Tan­chong, Cul­tural Her­itage of Korean Na­tion

Korea (English) - - CONTENTS - Ar­ti­cle & Photo: Kim Su Yong

Korean peo­ple have cre­ated a bril­liant his­tory and cul­ture for a long time. Tan­chong, colour­ful paint­ing in ar­chi­tec­ture, has also a long his­tory of de­vel­op­ment.

Tan­chong is a kind of dec­o­ra­tive art widely used in ar­chi­tec­ture that traced its ori­gin to the paint­ing of min­eral plas­ter­ing ma­te­ri­als on wooden struc­tures in or­der to pre­vent them from be­ing rot­ten by weather and eaten by moth and fur­ther de­vel­oped into an im­por­tant fac­tor in dec­o­rat­ing the ar­chi­tec­tural struc­tures.

Tan­chong had al­ready at­tained a high level of its de­vel­op­ment dur­ing the pe­riod of the Three King­doms—Koguryo, Paekje and Silla, early feu­dal dy­nas­ties in the Korean his­tory. At that time it had es­tab­lished its spe­cific con­stituent sys­tem in dec­o­ra­tion and chro­matic prin­ci­ples in colour adjustment.

Tan­chong is made up of kum tan­chong, moru tan­chong and pom tan­chong, which are char­ac­ter­ized by their pat­terns.

Kum tan­chong is the most gor­geous pat­tern with in­tri­cate but ex­quis­ite dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments and de­signs and flam­boy­ant colours.

It was largely ap­plied in dec­o­rat­ing palaces and tem­ples, and mostly im­por­tant build­ings among all other ar­chi­tec­tural groups.

Many build­ings with kum tan­chong which are pre­served in the

coun­try are valu­able cul­tural her­itage, rep­re­sent­ing typ­i­cal kum tan­chong of Korea. Among them are Pog­wang Hall in Sim­won Tem­ple of Pak­chon, Tae­ung Hall of Kangso Tem­ple in Pae­chon built in the 17th cen­tury, Pog­wang halls in Sim­won Tem­ple in Yon­than and Chonju Tem­ple in Ny­ong­byon built in the 18th cen­tury, and the Panya (pra­jna) Shrine in Phy­ohun Tem­ple in Mt. Kum­gang erected in the 19th cen­tury.

Moru tan­chong, another dec­o­ra­tive pat­tern, is not so mo­not­o­nous or ex­trav­a­gant, mainly com­posed of de­signs and strokes. It was the most widely used one in build­ing palaces and other kinds of struc­tures, and also ap­plied on the other side ex­e­cuted with kum tan­chong. Ry­ong­wang Pavil­ion in Py­ongyang, Kwan­dok Pavil­ion and Nam­dae Gate in Kaesong are typ­i­cal struc­tures which were dec­o­rated with moru tan­chong.

Pom tan­chong is ex­e­cuted on blue- and earth-coloured ground with­out many de­signs but black and white lines in the mar­gin. It was mainly used in gov­ern­ment of­fices, inns, pri­vate schools, lofts, pavil­ions and the back sides of the build­ings dec­o­rated with moru tan­chong.

Tan­chong is un­der good preser­va­tion in Korea as valu­able cul­tural her­itage.

Kum tan­chong

Pat­terns of kum tan­chong at Singye Tem­ple in Mt. Kum­gang

Moru tan­chong

Moru tan­chong pat­terns seen on the main build­ing at Popun Her­mitage in Mt. Ry­on­gak

Pom tan­chong

The at­tached build­ing of Kwanum Tem­ple in Kaesong dec­o­rated with pom tan­chong pat­terns

Kwangje Tem­ple in Puk­chong with kum tan­chong pat­terns

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