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100 Thimbles in a Box: The Spirit and Beauty of Korean Handicrafts

100 Thimbles in a Box: The Spirit and Beauty of Korean Handicrafts
  • Author : Debbi Kent, Joan Suwalsky
  • Publisher : Seoul Selection
  • Pub. Date : Apr. 2014
  • Cover : Soft Cover
  • Dimensions (in inches) : 11 x 8.6 x 0.5
  • Pages : 168
  • ISBN : 9781624120268


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  • Product Description
  • Foreword 10

    Preface 12


    Chapter 1 Introduction 14

    Handicrafts: Mirrors of the Soul 16

    Philosophical, Spiritual, and Religious Traditions in Korea 20

    Historical Timeline of the Korean Peninsula 22


    Chapter 2 Symbolism in Korean Handicrafts 24

    The Origins of Korean Symbols 26

    Individual Symbols 28

    Groups of Symbols 44


    Chapter 3 Ceramics & Clay 48

    Celadon 50

    Stoneware 52

    White Porcelain 53

    Earthenware Pots 54

    Roof Tiles 56

    Walls and Chimneys 58


    Chapter 4 Fiber Arts 60

    Thimbles 62

    Embroidery 64

    Ornamental Knotwork 66

    Gold Leaf Imprinting 68

    Wrapping Cloths 70

    Korean Patchwork 72

    Traditional Costume 74

    Accessories for Hanbok 76


    Chapter 5 Paper 78

    Handmade Paper 80

    Fans 82

    Kites 84

    Lanterns 86


    Chapter 6 Inlay 88

    Metal Inlay 90

    Mother-of-Pearl Inlay 92

    Ox Horn Decoration 94


    Chapter 7 Metal 96

    Furniture Hardware 98

    Bells 100

    Royal Gold 102


    Chapter 8 Wood 104

    Masks 106

    Drums 108

    Totem Poles 110

    Spirit Poles 112

    Stamps and Molds 114

    Wedding Geese 116

    Funerary Figures 118

    Temple Doors 120

    Furniture 122

    Windows and Doors 126


    Chapter 9 Painting 128

    Folk Paintings 130

    Paintings of Ten Longevity Symbols 132

    Paintings of Sun, Moon, and Five Peaks 134

    Character Paintings 136

    Scholar’s Study Paintings 138

    Folding Screens 140

    Genre Paintings 142

    Literati Paintings 144

    Documentary Paintings 146

    Architectural Painting 148


    Chapter 10 Handicrafts in Korea Today 150

    A Culture in Crisis 152

    Living National Treasures 153

    Five Generations of Superior Craftmanship 154

    Traditional Themes Coming of Age 155

    Reaching to the Past to Create the Future 156

    Pushing the Envelope 158

    The Tradition Lives On 159


    Acknowledgements 161

    References 162

    Index 166

  • Press Release
  • 100 Thimbles in a Box is a charming introduction to a great range of Korean handicraft, from the tiny thimbles—an old-fashioned woman’s intimate companion—to the once ubiquitous lattice and paper doors of traditional Korean homes. The authors have tacked down popular accounts of each handicraft, as contemporary Koreans now understand and appreciate them, and abundant photographs that convey the feel and appeal of ceramics, stone, paintings, masks, clothing, and furniture. Spending time in these pages is an enticement to visit Korea for a first-hand encounter with these things themselves.

    - Laurel Kendall

    Division Chair and Curator of Asian Ethnology, American Museum of Natural History


    As they explore the hidden symbolism and unique uses of Korean handicraft, the two authors trace connections between Korea’s past and present. Offering abundant visual material, this book illustrates how Koreans have enjoyed art and culture in every moment of their lives.

    Hyonjeong Kim Han

     Associate Curator for Korean Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco


    This thoroughly researched and elegantly photographed book is more than a source of knowledge; it is itself a piece of art. Debbi Kent and Joan Suwalsky have seamlessly blended culture, art, and history to offer readers an extensive overview of Korean handicraft, tradition, and identity.

    Jai-Ok Shim

     Executive Director, Fulbright Korea


    100 Thimbles in a Box will be treasured by everyone who loves traditional Korean culture and art. For adoptees and adoptive parents, however, it will also serve to nurture and support individual and family identity and pride.

    Margie Perscheid

     President, Korean Focus


    This fascinating book will whet the appetite of any reader to learn more about the vibrant, engaging folk art that has colored the everyday lives of Koreans for generations.

    Byung Goo Choi

     Director, Korean Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.


    There are not many books that describe, as 100 Thimbles in a Box does, the familiar grace and charm of Korean handicraft in terms of its symbolism and the various techniques involved in producing it.

    Kim Yeonsoo

     Former Director, Research Division of Artistic Heritage,

     National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in Korea


    * About the Authors


    Debbi Kent and her husband Bill have three children—their son Justin and their two daughters adopted from Korea, Whitney and Melanie. Debbi’s professional career has included work as a writer, editor, public speaker, marketing representative, and designer. In her free time, Debbi enjoys travel, photography, interior design, and fabric arts.


    Joan Suwalsky and her husband Al adopted two Korean-born children, April and Ted. Joan is a developmental psychologist by profession and studies child growth and family functioning, including in adoptive families, at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD. In her spare time, she is an avid potter and gardener.


    Debbi Kent and Joan Suwalsky both became interested in Korean culture when they were raising children they had adopted from Korea. Each author’s drive to fully embrace their child’s birth culture is what inspired them to become experts in Korean handicrafts—a true labor of love. They have shared their knowledge outside their families, organizing workshops and lectures about Korean crafts for parents and children at Korean culture camps and schools in the United States.

    Hankyoreh News in Korean



    The Korea Herald



    Korea Joongang Daily



    100 Thimbles in a Box_press release_

    100 Thimbles in a Box_press release_final 0430



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