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A Grid of Antique Drawers in Namseong Market

In Seoul’s historic Namseong Market (남성시장), you’ll find traditional foods, vegetable stalls, and even live turtles. It can be a fascinating and often chaotic whirlwind of noise, images and impressions.

On a visit to one of the market’s oldest traditional Korean medicine clinics, I spotted this timeworn grid of gorgeous antique drawers. They housed all manner of herbs, tinctures and powders within their ancient depths.


I wondered just how long they’d sat waiting in that exquisite cabinet, longing to be mixed into a healing potion for some needy customer.


To get to Namseong Market: go to Chongshin University/Isu Station on Line 4, make a u-turn out of Exit 14 and turn right.

Have you visited any traditional markets in the world? What was your favourite part of it?

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’ll have to check this place out.

    September 22, 2015
    • Some of the traditional markets in Seoul are so big! This is a great one to explore for a few hours, without getting overwhelmed. 🙂

      September 23, 2015
  2. Wonderful choice!

    September 22, 2015
  3. This might be my favorite grid so far! I really love this – such great texture and color.

    September 22, 2015
    • These drawers are gorgeous, aren’t they? I’m not a big antiques person, but I would love to have these sitting in my house somewhere! 🙂

      September 23, 2015
  4. Nice shots for this challenge, Shelley!

    September 24, 2015
  5. The cabinet drawers make a great interpretation for this week’s photo challenge.

    September 24, 2015
    • Thank you very much Allen! Those drawers are gorgeous, aren’t they? 🙂

      September 25, 2015
      • Yes they are. Reminds me to the cabinets found in traditional Chinese pharmacies.

        September 25, 2015
        • Actually, the writing on these drawers is Chinese, so I think they must’ve been around for a very, very long time! Maybe even from before Korea had it’s own written language…

          September 25, 2015
          • Yes, the characters are Chinese and I believe they are traditional not simplified. The action of the pharmacist,appears to be doling out traditional medicine on paper that is folded into an envelope that can be opened when someone needs to take it.

            September 25, 2015
            • Haha, yes!! The medicine was actually being doled out for my husband, who was having some stomach troubles!! 🙂

              September 25, 2015
  6. I absolutely love visiting markets! Especially when they have so much history, like this one.

    September 25, 2015
    • Markets are such a great way to get a sense of a country’s daily life. I also love wandering around them when traveling, even though I don’t usually buy anything. 🙂

      September 30, 2015
  7. Sha #

    Those are really beautiful drawers, just look at all the details and scratches! Love it! 🙂

    September 29, 2015
    • Gorgeous, aren’t they? They must’ve been around for a very, very long time…

      September 30, 2015
      • Sha #

        I LOVE old stuff like these!! 🙂

        October 5, 2015

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