Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Taste of Korea at the Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur


                                     Gorgeous Christmas Tree at Menara Hap Seng Mall

It was around Christmas time last year when we first stepped foot on the famed Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur located at Menara Hap Seng Mall. I first learned about this cultural center from surfing a number of Malaysian blogs, a month before our KL trip. 

Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur @ Menara Hap Seng (Formerly Plaza MUI)

When we finally got there, I can't help but be captivated by their display window. It featured an array of relics, artifacts and textiles that spoke volumes about Korean history in general.    

For instance, this special piece of hanbok known as Hongryongpo was worn by the king  as he went about his daily activities. If you're a fan of K-dramas, you might remember that in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, King Jeongjo wore the exact same thing.   

Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

On the other side of the display window was a gorgeous woman's hanbok or chima jeogori which looked like it was made for royalty. The ensemble featured a jeogori, a blouse shirt or a jacket and a chima, a wrap-around skirt, which was usually worn full. 

                                                             Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

It has been said that during the Three Kingdoms (57 AD-668 AD) and Goryeo (935 AD) periods, you will know a person's social status by the dress and jewelry she or he wore. The royal family for instance alongside other aristocrats and court officials wore clothes made of expensive materials such as satin and silk in vibrant hues.

Commoners however wore un-dyed clothes made of cheap materials such as hemp, ramie or cotton. It was only during the Joseon period (1392-1897) that the public was allowed to wear more color in their everyday dresses to the delight of the masses.

                                                             
                                                             
                            Evolution of Hanbok through Time @ Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

Headdresses too were symbols of social class and marital status. The hat on the left is called ikseongwan worn as crown by the king during the Joseon period.


The hat on the right however was a familiar head gear for Joseon court officials as seen here in the “Portrait of Chae Jegong in black danryeongpo” painted by Yi Myeong-gi in 1792. Chae Jegong was actually a former minister and magistrate who oversaw the completion of Hwaseong Fortress.

Portrait of Chae Jegong


Korea Plaza KL also had a pair of Taesahye or men's shoes made from animal skin with scroll decoration.

Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

A plethora of Korean porcelain also made the display window look more chic and elegant.


Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

And what is Korean culture without a glimpse of its national treasures?

Miniatures at Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

Cheomseongdae Observatory, the 31st national treasure of Korea is seen here on the left while Namdaemun (Sungnyemun), the 1st national treasure of Korea is on the right side. Wouldn't it be great though if we can see these structures up close?


Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

It was a pity though that Korea Plaza KL was already closed when we arrived there. You can just imagine how disappointed I was when all I could do was to take a peek through the glass windows!

                                                              
Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur

Maybe next time, it would be me wearing one of these hanboks which can be worn by any visitor for free. How cool would that be?


Can you picture me doing a similar pose in front of these make-believe Korean dishes?


I remember seeing some of these stuffs from the Korean drama Sweet 18 when Han ji-hye's character cleaned a bunch of these for Chusok, the biggest holiday in Korea where families spend time to honor their ancestors.


Korean instruments, like the gayageuma traditional Korean zither-like string instrument adorned with 12 strings, are also available at the Korea Plaza KL. Can you still remember that gayageum was even featured in the K-Dramas Heartstrings and Queen In Hyun's Man? 


                                                           Courtesy of Korea Plaza KL

It would have been great though if I too was able to do this pose!

                                                          Courtesy of Korea Plaza KL
                                                        
Are you pumped up to make a visit soon?

Don't forget to check out their Facebook page to find out more about their schedule.    

Enjoy!                                                  


Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur
Address:
Ground Floor, Menara Hap Seng
Jalan P.Ramlee 50250 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Operating Hours:
Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm
Every Second & Fourth Saturday, 10am-5pm
Closed on Malaysian public holidays
Phone No.:
03-2072 2515
Fax: 
03-2072 3552
Email:
klkoreaplaza@gmail.com


How to go to Menara Hap Seng:


Board the KL monorail and alight at Jalan Sultan Ismail station
Menara Hap Seng is just a 5 to 10 minute walk from the station.




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