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Opening ceremony of the exhibition "Russian Ambassador to Korea: Karl Weber and His Collections"


On November 12, in the Round Hall of the Kunstkamera building the exhibition "Russian Ambassador to Korea: Karl Weber and His Collections" opened - one of the most anticipated and large-scale exhibition projects of the Museum this year. The temporary exhibition is dedicated to the diplomat, the first Russian Charge d'Affaires to Korea Karl Weber (1841 - 1910), whose signature is on the first official agreements between Russia and Korea. Karl Weber witnessed a difficult and dramatic period in the history of Korea, and the years when he served in Seoul are called the period of "unprecedented rapprochement" between the countries. In 1896, fearing political conspiracies from Japan, king Gojong - the future first Emperor of Korea - ruled the country for a whole year from the Russian mission in Seoul.

Opening the exhibition, the director of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography Andrei Golovnev said:

“The exhibition is dedicated, in a broad sense, to the anniversary of Russian-Korean diplomatic relations. And at the same time - a half-forgotten, or rather, not advertised episode in the history of our countries, that of course needs a literary, cinematic and museum presentation”.

The opening ceremony of the exhibition was attended by the Consul General of the Republic of Korea in St. Petersburg, Mr. Kwon Dong Sok. In his welcoming speech, he also emphasized the importance of the diplomatic activities of Karl Weber:

“He was the first to lend a helping hand to Emperor Gojong at the end of the 19th century — during the most difficult period for Korea. "A friend in need is a friend indeed" is a proverb that then defined the relations between our countries. From the collection of personal belongings of Karl Weber we can see how much Emperor Gojong and Queen Min trusted and appreciated the Russian envoy. It is of great value that today we can see the gifts of the emperor and the queen to the diplomat, his various personal belongings that all were carefully preserved at the Kunstkamera."

Objects collected by Karl Weber and preserved in the repository of Kunstkamera are displayed in the showcases. During the curator’s tour, Polina Rud, scientific consultant of the exhibition and junior researcher of the Department of East and Southeast Asia gave a detailed account of these objects.

During the opening, the guests were introduced to the multimedia component of the exhibition project - 4 films telling about the activities of Karl Weber in Korea and the objects that he assembled. The creation of the multimedia system was supported by the Korea Foundation.

The exhibition will be open till the end of February 2021.