As gold was once a symbol of eternity, beauty, and authority, gold leaf was often incorporated into the apparel of Korea’s royal families to mark their authority and illustrate their aspirations for national prosperity. Perhaps no place preserves this traditional art better than the gold leaf imprinting workshop Kum Bak Yeon
. This imprinting business has been around since 1861, when it was founded by Wanhyeong Kim, who imprinted golden embroidery onto the clothing and furniture of King Cheoljong (1849-1863) of the Joseon Dynasty
. Since then, it has been passed down through the generations. Subsequent owners have included Wonsun Kim, who worked as the imperial golf leaf decorator for the state funeral of the Empress Myeongseong, Gyeongyong Kim, who served the last imperial family
of the Korean Empire, and Deokhwan Kim, who is the holder of these important, intangible cultural assets. Here, visitors can see each step of the imprinting process with full explanations and, if they have a reservation, can try it out for themselves.