Here are some books about some aspect of Korea that I enjoyed and can recommend to those interested.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is the least bit interested in Korean folk art because the book covers a broad spectrum of art styles, is beautifully illustrated, and written in clear, easy to understand English.
This book, in English, would be called something like “Our Temple’s Interesting Wall Painting Stories”. It’s completely written in Korean, and so you’ll need to have at least an intermediate level of Korean reading skills to enjoy it. It contains a number of short stories that explain what is going on in the paintings you often encounter at Korean temples. I’ve begun translating the stories and putting them in the Buddhism category for this blog. It’s books like this one, that really speak to my interests, that make studying Korean so worthwhile.
This is the most comprehensive book about Korea’s mountain spirit tradition I have seen. It’s a big coffee table style book packed full of clear photographs of actual mountain spirit paintings from across Korea taken by David A Mason over his many years on the peninsula. The book is excellently organized and very readable overall as Mr. Mason explains quite well the many details that such paintings contain. If you are like me and are interested in the religious iconography of Korea, you will really enjoy this book.
I’m happy to share with you this book about the deep meanings of Korean temple art and decorations. I had been wanting a book like this for some time. It covers just about everything. The only drawbacks to this book are the occasional grammatical errors, and the reference to ancient books, people, or sources from India, where Buddhism began, or China or even ancient Korea. I’m not an expert, so I just skimmed over the short parts that were too academic for me. Still, I was able to learn a great deal from this book and will likely use it as a reference in the future as I try to understand more of what I see on my visits to Korean temples.
This book is the most worn out book in my collection. It has great illustrations and useful information for identifying birds in Korea. Without this book, I cannot call myself a bird enthusiast. If you want to know the name of the birds you see in Korea, this is the book you need to have. If I could, I would hug the authors for making it.