Special Exhibition: Kazakhstan—The Cradleland of the Golden Man

The Golden Man ⓒ National Museum of Korea

A special exhibition, “Kazakhstan—The Cradleland of the Golden Man,” is currently being held at the Permanent Exhibition Hall of the National Museum of Korea. The exhibition, which opened on 27 November 2018 and will continue through 24 February 2019, is a venue where visitors can gain understanding of the civilization of the great plains of Kazakhstan and the cultural heritage of the nomads who kept moving around the heart of Eurasia. On the sidelines of the exhibition, a documentary on the intangible cultural heritage of Kazakhstan is screened every Wednesday until 12 December at the Main Auditorium. ICHCAP provided support for the production of the video.

The special exhibition consists of three sections. The first section is ‘Heritage of the Great Steppe: Masterpieces of Jewelry Art’, a traveling exhibition organized by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan. The precious items on display include the Golden Man, which was discovered in the Issyk kurgan and now is a symbol of Kazakhstan, as well as golden artifacts found from the historic sites of Taldy, Taksai, and Sayram.

Dombra, musical instrument ⓒ National Museum of Korea
The second section, “The Steppe, an Open Space,” introduces the history, traces and Islamic culture of the vast plain. This section exhibits items that help visitors understand the grassland culture of the Kazakhs. One of them is bogeom, a golden sword found in Gyerim-ro in Gyeongju, Korea, which was known to have been transmitted to the ancient Silla kingdom. Others include Scytho-Siberian style animal-shaped harnesses excavated in kurgans.

The last section, titled ‘Mutual Growth and Coexistence: The Story of the People’, features structures and interior decorations of yurt, a traditional dwelling widely used to endure the harsh environment, as well as syrmak, a traditional carpet, and dombra, the most popular instrument in Kazakhstan.

The video documentary, which was produced with support from ICHCAP, introduces various intangible cultural heritage of Kazakhstan, including asyk, a traditional Kazakh play that uses animal ankle bones; Korkyt Ata, a legendary poet; orteke, a traditional puppet play; and, traditional festive rites of Kazakh horse breeders.