|Period||November 16 2022 – March 2, 2023|
|Venue||Special Exhibition Hall I|
Are you happy now?
Reminiscing on the happy moments in one’s life, and looking back on recent happy memories, can bring a smile to one’s face.
Throughout history, happiness has always been an important part of our lives.
What our ancestors considered the five blessings included: longevity, honor and wealth by way of holding public office, a harmonious and peaceful family life, and fertility.
Embodied in auspicious images is a reflection of the wish for good things to happen. This might be an unfamiliar notion for us today, but wishing for something wonderful to happen often entails an auspicious image.
The exhibition starts with “Part 1. Happiness, Now” by asking the meaning of happiness.
Then in “Part 2. Auspiciousness: Something Wonderful is Going to Happen,” we reflect on the auspicious images that our ancestors revered.
“Part 3. Happiness: Always, Anywhere” shows us that with the changing notion of happiness, happiness can actually be close at hand at anytime.
This exhibition conveys our desire to overcome the harsh and wintry wind that we all have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We invite visitors to stroll along the paths that people of the past and present have left.
Part 1. Happiness, Now
What is happiness?
Some have their fortunes told and dream of happiness, hoping to ward off evil spirits and invite good fortune.
When humans are united with nature, and when laughter and a genuine sense of connection is shared as a group—in that very moment of unity, you will know happiness.
Part 2. Auspiciousness: Something Wonderful Is Going to Happen
According to Tongsokpyeon (Book on Popular Customs), the five blessings that people wish for are: longevity, honor, wealth, peace and harmony, and fertility.
To live a long life, to attain honor and wealth by going out into the world, to create a harmonious family, and to have many children—
Perhaps when those wishes are expressed in various auspicious images of animals, plants, natural objects, Chinese characters, and geometric patterns, we can be reminded of them on a daily basis and something wonderful may really happen as a result.
Part 3. Happiness: Always, Anywhere
It is assumed that the word “happiness” became part of the popular Korean vocabulary in the early modern period.
Happiness signifies the state of feeling that conditions are good, and life is satisfying.
Even in the contemporary era, people hope for favorable conditions which can help realize their dreams, such as living a long life free of illness, passing important examinations, living in the splendor of honor and wealth, and the like.
Yet, against this backdrop of people’s genuine wishes, happiness does not last forever and is fleeting.
Perhaps it is time for us to look for the smaller happinesses that we can find all around us—if only we look for them.