Seoul is a city that is constantly changing. It’s rare to see a store that lasts over 10 years. Trends come and go and so do businesses.
However, one art supply store managed to last 110 years. Enter Guhasanbang, the first and oldest art supply store in Korea. Located in the old alley of Insadong, Seoul, the store was established in 1913. It specializes in supplies for traditional Korean / East Asian paintings. Since then, it has been the go-to store for many famous Korean artists.
The brushes of Guhasanbang were especially renowned. Even the Korean Emperors Gojong and Sunjong used the store’s brushes.
The store has since then passed on, three generations down to its current owner Hong Soohee. He has been running the store for 40 years.
Mr. Hong pays meticulous attention to assuring the quality of his brushes. He is also responsible for finding the right brushes for the right owner. Some people take years finding the right brush, and it’s his job to aid them along the way.
“Some of these items, you can’t buy with money. The right person has to show up.” He says with pride.
“All brushes and ‘muk’(the ink pad) also have the right match. It’s about harmony. Just like marriage.” As he speaks Mr. Hong hands us a pair of brush and mud for us to use. (You can get the 'Korean calligraphy starter kit' Mr.Hong handpicked for us at NAKD SEOUL)
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