Korean Folk Village, Seoul
If one wants to see more than just the Hanok village to know how life was in the past, then visit the Korean Folk Village in Suwon, a 2-hour journey by train and bus from Seoul. On display are old houses and their furnishings, depending on the resident's occupation from a lowly farmer to a rich aristocrat. The 'villagers' are in period costumes of course, and activities include a colorful music and dance performance by farmers, a tightrope act, a traditional wedding ceremony and a display of equestrian skills.
It is open 9 am - 6:30 pm in summer, 9 am - 5 pm in winter.
Tip: don't buy souvenirs here as they are more expensive as the exact same merchandise are cheaper in the Namdaemun market.
There are many representations of houses (farmer's, peasant's & manor's) from different provinces & parts of Korea. Do also look out for house in Cheju Island, Ullung Island & House of Legends (Haunted house!). To enjoy them all, you need at least half a day!
Lespedeza Ware: On any hills in Korea Lespedeza grows wild as a perennial plant. It has widely been used by the Koreans to make utensils from old times. Rice wine strainer, wicker tray, round basket, sewing box, kitchen utensils, farm implements have all been made using this plant.
The making of Bamboo Ware: Bambooware is a specialty of Tamyang in South Choila Province. Boxes made of thin stripes of bamboo dyed in many colors are especially famous for their beauty. Bambooware of Tamyang also includes woven work-baskets, hats, screens & fans.
Silk & cotton weaving can both be observed here. Hand-woven silk is now rated as precious cloth like hemp & ramie cloth. Silk dates back to the Samban period, like hemp cloth. Silk is produced by farm families as a sideline as in the past through all its process, from silkworm raising to weaving.
Cotton was first introduced to Korea from China in the 14th century & since became the most widely used material for clothes. To make cotton cloth, the cotton was first ginned & then yarn spun from the ginned cotton. The yarn was then fed into a loom for weaving. The finer the mesh of the woven cloth, the better the quality of the material.
Manor House in the Southern Part: 19th century mansion found in Muan district, Chollanam-do. The 1st 2 wings have all the necessary items like the wooden-floor room, wooden-floor veranda, & raised wooden-floor room. The space of the floor-rooms is as large as that of the rooms.
Separate quarters for men, women, servants & grain storage make up 4 sections of a wealthy household.
Last time in Seoul I went to Namsum Park and saw many traditional houses so this time I went to the folk village mainly to see the performances. I was not disappointed!! The farmers dance was very colorful, the acrobatics were quite fun to watch and the wedding ceremony was nice. The are two performances daily. There are also more craft smiths working here.
KOREAN FOLK VILLAGE: A museum & learning center for traditional Korean culture where the Korean way of life in the 19th century is being replicated in an authentic village atmosphere with more than 250 houses & buildings representing all parts.
Pictured are totem poles which were used to protect the village from evil spirits in the olden days.
Farmer's House in the Southern Part: Reproduction of a 19th century peasant's house as found in Changanri, Changsongkun, Chollanam-do. There is only one straight-line wing to this house. The wooden floor room is between the inner & the minor rooms. The existence of 2 wooden-floor veranda in front of the inner room & at the side of the minor room denotes the openness characteristic of farmer's houses in this part of Korea.
Farmer's House in the Northern Part: This reproduction which consists of 7 detached wings is a typical 19th century farmer's house as found in Anju, P'yongannam-do. The inner wing, the outer or gate wing, the drawing-room wing, & the store wing are the 4 main wings with four open corners. The number of the wings is impressive, but their actual measurements are not very big.
Provincial Governor's Office: (788.37 sq m) Office buildings for local government were called Kwana or Kongchong.
One government building consisted of the main gate, outer servants' quarters on both sides of the gate, the inner gate, the main office (Tonghon), the magistrate's living quarters & the inner servants' quarters. At the back of the courtyard was a jail.
Tobacco Pipe Maker Workshop: Here, you'll have a chance to see the making of tobacco pipes where the production process involved heating, forging & soldering.
The bowl & mouthpiece of traditional long-stemmed tobacco pipe were made of copper, alloy of copper & tin, crystal or porcelain. Those of the best quality were ones made of the copper-tin alloy inlaid with blackened copper & silver for decoration.
Market Place: The history of market places in Korea goes back to the days of the Silla Kingdom.
At each market place the produce of the farming communities were traded with the artifacts produced by craftmen, & the products of the interior with the riches from the seaside communities. & since a market was set up on different sites on different days, there were traveling businessmen who carried their fare on the back from a market site to another throughout the year. These traveling businessmen, pobusang, served as effective disseminators of new culture & info.
Pottery Shop: Representative of Korean pottery are Koryo celadon & Yi dynasty's white ceramics. Celadon & Ceramics are products of fire & clay & glaze. The production process involves the kneading into dough of clay, the formation of vessel bases & baking.
Designed to take after a traditional Korean country town, Korean Folk Village contains many architectural styles of buildings representing different regions and lifestyles across the nation, including thatch-roofed farmer's houses, a mansion for the noble class, a provincial government office and so on. Especially interesting are the Korean people dressed in native costumes 'living the traditional lives,' who wander about the village and work in a marketplace and various kinds of shops where folk crafts are manufactured and on display. It offers the several times daily performances of traditional music, dance and other folk arts.