Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hanhyanglim Onggi Museum in the Heyri Art Village

One place we were welcomed with open arms was the Hanhyanglim Onggi Museum. To be perfectly honest with you, when we walked in I and I saw all the kimchi (onggi) pots, I turned to leave. My thought was that I had seen thousands of kimchi pots and if you seen one, you've seen them all. I was so wrong.  An employee immediately came over to Hellena and she was very excited to have us there so I thought that we will tour the museum for her sake.
 But first a little history of the onggi. The are made from clay and are said to have been used by all people from commoners to nobility. An onggi was a perfect place to store kimchi and soy bean paste. I have also seen them used to make soy sauce. Until I saw that I had no idea where soy sauce came from. But the use of onggi is disappearing with a lot of Koreans buying rather than making their own kimchi and soy bean paste. They also use modern storage like a kimchi refrigerator instead of an onggi. This is a real concern of the staff of this museum and why this museum is so important to them to preserve the history of the onggi and it's important place in Korean history.
 Up until this visit, I had only seen one type of onggi. It was very large and plain. But what we found here at the museum was a building full of talent. I had never seen drawings and designs on the onggi. It was so beautiful. We were encouraged to take all the photos we wanted.

                                      Rocketman took some pretty cool photos too.
Rocketman called me over the this particular onggi and when I looked inside I couldn't believe the pattern I saw. It was so amazing.

They also had a little gift store where you could purchase pieces from local artisans using the same material. Hellena bought these for me. Do you know what it is? I thought it was just pieces of clay but she told me that they are small serving dishes.  You put them into your refrigerator to chill, add fresh fruit on top and serve. Love it.
    I also bought this small teapot. I ended up buying two, one for myself and one for my son-in-law.
Here is the top. I am a huge fan of anything handmade. This was our last stop before heading back to Seoul. We were meeting another one of our dear friends, Jennifer and her family for dinner. The time in Korea was winding down and we still had so much to see and do.

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