Good morning everyone!  It’s been an interesting week here. Nova Scotia is officially in lockdown again…for the next four weeks. Covid is getting out of control.  We are canceling gatherings and staying home. It could be a good opportunity to get more hooking done!

Speaking of hooking…I’ve recently had some people ask me about my rug “Gyeongju”  (the South Korean roof tile end caps rug). I think it may need some explanation for those not versed in Asian architecture or Korean history.

South Korea is a beautiful country that has been decimated by wars during the 20th century.  Since the Korean War, which ended in the early 1950s, South Koreans have worked very hard to rebuild their land and heal their people. At one point all the trees were stripped off parts of the land so it was easy to see the enemy advance. That is why the forests in parts of South Korea look young…they were replanted after the Korean War.

During the early part of the 20th century South Korea was taken over by Imperial Japan. The Japanese tried to systematically destroy Korean culture.  One way this was done was by destroying the palaces in Seoul.  Since the 1990s there has been a focused and systematic approach by South Koreans to rebuild sites of cultural significance, including the palaces in Seoul.  How many palaces are we talking about?  There were five!

After years of helping South Korean immigrants and International students adjust to Canadian life, we had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit South Korea.  In 2017 we packed our bags and headed overseas with a previous boarder from Busan area in southeast South Korea.

Busan is a city of beaches that stretches along the coastline of the East Sea (if you’re Korean), or the Japan Sea (if you’re Japanese).  While in Busan we went to Dongbaek Island Park and saw the conference centre built for APEC 2005.  There was this magnificent carpet on the floor of the round central chamber where the heads of state met.  The colours of that carpet became the border in my rug “Gyeongju”.

We spent a couple of days there before travelling north and a bit west to Gyeongju.  Gyeongju is the historical capital of the old kingdom of Silla  Let me backtrack…

Long before the World Wars…in the 7th century…there were three kingdoms in what is now modern day Korea (North and South).  By the end of the 7th century one of them, Silla, was dominant over the others.  Gyeongju, as the capital, was home to more palaces which housed kings, and queens.  There are many royal burial mounds there, an observatory, and renovation of a famous garden has begun.

In Gyeongju there is a large park with five buildings that form one of many sites of the National Museum of Korea.  We were able to make it through two buildings in half a day.  One housed samples of the old roof tile end caps.

They were a designer’s delight!  All different designs in varying conditions and quality, the patterns on them piqued my interest.  Did they mean anything?  What were they?  How were they actually used?  Lots of questions, but few answers.

Enter our trip to Seoul!  After visiting Gyeongju we took the high speed train to Seoul.  There we visited three of the reconstructed palaces.  Here is a reconstructed South Korean palace roof.

The end caps were at the end of the roof tiles to prevent rain from sucking back up the underside of the roof tiles onto the wall of the building.

As you can tell from looking at my rug, “Gyeongju “, and the above photo,  I was also taken with the palace colour scheme.  Here is the throne room of the main palace.

So “Gyeongju” is really a memory rug of a wonderful trip to a beautiful country halfway around the world. I call it a rug, but I’ve been informed by Hubby that it will hang on the living room wall above our fireplace. The pressure is on people!  I want to get it right if I’m going to see it every day!   😂

Well if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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