|Everything, including human beings, has a face that represents or symbolizes it. It is the faces of human beings that are most full of changes of emotions and have symbolic meanings of all the animals. Their faces can bear such various expressions as laughing, crying, frowning, concealing their mind, handsomeness, ugliness and naivet, according to their feelings, so humans are said to have 'a thousand faces'. Faces are divided variously by sex, region, nationality and period, and their shapes and conditions keep changing according to historical circumstances, socio-economical conditions, nutrition conditions, etc.
Our ancestors have expressed the faces reflecting the mentality and shape of the Korean race in various fields long ago. They expressed simple faces on shells or rocks or clay molding in the prehistoric age, expressed their life mode and faces realistically through the changes in tombs in the period of the Three Kingdoms and in the Koryo and Chosun period, they created more shapes of faces in many fields, including varieties of remains, faces expressed by the mercy of Buddha, faces of shamanistic folk belief, faces of the people carved in masks, faces in genre paintings, faces of totem poles standing on roads, and so on.
Therefore, in the aspect of understanding culture, it is very important for us to look at the shapes and changes of Korean faces in the past and the changes in the future through a series called 'Faces of Koreans'. The 'Faces of Koreans' may be the first attempt to seek the answer to the question. The faces' exhibition collects our ancestor's faces scattered over the country and shows original faces of the Korean race connecting our past, present and future.
June 1994. The National Folk Museum. Yi Jong-cheol