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January Issue 2009

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, Presents Koreans Funerary Figures

Koreans are known for their "kkoktu" (funerary figures), but until last year, that artistry had never before been seen outside of Korea. From Jan. 20 through May 16, 2009, Wake Forest University's Museum of Anthropology in Winston-Salem, NC, will be the only venue in the southeastern United States to feature the exhibit, Korean Funerary Figures: Companions for the Journey to the Other World.

Organized by the Ockrang Cultural Foundation, the exhibit was first featured at the Korea Society Gallery in New York City in 2007. It is now on tour in the United States. 

Featuring text in both English and Korean, the exhibit will showcase a collection of 74 "kkoktu." These 19th- and early 20th-century funerary figures are colorful, carved wooden figures depicting acrobats, clowns and mystical animals that were used to decorate funeral biers, the stands used to transport coffins to ancestral burial grounds. The figures reflect the realities of rural Korean village life during a time period with few written records. They also represent the desire that the deceased loved one enter the next world surrounded by joy. 

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Museum of Anthropology will offer several events throughout the spring semester that will examine Korean culture.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call Pam Barrett at 336/758-5237 or e-mail to (barretpm@wfu.edu).

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