Relief Printmaking in Korea


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South Korea

2020 Dates

Arrival Date: June 29

End Date: July 24

Program Overview

Through class activities, interactions with locals, and visits to ancient sites, students on this program will learn the techniques, tools, concepts and a condensed history of the development of Korean woodblock printmaking. After exploring the early history of Korean printing methods through a five-day excursion to UNESCO world heritage sites across the country, students will learn traditional and contemporary woodblock printmaking at Seoul National University’s College of Fine Arts.

Print media have changed enormously, but remain true to their artisanal origins. Korea has its own special history and traditions that pave the way for such developments, adapting to new technology yet true to traditional handmade values.

This class will explore the history of printing technology as it developed in Korea from the seventh through the fourteenth century A.D., ranging from the world’s oldest printed text, The Great Dharani Sutra, to the latest cutting-edge technology, including laser cutting.

Classes will include museum and gallery field trips, ands-on workshops at a traditional Korean paper museum (hanji), and interactions with local visiting artists, master printmakers, papermakers and traditional artisans. Through classes, excursions, and cultural visits students will encounter diverse multi-regional art practices that will broaden their perspectives and increase their understanding not only in the field of print media but in the larger contemporary visual culture. This program will help stimulate and inspire our UCSC art major students to prepare their artistic careers and advance their possibilities for study opportunities internationally.

This program is limited capacity.

Max Enrollment: 18

Language of Instruction: English

Study Abroad Program Coordinator: Krissy Loveman

Faculty Leader: Jimin Lee

Second Program Leader: Bridget Henry


Art 161C: Tradition and Innovation; Relief Printmaking in Korea


Program Highlights

During the first week, the class will take a five-day, four-night cultural excursion to visit the UNESCO world heritage sites, Cheongju, Jeonju, Heainsa temple and Gyeongju.

Students will visit the Korean Early Printing Museum to see Jikji, the world’s oldest scroll book printed with movable metal type. In Jeonju, students take workshops at the Jeonju Hanji Experience Learning Center, which is directly operated by Jeonju traditional Korean artisans. Students will get to make their own prints on their own paper.

Haeinsa Temple
The oldest part of the temple houses the 81,258 wooden printing blocks in the largest and the oldest wooden storage facilities in the world since 1398. The woodblocks were used to print more than 700 books and documented related to a whole range of subjects, including philosophy, genealogy, history and geography. The blocks themselves even became important objects, being considered powerful symbols of learning.

Each student will make a copy from the Tripi’aka (Three Baskets) Koreana woodblock as visitors allowed on the Haeinsa complex grounds. We will stay one night at the Haeinsa Temple. This temple stay program includes temple tour, meditation, conversation over tea with monastics, formal monastic meals, Buddhist ceremonies and 108 bows.

The group will visit Bulguk Temple and see The Great Dharani Sutra, which is considered to be the oldest printed text in the world (it was made between 684 and 704 AD). Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD) and Gyeongju Historical Areas and Yangdoing Folk Villages are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Upon returning to Seoul, the group will also visit the following sites:
  • Seoul National University Art Museum
  • National Museum of Korea
  • Seoul Museum of History
  • National Folk Museum of Korea
  • Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
  • Seoul Gallery Tours


See the Summer 2020 Presentation.


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