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Amb. Torzsa Hosts
First-Ever Hungarian Lace Exhibition in Seoul
Scores of Antique Laces on Show at Samsung-Raemian
By Oxana Davydenko
Staff Reporter
Amb. Istvan Torzsa of Hungary at the grand opening of the Halas lace exhibition Feb. 1, 2005

Amb. Istvan Torzsa of Hungary opened "The Hungarian Antique Lace Exhibition" in the Sumsung Raemian Cultural Center downtown Seoul Feb. 1, 2005. The Hungarian lace exhibition, which runs until Feb. 18, 2005, is sponsored by Samsung Construction Co.

The exhibition dubbed as "100 Years Old Halas Lace" features scores of antique laces of Halas, birthplace of Hungarian laces. Laces are one of Hungary's national cultural treasures.

The fist-ever exhibition of Hungarian laces in Seoul is a part of events organized by Hungarian Ministry and its embassy to Seoul to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the establishment of South Korean-Hungarian diplomatic ties.

Amb. Istvan Torzsa of Hungary (left), Director Kim Hong-Nam of the National Folk Museum of Korea (center), and Hungarian Ambassadress Katalin Torzsa.

"The current displays have already been exhibited in dozens of countries, including Iran, Syria, Greece, Romania, France, Sweden, the United States, and others," Ms. Katalin Torzsa, the wife of Hungarian ambassador said. "And it has just arrived from Beijing."

There were an estimated 100 Korean and foreign guests attending the grand opening of the exhibition, including foreign diplomats and other prominent figures. Among the diplomats in attendance were Ambs. Alfredo F. Ungo of El Salvador, Jaafar Alj Hakim of Morocco, Pavel Hrmo of Slovakia, Moosa Hamdan Al Taee of Oman, Valeriu Arteni of Romania, Othman Jerandi of Tunisia.

"This is a unique and exquisite lace, and Hungarians may be proud of their national craftsmanship. In Korean applied art we have soft furnishings, but nothing similar to this magnificent one," Director Kim Hong-Nam of the National Folk Museum of Korea told The Seoul Times.

The visitors to the Hungarian Halas lace exhibition

History of the Halas laces date back 100 years in southern Hungary, and its style is rooted in the country's original folk art.

The origin of Halas lace began from the fortuitous meeting of Arpad Dekani, an art teacher, and Maria Markovits, a sewing specialist, in the town of Kiskunhalas. This meeting resulted in the creation of what is an artwork virtually unique to Hungary, sewn Halas lace.

The technique of sewn lace is well known among lace makers. The wide variety of stitches, the delicacy of the fine linen thread, and the effect created by the appropriate selection of the different stitches used between the strong contour lines of the motifs all go to make up the "Halas magic."

The authentic technique allows the designer to realize any pattern, and so Halas lace has always been able to respond to different stylistic trends.

"Julianna Cloth" made in 1934. Halas Lace is called "Hungarian Jewel."

Halas lace was regularly presented as a gift to royalty and visiting heads of state. A fine example of Halas lace was presented to King Charles IV and Queen Zita of Hungary on the occasion of their coronation; pieces have also been presented as gifts to Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, Alice Roosevelt, daughter of the president of the United States, Pope John Paul II, and Princess Hitachi of Japan. British aristocrats and United States Senate have also built up impressive collections of this fine lace.

It is astonishing that the hand-made making of Halas lace takes such a long time, often thousands of hours for a single piece. For example, the making of "Julianna Cloth," weighing only 34 grams, required 3,900 hours to complete.

"These exhibits are a real treasure! The patterns of Hungarian lace handkerchiefs, collars, and cuffs made a great impression on me," exulted Ms. Arlinda Frota, wife of Portuguese ambassador in Seoul.

Amb. Jaafar Alj Hakim of Morocco and Portugal Ambassadress Arlinda Frota talk about hand-made at the Hungarian lace exhibition.

During the exhibition, there was put up on the wall information about prominent Hungarian citizens of different times — the biographies and achievements of distinguished physicists, chemists, architects, and physicians.

For its modest national or economic status Hungary has produced a large number of Nobel Prize laureates — 13 people in all.

The exhibition at the Samsung Raemian Cultural Center is open to anybody free to charge. For more information call the Hungarian Embassy in Seoul at 02-792-2105.

Related photos

Amb. Pavel Hrmo of Slavakia at Hungarian lace exhibition
Amb. Alfredo Francisco Ungo of El Salvador (left), Ambassadress Katalin Torzsa of Hungary (second from the left), Ambassadress Lanny Widjaja Kubheka of South Africa, and Amb. Sydney Bafana Kubheka of South Africa at the Halas lace exhibition.
Amb. Othman Jerandi of Tunisia (left), Amb. Valeriu Arteni of Romania (right) at the Hungarian lace exhibition

Other Articles by Oxana Davydenko
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    Canada-Korea Symposium Planned in Toronto
    Amb. Jerandi Hosts Reception for Women
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Ms. Oxana Davydenko serves as staff reporter for The Seoul Times. She covers foreign embassies in Seoul with a particular focus on Russia, and Eastern European embassies. Davydenko also covers international cultural events including business. Previously she worked as a journalist for Kommersant business daily in Russia. She majored in journalism at the Voronezh State University.





  Other Articles by Oxana Davydenko
Amb. Umana’s Daughter Weds Rontgen
Egyptian Soccer Team Beats Korean Team 1- 0
EKF Helps Needy, Estranged Kids
Australia Showed It All on Australia Day
S. Korea, Israel Sign R&D Accord
Canada-Korea Symposium Planned in Toronto
Amb. Jerandi Hosts Reception for Women
"Bulgaria Eager for Economic Cooperation"
It's Vacation Time for Most Embassies
SAIT Hosts X-Mas Party for Alien Scientists
"South Korea to Import Algerian Wine"
Malaysia Hosts Party on Han River Boat
"SIFF 2004" Held Successfully in Seoul

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