A street vendor sells goods on a busy Pyongyang sidewalk.

A street vendor sells goods on a busy Pyongyang sidewalk.

You'd think a typical convenience store wouldn't even inspire the greatest artist on the planet, but for South Korean Me Kyeoung Lee, she sees a beauty in their mundane and functional form, creating charming...

You'd think a typical convenience store wouldn't even inspire the greatest artist on the planet, but for South Korean Me Kyeoung Lee, she sees a beauty in their mundane and functional form, creating charming...

© Han Youngsoo - Bando Hotel(Lotte Hotel), Euljiro 1-ga,   Seoul, Korea 1956-1963

© Han Youngsoo - Bando Hotel(Lotte Hotel), Euljiro 1-ga, Seoul, Korea 1956-1963

The World of Alleys by Korean artist 김기찬 (Kim Ki-Chan)

The World of Alleys by Korean artist 김기찬 (Kim Ki-Chan)

A Korean postman with his umbrella, pipe and mailbag, circa 1900

A Korean postman with his umbrella, pipe and mailbag, circa 1900

Korean Mother and Child by dok1, via Flickr

Korean Mother and Child by dok1, via Flickr

Korean countryside near Seoul in fall of 1945.  (Agfacolor film shot with a Leica)

Korean countryside near Seoul in fall of 1945. (Agfacolor film shot with a Leica)

391 "Pounding Rice"  1918-1933 East Asia Images, Imperial Postcard collection, Lafayette College

391 "Pounding Rice" 1918-1933 East Asia Images, Imperial Postcard collection, Lafayette College

Korea,  Pyongyang early 20 C  For a brief period in the early 20th century, after the 1910 fall of the original "Hermit Kingdom" -- the Choson dynasty and before the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1945, Pyongyang, then a provincial capital, was open and growing. These ...provide a window into Pyongyang before the Kim era, and give us a glimpse of some of the forces that shaped the North Korea we know today.

Korea, Pyongyang early 20 C For a brief period in the early 20th century, after the 1910 fall of the original "Hermit Kingdom" -- the Choson dynasty and before the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1945, Pyongyang, then a provincial capital, was open and growing. These ...provide a window into Pyongyang before the Kim era, and give us a glimpse of some of the forces that shaped the North Korea we know today.

Kat (갓), or horsehair hats, represented upper-class status in Korea as only the yangban were allowed to wear them. That, and the fact that they were carefully crafted of very thin material such as bamboo and horsehair, gave kat-makers much pride in their work. Later, they were worn by craftsmen and merchants (Cho 1996 vol. 1, p. 88). 1906-1933 East Asia Image Collection, Imperial Postcard Collection, Lafayette College.

Kat (갓), or horsehair hats, represented upper-class status in Korea as only the yangban were allowed to wear them. That, and the fact that they were carefully crafted of very thin material such as bamboo and horsehair, gave kat-makers much pride in their work. Later, they were worn by craftsmen and merchants (Cho 1996 vol. 1, p. 88). 1906-1933 East Asia Image Collection, Imperial Postcard Collection, Lafayette College.

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