The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

Special exhibition held to mark year of dragon

By Choi Si-young

Published : Dec. 20, 2023 - 15:23

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A special exhibition on dragons at the National Folk Museum of Korea in central Seoul. (National Folk Museum of Korea) A special exhibition on dragons at the National Folk Museum of Korea in central Seoul. (National Folk Museum of Korea)

The National Folk Museum of Korea is holding a special exhibition to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

The show, set to run through March 3, 2024, will explore symbols and mythology associated with the only imaginary creature of the 12 animals, the state-run museum said Wednesday.

According to Korean mythology, the dragon lives underwater -- one of the reasons lakes and rivers, as well as mountains, reference it in their names. Government data released in 2021 showed the dragon was most often cited among the Chinese zodiac in the names of 100,000 locations in the country.

The exhibition also traces the roots of how modern-day Koreans perceive the dragon. Cheongnyong Train, literally meaning “blue dragon train,” is a byword for roller-coasters, which were first introduced to Korea in 1973. The LG Twins, a South Korean professional baseball team, used to carry the dragon in its name in its early days.

A special lecture was held Wednesday, discussing how the dragon has come to mean abundance and fortune and why Koreans still associate their life with those symbols. About 70 pieces of artifacts, including video clips, will be on display at the museum in central Seoul.

Blue and White Porcelain Jar with Cloud and Dragon Pattern. (National Folk Museum of Korea) Blue and White Porcelain Jar with Cloud and Dragon Pattern. (National Folk Museum of Korea)