Cheon Jingi

Director General, National Folk Museum of Korea

Cheon, Jingi received his M.A. in Folkore from Yeungnam University and Ph.D in Korean Classical Literature from Chungang University. He has had his career as curator at National Museum of Korea, National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and National Folk Museum of Korea and currently on his duty of Director General at the National Folk Museum of Korea since May 2011.

He is specialised in folklore regarding Twelve Zodiac Signs (Oriental Zodiac·Sibiji), and is an author of several books related to Korean folklore such as “A Folkloric Study on the Animals” (2002), “A Folkloric Study on Horses” (2006) and “Code of Twelve Animals that Reads Fate” (2008). The Twelve Zodiac Signs have close ties with everyday life of Koreans, including the notion of time and directions in astronomy and the calendar as well as fortune telling, naming a baby, fixing a date and foretelling the fate and marital harmony. Dr. Cheon has been a kind interpreter for the public introducing the meaning and importance of the signs. Therefore, he is second to none in the folk field about animals which have symbolic meanings rooted deeply to our daily lives in Korean society.

He also published books with folklorists collaboratively such as ‘Folklore about Korean Horses’(1998), ‘Intangible Cultural Asset, Drama and Play’(1999), ‘Traditional Culture and its symbols’(2001), ‘Folk Beliefs and Ritual shrines of Gyeonggi-do Province(2002), and ‘Discovery of Pigs’(2007).

The NFMK has been serving the Virtual Collection of Masterpieces, one of ASEMUS’s meaningful projects, which helps to understand other museums and cultures and promote the interexchange and cooperation through the collection among museums in Asia and Europe. Also, the NFMK took part in the ASEMUS Education Program in 2009 which was an exchange of educators between the National Folk Museum of Korea and the Museum Volkenkunde Leiden. He is very keen to play an active role in promoting mutual understanding and interexchange and building up the international friendship with museums in ASEMUS.

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