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Haenyeo: Korea's Female Diving Culture

A set of captivating images by photographer Hyung S Kim captures the daily life of South Korea's haenyeo women

A new photographic collection depicts the life of the haenyeo women - South Korea's female freedivers who harvest seafood off Jeju Island and whose tradition dates back to 1105.

The works by photographer Hyung S Kim tells of the life of these women whose career as a haenyeo traditionally begins at the age of 15 or 16 when they train in swimming and muljil, the underwater harvest work.

Equipped with a bitchang, a metal tool to pick up abalones attached to the rocks and a kakuri to pick up sea products between the cracks, turn over and move the rocks and pull themselves underwater, the haenyeo women often work until the age of 60 or even older. 

Hyung S Kim became fascinated with the practice and the women's historical background in 2012 when he moved to Jeju Island to document their culture. His captivating images were recently featured in an exhibition at the Korean Cultural Service New York (KCSNY).

The Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea has been pushing to get haenyeo registered by the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2013.

 

 

 

 Please visit the website of the Haenyeo Museum in Korea for more information: http://www.haenyeo.go.kr/english/?sso=okdocument_srl=554122 

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