• Updated : 2019.3.25 월 13:53
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Nakjuk: Searing the Artisans's Phiolosopy of Life on Bamboo중요무형문화재 제31호 김기찬 낙죽장 기능보유자
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승인 2012.11.19  15:59:14
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    What comes into your head when you hear the word ‘artworks’? Picasso’s paintings? Rodin’s “The Thinker”? Many kinds of artworks may come to mind. Nakjuk (Korean bamboo pyrography) is a little different from them. It is an artwork that sears patterns on the surface of a piece of bamboo with a hot iron to draw a picture or write words. No one knows the origins of najuk in Korea. Now this traditional Korean craft is preserved by Important Intangible Cultural Property No.31, Nakjukjang (Nakjuk Master Artisan) Kim Gi-chan, his son and students.
 
     

 

Important Intangible Cultural Properties No. 31 Nakjukjang Kim Gi-chan

 
 
“Travelling in Hallyeosudo in the southern coastal areas around Jinhae, Tongyeong, Jinju and Namhae changed my whole life.” He was not an art student at first, but his travels inspired him to study art. It was during that time he met Park Yong-gi, Important Intangible Cultural Property No.60 Jangdojang, who gave him inspiration to start najuk. Jangdojang Park wanted to find a good Nakjukjang but he failed so he asked him to draw on his jangdo. It was the start. Time flew by and his teacher suddenly passed away. He had a hard time studying nakjuk because of his great sorrow but he did not give it up and he has kept going.
“With the years, I began to obsess with great works and my inner conflict was growing.” On December 18th, 2007, Geumjukheon Art Gallery at Songgwang Temple, where he kept his precious artworks was destroyed by fire. “Everything in the gallery was valuable and especially “Bulja” made of my mother’s white hair was of great significant to me. It was hard for me to overcome. But now I know nothing lasts forever, so I let go so I could free my mind.” This seems to make his handicrafts more meaningful.
How do you make a nakjuk artifact? First, collect one or two year old bamboo, cut it into the proper size, and bind the bamboo stems together. Put them into a pot of boiling water with caustic soda, wipe them to get rid of any dirt on the bamboo stems and dry them in a sunny spot. Next, heat two irons on a stove and maintain the proper iron temperature. “It is important to check the irons’ temperature before searing pictures or words on the surface of the bamboo with them.” When depicting subjects with the irons, the gradation of nakjuk is determined by the temperature of the irons. It requires a high degree of skill to know the proper temperature. It is very important to scorch bamboo smoothly and clearly with the hot irons, as if painting pictures with brushes. Therefore, Nakjukjang requires versatile skills that have been taught for a long time.
“When I was in Songgwang temple, I used Buddhist scriptures, but now I am interested in my inner world, I want to express honest words from my heart. I think a few people know the real worth of my art. As my artworks are not for sale, I am not stereotyped by people. I am very happy for it.” This reporter thinks that he is satisfied with his life that has changed so much in the past five years. “I would not have changed my life without having difficult experiences. No experience, no change. I realized this meaning when I lost everything all at once,” He said.  Many people seem to set a goal which is measured by worldly success, rich life, and they move toward it through their whole life. Rich appearance? Rich inner world? Which life is better? We need to think seriously about it.

By Hwang In-sik, Student Editor

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