Introduction to East Asia

Welcome to East Asia. This region of the Asia Pacific features China, South and North Korea, Japan and Mongolia.

The East Asian region is particularly strong in traditional crafts. These techniques have evolved over millennia. They have been shaped by the legendary epochs such as the Tang dynasty in China, Joseon in Korea and the Heian period in Japan.

East Asian crafts reflect strengths in common crafts such as ceramics, jewellery, furniture and textiles. The austerity of Zen-inspired Japanese ceramics such as raku is contrasted by the ornately decorated Ming vases in China.

There are particular unique strengths in East Asian crafts. Lacquer is particularly strong and reflects a heightened sensibility associated with poetry. Embroidery also is highly developed, as is papercutting and stone carving.

We need to remember Mongolian craft, which shares some similarity with nomadic cultures of Central Asia, particularly in the use of felt such as the tent known as the ger.

We are pleased that East Asian crafts has such a proud place in world culture and look forward to fruitful exchanges with crafts in other regions.

Mr Zhou Zhengsheng, Executive President of China Art and Crafts Association, Vice-President WCC-APR East Asia Region