New York hosts ancient Korea debut in West

New York hosts ancient Korea debut in West

NEW YORK - Drawn to bling? A fan of gold jewelry? Keen on Buddha? If so, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art offers the newest ticket to fend off the winter chill.

An exhibition of exquisite treasures from ancient Korea opens in New York next week, marking the first display anywhere outside Asia of the little known Silla kingdom.

The most famous export from Korea, a territory split in two by war, are the TVs, tablets and phones of South Korea multi-national Samsung, the exhibition's sponsors.

The ancient kingdom of Silla, which rose to prominence in the fifth century, is barely known in the West.

"Silla Korea's Golden Kingdom" sets out to change that by showcasing dazzling art 16 centuries old on loan from the National Museum of Korea in Seoul and Gyeongju.

"This show is not to be missed," said Thomas Campbell, the British-educated director the Met. "These stunning works of art are rich in beauty and history... Their story will be a revelation to the public," he added.

Soyoung Lee, associate curator and co-curator of the exhibition, said its uniqueness was a key selling point.

New Yorkers can boast about living in the cultural capital of the world even if the city has been recently criticised for selling more art than it produces.

"New Yorkers are so sophisticated, they've seen everything but this is something they haven't yet seen so we were very eager to present it here," Lee told AFP.

The more than 130 exhibits, which date back to 400-800, will be on show from next Tuesday until February 23 as part of an exhibition that took five years to organise.

The Met is a permanent fixture on the tourist trial and of New York society, and Lee hopes that at least 100,000 visitors will pass through the exhibition.

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