The weather for picnics has just begun. In such warm weather, people are going outside looking for something interesting. You know what? Jeonju has been a famous city for calligraphy and press for a long time. How interesting! On May Jeonju’s 18th Hanji Culture Festival will be held which provides awesome experiences and amazing sightseeing. Let’s look into the festival and learn more about hanji, a gorgeous traditional art.
All About Hanji
Hanji has had such a long historic background since it was used for so long a time. Back in the Joseon dynasty, hanji produced from Jeonju had outstanding quality, so the king used to write on it. The paper making skills of our ancestors were absolutely great. When you look, it looks easy to tear, but it’s strong enough to hold watery letters written with brushes.
The main material to make hanji is paper mulberries. First, keep a great state of paper mulberries and steam them. Peel off the wood and bleach them to a proper color. Hit and make them thin like a form of paper. Finally, dry them to make it into hanji. Crafts made of hanji are conservative and strong, which prevents germs getting in. Therefore, documents written hundreds of years ago still remain neatly. There are a couple of different categories of hanji crafts which are classified by the way of making them such as Jisung and Jisung Craft. Each has a different feeling, artistic look and even different way of use.
18th Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival
This Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival is open from May 3rd to 6th at the Korea Traditional Culture Art Hall and Hanji Supporting Center under the theme ‘Play with Hanji’. Since 1997, this festival has been held to let the people know of hanji and Jeonju more. There is a fashion show ranging from normal fashion to party and wedding looks made of hanji designed by famous designers. Also, there are many events families can experience such as writing wishes on wish balls and gluing hanji on the door. For children, they can experience water gun fights with guns made of bamboo and meet characters from cartoons wearing costumes which are made out of hanji. You can experience other traditions such as learning taekwondo and wearing hanboks. Anyone who is interested could volunteer for the festival. Through this festival, we can feel how familiar hanji is in our life. We should be proud of our great legacy of hanji, so why don’t you visit there after midterm exams with your family and loved ones?
Finding Hanji in Jeonju
Not only in the festival period but also in normal times, Jeonju is the easiest city to experience hanji. In the Hanok Village, there is a hanji printing store where you can print any picture on hanji. In the water, this hanji printed picture doesn’t blur, therefore it’s easy to conserve. Also, there are a Hanji Museum and hanji paper mill which show visitors about the history of hanji and process of hanji making. The Hanji Industry Supporting Center is where you can see all kinds of hanji collections. Here, hanji has maximized the feature through artistic looks, giving us such a wonderful sightseeing opportunity.
Hanji, One Part of Branded Han韓
Since 2005, Ministry of Culture and Tourism has determined to let the whole world know of Korea, under the motto of ‘Let’s Establish Cultural Identity from Rediscovery of Traditional Culture Which Includes Health and Science.’ This project is called Han Brand. The categories of it are Korean language, Korean Food, hanbok, hanok, Korean History and hanji. Since the style of hanji craft was evaluated as having high quality in the world, exhibitions are held every year. Also, the Dakpaper doll plays got a big nod from abroad. In addition, costumes made with hanji or fusion hanboks are so popular. In beauty pageants, Korean contestants wore fabulous hanboks, and they won the best traditional costume award many times. Following this trend, research about developing hanji silk and hanji fiber is being actively studied. However, there is still a long way to go to get Han Brand put into a bigger market. Both hanji and hanbok should be standardized in many aspects such as raw materials, thickness and size. Improving those will accelerate the globalization of the Han Brand.
Hanji might have been a part of our ancestors’ lives which was not an essential one. Nowadays, however, hanji has taken the center of the Hallyu (Korean Wave), particularly in the art category. We need to have interest in our legacy of traditional culture. Keeping our traditions so as not to forget is showing politeness to our ancestors. If we did so, there would be only a few days left for hanji to take its place in the world market.