Jeju’s Bonte Museum offers art in ‘original form’

An important note on Jeju’s updated bus system and this blog post

From August 2017, Jeju Island implemented a new city and intercity bus system. It increased the number of buses in service, while simplifying the routes, fees and numbering system.

Consequently, the contents of this previously published blog post may have changed. We therefore would kindly request that you consult this page for new bus maps in English on,  and this page on our blog for a chart of the old and new bus route numbers.

If you read Korean, then the province’s official bus system website is a useful and up-to-date resource. We hope you’ll enjoy your travels on Jeju Island!

dsc09376 dsc09380Nestled along the 1115 Road in Seogwipo is a remarkable museum, the first in Korea to be designed by the Pritzker prize winning architect Tadao Ando.

The Bonte Museum, which opened in 2012, displays works of art and exhibitions in keeping with its namesake: “Bonte” literally means “original form” in Korean. The main collection was put together by the museum’s founder over the course of 30 years.

Hanbok and other household items from the Joseon era.
Artwork by Frank Stella

dsc09394In keeping with the concept of the museum itself — offering up a space for art exhibitions and installations that might not be de rigeur on Jeju — the building combines “tradition and modernity” which you can instantly see its use of exposed concrete and distressed wood.

There are four galleries, a garden, cafe and shop, as well as a music hall for educational programs and multimedia exhibits.

The first gallery exhibits a variety of traditional Korean handicrafts from needlework to furniture, while Gallery 2 displays modern artworks such as those by Paik Nam June.

Gallery 1

A baduk board with cover, circa the Joseon era
Decorative needlework for the ends of pillowcases

img_20161025_143916 img_20161025_144237 img_20161025_144635 dsc09369 dsc09370 dsc09368Gallery 2

img_20161025_150048 dsc09385 dsc09386 dsc09392Next door in Gallery 3 are two works by avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, including her “Infinity Mirrored Room” and “Pumpkin”. Yayoi’s last full exhibition in the region came to Jeju by way of the Bonte a few years back.

Gallery 3

Pumpkin, by Yayoi Yusama
‘Infinity mirrored room’ by Yayoi Kusama

dsc09403 And in Gallery 4, there are currently an interesting collection of small and medium sized wood sculptures related to Korean traditional funeral rites.

Gallery 4

img_20161025_152227 img_20161025_152215 img_20161025_152044 img_20161025_152013 dsc09412If you have an interest in well-executed, aesthetic architecture, idiosyncratic and thought provoking modern art, or the traditional arts and handicrafts of Korea — or all three — the Bonte is an excellent choice for an afternoon outing.

Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: 380 Sangcheon-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si

How to get there: Unfortunately due to its remote location, it is very difficult to get to the Bonte Museum by bus. But if you’d like to try, if you depart Jeju City Intercity Bus Terminal on bus 782 and get off at the Sangchang Health Center stop, then catch local bus 940 and get off at the Sangcheon-ri stop and walk 1 kilometer, you will arrive there in an hour and a half or so.


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