Over 100,000 Korean Cultural Properties Held Abroad

      January 21, 2010 11:28

      A ceremonial top (dangui) worn by Princess Deokhye as a child and recently discovered at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum in Japan /Courtesy of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage

      A total of 107,857 Korean cultural properties are confirmed in foreign hands, far more than the 76,143 items previously believed, the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage said Wednesday.

      The new tally includes results from surveys of antique Korean books and documents in Japan and the U.S. by the NRICH, the Korea Foundation, and the Institute of Bibliography. Also included was the NRICH's inspection of 30 overseas organizations in seven countries since 2002.

      Korean cultural assets are dispersed in 347 museums, art galleries or libraries in 18 countries. Japan has the most with 61,409 items, followed by the U.S. with 27,726. Even Kazakhstan has 1,024 Korean cultural treasures. By type, about 54,000 were antique artworks, while documents tallied at around 53,000.

      The NRICH said it included only the items confirmed through inspections, catalogues and lists provided by the current owners, excluding those that are allegedly abroad according to media reports but where accurate information was unavailable. "As almost 200,000 Korean cultural artifacts are presumed to be housed overseas, we will continue efforts to seek accurate information through on-site inspections," said Park Dae-nam of the NRICH.

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