Mother-of-pearl Lacquer ware object

Jewelry is a beautiful thing. But the splendor of a natural gem like a iridescent seashell's self-emitting light, is beyond beauty. Furthermore, not showing off but sitting on a side of acquered wood makes it even more elegant and glamorous
Najeon is the decoration technique of adding the pieces of seashells, sea turtle shells, amber or ivory onto wooden objects. It also refers to the skill of cutting luminescent shells into different shapes and dimensions, then inlay them onto wooden objects or furniture and coating them with lacquer. Shells that shines like luminous shells or pearls are to use for Najeon. They make various thickness by grinding them on a shetstone. Also Najeonchilgi is the technique of completing the add of mother-of-pearl and the vanish with lacquer. 
Well lacquered Najeon which glows in the dark is attractively charm but its extraordinary of breaking ordinary daily life is the top note
The mother-of-pearl is cut into long, thin strips called "sangsa." These are then cut into threads or "saseon" to create a continuous mother-of-pearl pattern, or cut delicately and elaborately and placed along pre-drawn lines to form landscape scenes. This process is called "kkeuneumjil." "Kkeuneumjil" is a word that has been passed down from the end of the Goryeo dynasty, through the Joseon Dynasty, to today
As there are many kinds geometric patterns and there is an expressive freedom to them, they are ideal for showcasing the characteristics of mother-of-pearl. In the case of the "najeon" craft, the cutting technique is used to cut the mother-of-pearl into thin threads and lay it into geometric patterns. One of the unique features of this craft is that regular patterns are used to form geometric shapes, rather than figures.
Natural landscape patterns are known to symbolize "jangsaengsasang" (long-life ideology).Natural landscape patterns represent an element of nature or the landscape, such as the sun, mountains, water, clouds, rocks, pine trees, elixir plants, and other things. These are depicted in individual patterns or combined with other elements in a single pattern. Landscape patterns were often created showing people or pavilions in ordinary landscapes, or incorporating the Four Gracious Plants to symbolize the integrity and pride of the Joseon dynasty's scholars.Paintings that were popular at that time were used as "mobon" or models for portraying landscape patterns in the "najeon" craft
Natural landscape patterns that resembled works of art were popular from the 18th century onward. This trend seems to have developed through the depiction of patterns based on landscape paintings from that era, or using the Chinese-imported "hwaboryu" (printed paintings) as models.Elements of nature, such as mountains, water, and trees were first portrayed in the "najeon" craft in the first half of the Joseon dynasty and were mostly used as a background for other patterns.Landscapes began to feature as central patterns from the latter half of the Joseon dynasty
Song Ju-an (1901~1981)
In 1917, at the age of 17, Song Juan began to learn from Park Jeongsu, the master of "Tongyeongchilgi" (lacquerware in the Tongyeong area) in that era. After that, he met Jeon Seonggyu, the headmaster of Tongyeong County Industrial Apprenticeship School, which trained "najeon" craftsmen. He followed Jeon to the Toyama Prefecture in Japan to practice his skills at the Joseon Najeon Company and returned to Korea at the age of 28. After returning to Korea, he worked at several workshops and lacquerware companies, and even after his workshop was destroyed as a result of the outbreak of the Korean War, he never stopped making "najeon" crafts.
After his son, Song Bangung, was discharged from the military in 1965, they founded and ran the Taepyeong Crafts Company in their hometown of Taepyeong-dong, Tongyeong.There were many "najeon" lacquerware workers in Tongyeong in those days, but few were skilled in cutting.In 1979, at the age of 79, the value of Master Song Juan's cutting skill was recognized and designated an National Intangible Cultural Asset to be preserved. However, he passed away two years later, in 1981, at the age of 81.
Song Bang-ung(1940~)
Song Bangung was born into his father's family lacquerware business, and grew up watching the "najeon" craft and practicing it hands-on.After the liberation of Korea in 1945, when Song Bangung was 8 years old, Master Song Juan set up a workshop.As an elementary school student, Song Bangung spent time with his sisters cutting mother-of-pearl shapes and strips, sawing, scratching lacquer, polishing, and doing errands in the workshop, like it was his playground.After graduating from Tongyeong High School in 1959, he began his career by officially studying the "najeon" craft with Song Juan.
After 10 years of apprenticeship under Song Juan's teaching, he was given permission to produce his own works of art and take on creative activities.With his background in Song Juan's strict teaching, which did not allow even one millimeter of error, Song Bangung pursued another 10 years of self-teaching and research into artifacts in order to venture into the world of art on his own, and express his own vision.As a result, he received the Presidential Award in the 10th Annual Traditional Craft Competition in 1985. Like his father, he was also recognized as possessing a National Intangible Cultural Asset as the 10th Skilled "Najeonjang," or master lacquerware craftsman, in 1990.
Credits: Story

Najeonjang, Making Mother-of-pearl Lacquer ware object
Song Bang-ung

Publisher
National Intangible Heritage Center, Research & Archiving Division

국립무형유산원(National Intangible Heritage Center)
국립무형유산원 아카이브(National Intangible Heritage Center Archive)


Ⓒ 국립무형유산원

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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