If you are in Jeju not only for some fun at the beach but also for a serious historical and artistic experience, then there is no better place than the Asia Art Museum, located just minutes outside of Jeju City.
The museum offers two simultaneous art exhibitions, one introducing world-famous art, and the other the vast art collection of the museum owner himself, Lee Je Hyung, including many Asian works.
Currently, visitors can exper-ience a Renaissance art mega-exhibition featuring renowned murals only usually seen in Europe, and a Qin Shi Huang Code exhibition of 2,000-year-old original pieces from ancient China.
“If you don’t know history you can’t see the future,” said Lee when asked why he opened his art museum in Jeju Island. Although Lee was not born on Jeju, he also said it is his dream to see the island become “a huge art and culture center,” with his museum being a step toward that goal.
▲ Photo by Agne Latinyte
When he was just a poor first-year university student, Lee realized that Korean antiques and works of art were really cheap to acquire and he saw their immense cultural value and potential. His collection began from there and he has now collected and preserved 5,000 works of art and masterpieces of up to 6,000 years old.
While visiting the museum you may even be lucky enough to meet the owner and Lee says he will happily treat you to the detailed history of each piece on display.
For non-European visitors, the current mega-renaissance exhibition might even be more appealing than the ancient Chinese clay sculptures. Lee says he acquired copies of famous European murals from across the world, the originals of which can only be seen in their homelands, saving visitors a great deal in terms of time and money. Some are even hidden behind the Vatican’s walls, meaning they are off limits to nearly everyone.
In recognition of Lee’s great endeavor to ensure art reaches a wider audience, he was included in the Italian Order of Merit and given the official title of commendatore (Knight Commander) by decree of the Italian president.
▲ Image courtesy Asia Art Museum
Asia Art Museum
3045, 1100-ro, Jeju-si
Hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Adults: 9,000 won
- Youths and students: 6,000 won
- Children: 5,000 won
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