Seoul (AsiaNews) - In celebration of his historic visit to Korea, before his departure for Rome a group of 7 traditional painters gifted the Pope a portrait painted according to traditional Korean techniques (pictured). The artists included Jo Yong-jin, a former professor of art history at the Seoul National University, who worked together with others for more than 5 months on the project.
The technique of the painting's composition is called Baechae: the colors are applied on hanji, a hand-made paper and derived from the bark of mulberry wood. In this case, however, the portrait of the Pope was painted on silk to prevent damage to the work during the flight.
The artists made two copies, along with the portrait: the original was given to Francis after the mass for peace and reconciliation in Myeongdong, while others will be sent to the Seosomun Martyrs Shrine in the center of Seoul. The Pope is wearing white in this portrait not only as a sign of his ministry, but also - Jo says - "because during the Joseon period this was the color of frugality and simplicity". (VFP)