Christine Starkman, an organizing curator for the new exhibit “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392 to 1910,”
admits she has a few favorites in the show. One is a 16th-century porcelain bottle with a simple rope design. At just a little over 12 inches tall, the bottle is in a traditional shape and whitish-gray color. “What makes it so special is the rope design,” Starkman tells us. “It’s so rare for one of these bottles to have any sort of decoration on it at all. You have to understand, most of the [items] we see in this exhibition were made for scholars. These were very spiritual men who didn’t want anything to distract them from their [tasks]. This bottle is the only one of its kind in the world; it’s a [Korean] national treasure.”
The exhibit includes ceramics, scrolls, clothing and, our favorite, furniture. A 19th-century letter holder made of bamboo and a rack for hanging writing brushes are breathtakingly beautiful in the simplicity of their design. (Both are seen in a replica of a room.)
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through January 11. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713‑639‑7300 or visit mfah.org. Free to $15.
Photo: Mountain God
Sundays, 12:15-7 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Starts: Nov. 2. Continues through Jan. 11, 2014