Known as pungsu in Korean, feng shui was transmitted from China into Korean culture during the Unified Silla Dynasty (668-935). The system of aesthetics taught that proper placement of the home in relation to natural elements would facilitate a flow of positive energy through space and ensure well-being and prosperity.
Pungsu also indicated places of vulnerability within the home. Houses were laid out with entry gates to the east, an auspicious direction. The main gate, as both the place where positive energy was drawn into the home, and evil spirits and thieves kept out, was guarded as the most important space for protecting the home. Hence in Korea — especially during the Joseon Dynasty — locks had both an important functional and symbolic role as a central feature of gates.
"Locks of Korea," on show till Nov. 20 at The Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo, features a fantastic collection of 210 locks and charms, most of which date to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). On loan from the Swetdae Museum in Seoul and shown for the first time outside of Korea, the collection includes beautifully crafted pieces in metal and wood done in myriad shapes: dragons, turtles, butterflies, fish, bats and swallows.