National Intangible Cultural Property
No.64 Duseok Jang

Along the grain of the timeworn sapwood, the heartwood of a wooden structure remains. On this core hangs an old piece of dark metal. The piece of metal still connects the frame to the door, which are of similar material but serve different functions.
Supplementing the shortcomings of wood and linking an object to another, this piece of metal reveals its presence, sometimes humbly, and at other times, with splendid forms.
The gesture seems to express the ethos of today’s young spirits who confidently demand to coexist, rather than lowering themselves.
The word


, which refers to the materials used in traditional ornamentation, appears frequently in documents in the



Lee Gyu Gyeng

’s (1788~1863), a 19th century scholar,

Ojuyeon munjangjeonsango

explains the process of alloying


(zinc) to cooper in greater detail.
“Zinc(亞鉛) is called


in China and


in Japan;
both refer to the same material. Koreans call it


, in other words, zinc.” -

Lee Gyu Gyeng, Ojuyeon-munjang-jeonsango

, 1770


is less expensive than gold and silver and is easier to handle than steel. Furthermore, its extremely beautiful color effectively makes artefacts look much nobler and decorative.
As aforementioned, the perception of a

duseok jang

has gradually narrowed to categorize craftsmen who simply construct


(clasps and clamps) for wooden furniture.
As a result—different from their previous role of making various artifacts—the scope of their production was extremely reduced. Moreover, as Korean lifestyles changed through a process of rapid Westernization, the demand for


for wooden furniture also decreased.
The sound of powerful hammering fills the entrance of the workshop, signaling cheerful creation. Inscribing patterns, tempering, hammering, soldering and rasping over and over, the artisans create free and splendid expressions onto golden metal surfaces. The rules and restrained manners they have maintained throughout their lives demonstrate the decades of wisdom accumulated in handling the material, arousing the viewer’s respect.


heritage began with the study of the identity of


in order to show what the meaning of this cultural resource had in store for us. Since its original function was to serve as metal ornamentation for traditional furniture and everyday objects in order to enhance their functionality, our task was to focus on the autonomous quality of its form as a flat object.