Because of the two nations' geographical proximity and long-standing cultural links, Korean art has been heavily impacted by Chinese painting over the years.
During the Goryeo period (918-1392), which lasted for more than 70 years, there were many great artists working in both China and Korea. They exchanged ideas and techniques, contributing to the development of their own styles. Many scholars believe that it was during this time that many elements found in later Korean paintings were first experimented with. For example, many block-out patterns used in Korean painting can be seen in Chinese painting from this period. Also, some claim that the use of blue as a primary color in Korean painting began then too.
After the fall of Goryeo, when much of the knowledge about painting methods and materials had been lost, only few artists would have any knowledge of these traditions. But beginning in the Joseon era (1392-1910), many new artists came to prominence who were keen to revive the former glories of their country. They often painted scenes that had originally been set up in temples or museums back in Goryeo times and reused them in their works. These paintings are known as hanji pictures because they were usually printed on paper made from wood pulp with water-based paints.
Korea, always inspired by Chinese art, established a semi-independent kingdom following a foiled Mongol invasion in the 1500s, until it was conquered by Japan in 1910. This was a Chinese custom that spawned the entire school of "literati painting" of scholar/artists.
During the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), many Korean artists were forced to close their studios and move to Tokyo or Osaka for education and training. When they returned home, they brought new styles of painting with them. The most influential artist during this time was Kim Gi-seong, who had studied under some of the best teachers in Japan. His bright colors and crisp lines still characterize modern Korean paintings.
After World War II, South Korea began to develop its economy and society, but kept close ties with China and Japan. As part'their efforts to join these industrialized countries, some young artists traveled abroad for studies. They came back with new ideas and techniques, which are now used in Korean paintings.
So Korean folk art is influenced by Chinese art, then adapted by Japanese artists, and now created independently by young Koreans.
Here are some more examples of Korean folk art: mandalions (mythical faces inside fruit), spirit houses (for protecting homes from evil spirits), and paper cutouts of celebrities.
Calligraphy, music, painting, and ceramics are examples of Korean arts that are differentiated by the use of natural shapes, surface embellishment, and vibrant colors or sounds. Korean painters copied Chinese traditions on occasion to represent a natural taste for simple elegance, spontaneity, and a respect for nature's purity. But most Korean artists developed their own style that combined Eastern and Western elements.
Korean calligraphers were among the first artists in Asia to learn the skill from Europeans. They incorporated new techniques such as using water-based paints and pigments instead of ink with their writings. As a result, calligraphy gained more attention than before and became an important part of society.
Music was also popular in Korea during its early years. The majority of musicians were men until about 1400, when women were allowed into the profession. Classical Korean music evolved from tribal chants and religious songs toward modern classical compositions between 1720 and 1820. In fact, some scholars believe that Joseon Dynasty (1392-1885) musicians were the first in history to perform on a regular basis. The king himself was said to have enjoyed music so much that he often asked musicians to come and play for him even after they had been paid.
Painting also originated from China. During the Goryeo period (918-1392), many artists came from abroad to teach Koreans their skills.