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Lacquer-Korea's Brilliant Art

  • Carla Stansifer, Director
  • Carla Stansifer and Kim In-Seob, Producer

About the Project

This is the story of traditional artisans struggling to maintain natural beauty in contemporary South Korean society. The artistic process of applying refined tree sap to objects for improving durability extended throughout Asia thousands of years ago. Over the centuries, Korean artists have developed unique methods for adding shell inlay designs to beautify objects. In the rich green lacquer tree groves of the rolling countryside and the bustling metropolis of modern-day Seoul, you'll meet four designated Important Intangible Cultural Property holders who carry on the ancient traditions of najeon (mother-of-pearl inlay) lacquer. Meet their dedicated apprentices and learn about the challenges of becoming a master artisan. Discover the natural health benefits of using lacquer for everyday items. See how students adapt old techniques for revolutionary designs, and how museums preserve and protect ancient works. Experience Korean culture in this short documentary; a world of elegance, complex artistry, and scientific achievements.