Han Ki-ho practices ‘hwagak’ (화각), a unique Korean craft using transparent sheets of ox horn, and has sought to establish a new craft based on this tradition. Attracted by the beauty and rarity of ‘hwagak’ objects, the artist inherited the tradition from his father and is attempting to introduce it to the wider world.
‘Hwagak’ begins by flattening baked ox horn to create transparent fan-shaped plates. These are polished thousands of times to produce sheets of ox horn less than 0.5 millimetres thick. The patterns painted on the reverse side in mineral pigments can be seen gleaming from the front as light passes though the sheet. It is a meticulous process requiring considerable effort and time. It usually takes around five months to complete a ‘hwagak’ piece.