National Museum Hosts "Silla and Pars" Exhibit

Relics from South Korea's Silla Kingdom era are on display in a museum in Tehran
About 150 items from South Korea's Gyeongju National Museum are on display in Iran for the first time. About 150 items from South Korea's Gyeongju National Museum are on display in Iran for the first time.
The influence of Iranian culture in Silla Kingdom era was profoundly felt in many ways

The exhibition of ancient South Korean relics at Iran's National Museum opened in Tehran on Saturday following a ceremony attended by Ali Asghar Mounesan, the head of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, and South Korean Ambassador to Iran Kim Seung-ho.

Titled "Silla and Pars: A Common Memory", the event displays 144 relics from Gyeongju National Museum that largely holds relics of the Silla Kingdom, of which Gyeongju was the capital. The exhibition will run until Dec. 15, ISNA reported.

Speaking during the ceremony, Mounesan said the exhibition is a sign of Iran's peaceful diplomacy and its international cultural interactions.

"Today, cultural diplomacy is considered a useful means in international relations and highlighting common cultural values is essential to global peace," he said.

Mounesan noted that Iran and South Korea have maintained friendly relations for 15 centuries, despite fundamental changes in global geopolitics.

Mohammad Reza Kargar, director of the Museums and Historical Moveable Properties Office at ICHHTO, also pointed to Iran's efforts in pursuing cultural diplomacy.

"From now on, Iranians will not know South Korea only by their electronic devices and cars, but will learn that it is an ancient civilization sharing roots with Iran," he said, adding that this change of perception will lead to deeper friendship.

The South Korean ambassador said the exhibition is a symbol of his nation's warm welcome to Iranians, although the country's civilization is much younger than Iran's.

"Almost all governments undergo changes within four or five years and the only channel for constant relations goes through culture," he said.

According to Mohammad Hossein Talebian, the deputy for cultural heritage at ICHHTO, Iran had earlier held an exhibition in South Korea in 2008 and this is the first time Korean antiquities are on display in Iran.

"The event is the first outcome of the memorandum of understanding signed between the National Museum of Iran and Gyeongju National Museum in October 2016," he said.

The long-running relationship between South Korea and Iran started with cultural exchanges dating back more than 1,600 years. Academic circles believe both countries had active cultural exchanges during the 7th-century Silla era that corresponds to periods spanning between the reigns of Sassanian and Buyid dynasties (224-1062) in Iran.    

The influence of Iranian  culture was profoundly felt in many ways, most notably in the fields of music, visual arts and literature, and relics discovered in South Korea are presumed to be sent to Silla from ancient Iran through the Silk Road.

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