Korean arts and crafts: Either succeeded by a second generation or be designated as a cultural heritage site
It’s not hard for a youth to look around and feel the weight and time of all the ancient locations that preceded them.
Visitors stepping inside Manna Bunsik will be greeted with a smile from the 78-year-old owner. She has been operating this store for over 40 years as a master of making tteok-bokki. Every morning, she uses fresh Yeoju anchovies to make the broth for her one-of-a-kind eomuk (fish cake). And every day, she uses a fresh set of oil to cook with, making her food not only clean but tastier as well.
4 Pirundae-ro 1-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Founded and established on December 6, 1983, Kyungin Museum of Fine Art is a place where tradition merges with the present. Using and maintaining one of the old hanok houses as a place to exhibit their work, this museum has garnered a lot of interest from visitors. Various exhibitions including calligraphy, furniture, fashion, and paintings have been on display here. The biggest merit of this place is in the composition of its space. Combining the beauty of traditional Korea and the atmosphere of a European terrace, this museum is made up of five separate spaces held together by the lovely garden in its center.
It’s also a place to view and take in the residence of the aristocrat, Park Yung-hio, the son-in-law of Joseon’s King Cheoljong who had created the Korean flag.
11-4, Insadong 10-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
(Closest subway stations)
- Jonggak Station (line 1) exit 3
- Anguk Station (line 3) exit 6
- Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (line 5) exit 5
Website (Korean) : http://www.kyunginart.co.kr/kor/index.asp
A place where they’ve been producing lacquerware for over 40 years, this shop is brimming with pens, key chains, hand mirrors, jewelry boxes, and wardrobes all inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Due to the brilliant sheen of the mother-of-pearl, these craftworks are highly popular among visitors. The Korean jewelry boxes, modeled after Korean kiwa houses, are one of their most popular products. It takes about 2 months to make a small jewelry box and may take up to a whole year to make a wardrobe, which shows just how much this handicraft greatly deserves our respect.
138-2 Jongno 5(o)-ga, Jongno-gu
(Closest subway station)
- Jongno 5(o)-ga Station (line 1) exit 7
Website (Korean) : http://gs5701.com/
Not everyone from the younger generation ignores the “old” to blindly follow the newest trend. How are some of them embracing the “old” to approach the "new"?
The beauty of hanbok has been acknowledged far beyond the borders of Korea. Already highly popular among visitors, there's been a growing renewed interest in the younger Korean crowd as well. From college students going abroad in hanbok attire, fashion designers specializing in hanbok designs, to people wearing simplified hanboks for everyday wear, it has never been easier to spot people wearing hanbok.
What should be on the to-do list of people visiting Seoul? If anyone has ever seen a hanbok on TV or the internet, one of the first things they look forward to doing in Seoul is to wear one here. There are many hanbok rental places around Seoul. Wouldn’t it be dreamy to stroll around the city of Seoul in a hanbok, pretending you’re back in the Joseon dynasty? Also, wearing a hanbok gives you free admission into Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is just another added bonus.
The old doesn't disappear, but continue to live on around us.