Wedding Cultures of Southeast Asia on Exhibit in Korea

Exhibition Poster © Korea Foundation

The exhibition, Celebrating the Beauty of Marriage, is being held from 7 February to 22 March in the Korea Foundation (KF) Gallery to show wedding cultures of ten ASEAN countries. It was first held in 2017, the year of ASEAN-ROK Cultural Exchange, to celebrate the inauguration of the ASEAN Culture House in Busan. This exhibition has been brought over to KF Gallery in Suha-dong, Seoul, welcoming new guests in 2018.

The ASEAN Culture House under the KF held the exhibition as the inaugural event (1 September to 3 December 2017) to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the ASEAN and the year of ASEAN-ROK Cultural Exchange.

The term hwa-hon, which is a part of the Korean title of the exhibition, is an honorific expression of other couple’s beautiful marriage. It also signifies the responsibility of marriage between two people who hold different values to make a family together based on trust and love against an uncertain future.

Under the theme of marriage, this year’s exhibition hopes to help strengthen relations between Korea and ASEAN countries. It shows cultural networks between Korea and ASEAN countries in a world of cultural convergence, going beyond visualizing each country’s unique wedding culture.

Visitors can view more than three hundred items on display, including traditional attires and ornaments used in wedding ceremonies in Southeast Asia. Under three different themes, various items such as the wedding attire of Queen of Yogyakarta (Indonesia) and wedding bed of Malaysia are displayed. Rather than dividing sessions by country, to highlight cultural networks between Korea and ASEAN countries, the exhibition is composed of three parts: the Narrative of Marriage (Hon-dam), the Ritual of Marriage (Hol-lyeh), and the Relationship of Marriage (Hon-in).

The exhibition opens with Hon-dam, which displays typography design based on proverbs on wedding from different countries, written marital vows, certificates, personal letters, wedding invitations, animation, etc. The second section, Hol-lyeh, shows traditional wedding attire and personal ornaments, marriage dowries of each country, symbolic marital objects, text and multi-media installations, textile work installations, and a compilation video of weddings. The last section, Hon-in, provides visitors with the opportunity to ponder on the meaning of marriage through a display of photos and videos, poems, and text presentations.

This exhibition was made possible with generous donations and loans from Southeast Asian countries, and contributions from multiple institutions, including ICHCAP. For inquiries about the exhibition, please visit the KF website or send an e-mail to