BANGJJA
'방짜'(Bangjja)

 
Bangjja is a Korean form of hand-forged brassware, which tends to be created in the Napcheong northern region in the country’s north. The material for bangjja is a specific blend of 78% copper and 22% zinc, which is melted together and then hammered into shape while still hot and malleable. The more the metal is pounded the more robust it becomes making for a highly durable material perfect for use in tableware. 

Because of its unique composition, bangjja is known to be self-sterilising and the way it conducts heat means it can keep hot food hot and cold food cold for long periods. Bangjja however, is not only used in tableware, it is also applied in the creation of a Korean traditional instrument called jong (a type of a gong). The jong, hand-forged by bangjja artisans, can be customised to make different tones through different shapes and thicknesses of the instrument’s design. This hand-made process is seen as a work of art and a traditional custom in Korea that continues to be coveted.

Bangjja brassware is produced using techniques that have been handed down over thousands of years. These products are so hardy that even pieces made centuries ago are rarely bent or broken. Today, Korean people are increasingly recognising the benefits of brass tableware, but most products on the market tend to be machine-made using a process called jumul. While Bangjja brassware requires a more labour intensive and expensive process to make is is better product that is longer-lasting and the rare craft behind it should not be forgotten.
1. Copper and zinc are melted together at a temperature of 1200 degrees.
2. The melted substance is poured into plate frames.
3. Nepimjil – is the process where a group of artisans gather together and hammer the hot plates in unison to make them thinner.
4. The process of layering the thin hammered plates and shaping them into a bowl is woogimjil.
1. Copper and zinc are melted together at a temperature of 1200 degrees.
2. The melted substance is poured into plate frames.
3. Nepimjil – is the process where a group of artisans gather together and hammer the hot plates in unison to make them thinner.
4. The process of layering the thin hammered plates and shaping them into a bowl is woogimjil.
5. Dakchimjil is the next step that once again requires artisans to gather together and hammer and stretch the metal into shape.
6. The still-hot metal is then dipped in cold water, increasing the hardness of bangjja without making it brittle.
7. After being dipped in water the form is lost and byerumjil is the process of re-hammering the metal into its final form.
8. A machine is used to remove uneven imperfections and smoothen and polish the surface of bangjja. This process is called gajil.
5. Dakchimjil is the next step that once again requires artisans to gather together and hammer and stretch the metal into shape.
6. The still-hot metal is then dipped in cold water, increasing the hardness of bangjja without making it brittle.
7. After being dipped in water the form is lost and byerumjil is the process of re-hammering the metal into its final form.
8. A machine is used to remove uneven imperfections and smoothen and polish the surface of bangjja. This process is called gajil.
9. Finished product - jong, a traditional Korean bell instrument.
10. Soban – a table for one made from the versatile material that is bangjja.
9. Finished product - jong, a traditional Korean bell instrument.
10. Soban – a table for one made from the versatile material that is bangjja.

© Images provided by
– Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation
– Cultural Heritage Administration


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