The Diamond Mountains - Museum Volkenkunde
On now until 21 January 2019

The Diamond Mountains

An extraordinary Korean area...

The Diamond Mountains, Geumgangsan, are in eastern Korea, just to the north of what is now the border between North and South Korea. With its fantastic rock formations, waterfalls and temples, this mountainous region has come to be regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Korea.

Since time immemorial, the mountains have attracted travellers and have been a popular subject for painters and poets.

Throughout the centuries, these mountains have had a variety of religious and political identities. They were for instance an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, and were also popular with Confucian scholars. After the division of Korea the mountains became inaccessible to South Koreans, and came to symbolise a divided nation. In the late 1990s this changed thanks to Kim Dae-jung’s “Sunshine Policy”, and the Diamond Mountains came to symbolise reunification, for both North and South Koreans. The story of the Diamond Mountains illustrates the fact that no place has a fixed identity, but that it can shift as changes occur in society.