The Reputation of Jeonju Hanji, Paper That Lasts a Thousand Years, Spreads Throughout the World
The reputation of Jeonju Hanji (traditional Korean paper) that lasts for a thousand years is spreading throughout the world. Having captivated the Vatican and the Louvre of France, Jeonju Hanji was recently accepted by the Central Institute for the Restoration and Conservation of Archival and Library Heritage (ICRCPAL), an Italian world-leading organization specializing in paper, to be suitable for use in cultural property restoration and conservation.
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Jeonju Mayor Kim Seung-su attends the Wednesday Papal Audiences at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City and delivers Pope Francis a congratulatory letter reproduced in Jeonju Hanji, which had been sent to the Vatican in 1904 by Emperor Gojong to celebrate Pope Pius X's succession. (Photo: Business Wire)
Made meticulously by master craftsmen using Korean bark of mulberry, traditional Hanji is known for its excellent quality to last over a thousand years if maintained well. This is well illustrated by the preservation of Mugu Jeonggwang Dae Daranigyeong (National Treasure 126 of the Republic of Korea), the world’s oldest woodblock-printed scripture published in the 8th century, over a period of 1,300 years.
Jeonju Hanji is being used not only for archiving but also as a material for wallets and ties, creating a new fashion culture. The Hanji items created by the craftsmen of Jeonju are a celebrated specialty of the city.
Jeonju Hanji, which has not been widely known in the global paper market, is gradually gaining a reputation as it was recently used as a restorative material for cultural properties in the Louvre and drew the attention of the Vatican, a treasure chest of the world’s archival culture.
Jeonju City plans to promote a range of cooperative projects for the globalization of Jeonju Hanji, such as by entering into an MOU with ICRCPAL in November and co-hosting an international seminar between Korea and Italy in February next year to celebrate the winning of recognition for the excellence of Jeonju Hanji.
Mayor Kim Seung-su of Jeonju City said, “Based on our accomplishment to have the excellence of Jeonju Hanji recognized by ICRCPAL of Italy following the Louvre and the Vatican, we will try our best to not only restore the world cultural heritage with Hanji but also to foster Hanji and the related materials industry.”
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