Since the earliest settlements on the Korean Peninsula and in southeastern Manchuria during prehistoric times, the people of Korea have developed a distinctive culture based on their unique artistic sensibility. The geographical conditions of the peninsula provided Koreans with opportunities to receive both continental and maritime cultures and ample resources, which in turn enabled them to form unique cultures of interest to and value for the rest of humanity, both then and now. Korea’s vibrant cultural legacy, comprising music, art, literature, dance, architecture, clothing and cuisine, offers a delightful combination of tradition and modernity, and is now appreciated in many parts of the world.
At the present time, Korean arts and culture are attracting many enthusiasts around the world. Korea’s cultural and artistic achievements through the ages are now leading many of its young talents to the world’s most prestigious music and dance competitions, while its literary works are being translated into many different languages for global readers. Recently, Korean monochrome paintings have become the talk of the global art world. More recently, Korean pop artists have attracted huge numbers of admirers across the world, the most spectacular success being Psy’s global hit Gangnam Style. In May 2018, K-Pop boy band BTS’s album, “Love Yourself: Tear,” made history by topping the Billboard 200 albums chart. Its title track, “Fake Love,” landed 10th place on the Hot 100 singles chart.
The cultural prosperity Korea has enjoyed lately would have not been possible without its traditional culture and arts, which were built on the Korean people’s traits of tenacity and perseverance combined with an artistic sensibility that has matured throughout the country’s long history. The unique artistic sensibility reflected in the diverse artifacts and tomb murals of the Three Kingdoms Period became richer and more profound as Korea progressed through the periods of Unified Silla (676-935), Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392-1910). This aesthetic sensibility has been handed down through the generations to the Korean artists, and even ordinary members of the public, of our time.