Engraving Metal

By National Intangible Heritage Center

Jogakjang (2005) by Kim, CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center


Jogakjang, a major metalcraft technique developed in the Goryeo Dynasty, refer to the engraving of figures on matal bowls or other items. Among the skills required are pyeonggak or eumgak (depressed carving), tugak, yukgak (embossed carving), and sanggam ipsa. Tugak is the process of removing unnecessary parts with a chisel in order to make a decorative design, while sanggam ipsa is the art of scooping out a hole on the surface of a metal object and filling it in with gold, silver or bronze

Jogackjang, Kim Cheolju (2005) by Kim CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center

Kettle (inlaid with gold and silver design) by Kim Cheol juNational Intangible Heritage Center

Kettle (inlaid with gold and silver design)
Kim Cheol ju

Copper jewel box by Kim Cheol-juNational Intangible Heritage Center

Jewel Box (inlaid with gold and silver design)
Kim Cheol ju

A Sarira Case by Kim, CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center

A Sarira Case
Kim Cheol ju

Kettle by Kim Cheol juNational Intangible Heritage Center

Kim Cheol ju

Kim CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center

Appointee for Jogakjang. Kim Cheolju

The artist is Kim Cheol ju (1933~), a holder of important intangible cultural property skills. As a young boy he learned about sculpture by watching his father work. However, during puberty, when scolded by his father for producing unsatisfactory work, Kim cheol ju left home and wandered here and there for several days. It was at the age of 27, after being discharged from military service, that he finally determined to learn the skills required for sculpture. In 1971, his father, Kim jeong seop(1899~1988), was designated as the No.35 holder of sculpture crafting skills, and this prompted him to choose sculpting as his career. Afterwards, he was trained in the necessary artistic skills, became an associate instructor in 1982, and was designated as a holder of the skills in 1989 after his father’s death. 

jogakjang (2005) by Kim Jeong seopNational Intangible Heritage Center

The late Kim jeong seop is a master of metal sculpture who succeeded in connecting the Joseon period with modern times. After he graduated from Boseong High school in 1917, he acquired metal sculpturing skills at the Artistic Works Studio of the Yi Royal Family, and studied calligraphy in order to be able to inscribe characters into his sculptures. Beginning in 1930, in Jongno 1(il) ga, he ran a jewelry shop named Samgwang Trading; after Korea’s liberation, he became an advisor to the Gyeonghwa Jewelry Industrial Private Academy in 1956, and a factory manager at Daemyeong Mining Co. in 1963. In 1970, at the age of 72, Kim Jeong seop was accredited as Korea’s first master of sculpture, holder of important intangible cultural property skills No. 35. Thanks to him, Korea’s traditional metal sculptures have been handed down to the present day.

Kim Cheolju, Kim JeongseopNational Intangible Heritage Center

Artistic Excellence and Transferring of Skills

His father, Kim Jeong seop was the first person to engrave sculptures on to aluminum with the anodizing method. He as a man who liked to experiment, was looking for materials to replace expensive silver; taking a cue from the plates of radio components, he began to sculpt metal plates. His attempt at anodizing began ten years earlier than that of the current metal craft workers. Afterwards, Kim Cheol ju, too. Engraves Banyasimgyoeng (a Buddhist scripture) onto aluminum plates for many sculpted picture frames and folding screens.  

Kim CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center

 He used diverse base metals such as silver, copper, iron, aluminum and brass. Whatever he sculptures, he fixes a plate on lime, and carves with a chisel, sculpturing and inlaying. He selects traditional patterns which are suitable to the shape and usage of the object at hand. He also recreates traditional patterns through his works. His works are decorated with traditional patterns. Though crafts are generally supposed to be developed in connection with their daily purposes, he naturally distinguished metal sculpture of the late Joseon period from modern sculpture, and inherited it.

Kim CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center

 He devoted 50 years of passion to crafting his works; he has grey hair, and looks gentle and neat. He must have been handsome as a young man, presumably endearing himself to man girls. He is too wise to be complacent with reality, and exudes a feeling of goodness and cleanness. He still crafts sarira reliquaries with a pious mind after taking a bath to cleanse himself every day. This is why his works do not feel strong or fierce. He always maintains a calm posture outwardly and a dynamic mind inwardly. He said that he is most pleased when his clients are satisfied with his works.

Kim CheoljuNational Intangible Heritage Center

 He is a true master. When asked what attitude one should take when crafting such works, he responded that one should devote all one’s body and soul to the work. In this way great works will be produced.  (written by Chu Won gyo - Professor at Hanyang University, and member of the Cultural Committee)

Credits: Story

Jogakjang (Engraving Metal)
Master Artisan of a Metal Engraving Skill. Kim Cheol ju

National Intangible Heritage Center, Research & Archiving Division

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

�Ⓒ 국립무형유산원

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