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Korean J Art Hist > Volume 303; 2019 > Article
Korean Journal of Art History 2019;303:233-256.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31065/ahak.303.303.201909.008    Published online September 30, 2019.
한성미술품제작소 설립 및 변천과정 연구
정 지 희
Hanseong Craftwork Manufactory: Establishment and Its History
Ji-hui Jeong
Curator, Seoul Museum of History
Received: 30 May 2019   • Revised: 14 June 2019   • Accepted: 6 July 2019
The establishment of the Hanseong Craftwork Manufactory was to promote Korean traditional arts and craftwork and also to gain profits through usual sales. Expanding its organization, the Manufactory had consolidated its position until June 1913 when the Yiwangjik, or the Office of the Yi Royal Family, took over the workshop. The take-over of its ownership involved pro-Japan collaborators, Song Byeong-jun (1857-1925) and Yi Bong-rae (d. 1916), who misappropriated royal funds; and in consequence the institution was changed Yiwangjik Craftwork Manufactory. The Yiwangjik Craftwork Manufactory has entered a maturation phase, as tourism to colonial Korea has grown up since the Joseon Industrial Exposition took place in 1915 marking the fifth anniversary of the Japanese occupation. The Manufactory’s organization has become elaborate; its workshop has increased in size; and commercial strategies have come to the fore of the institution’s agendas. With the connivance of the Japanese Govenor-General of Joseon, however, the Yiwangjik Craftwork Manufactory fell into the hands of Tomita Kisaku (1858-1930), the Japanese colonial enterpreneur and mogul of Joseon local-specialties industry; and again its name changed to Joseon Craftwork Manufactory. In spite of its announcement to inherit and continue the legacy of the Yiwangjik Craftwork Manufactory, the Joseon Craftwork Manufactory merely took commercial advantage of the regalia of the Joseon royal house as the workshop’s trademarks. And yet the Manufactory was not able to escape from financial difficulties that the Great Depression of 1929, the death of Tomita Kisaku, and the emergence of competing craft stores in Jongno brought together. The business decline led to the conclusion of the Manufactory in July 1936. The roles and history of the Hanseong Craftwork Manufactory calls for great scholarly attention. The Manufactory made products for royal use; and at the same time it played a pivotal role to bring industrialization to handicrafts, making a substantial contributions to popularizing and commercializing artworks. Its significance also lies in the fact that the history of the Hanseong Manufactory is inseparable from the nature of the age, the Colonial period.
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