Bangjja Yugi of history and tradition

Materials made from any copper alloy are Yugi. That may be bronze or brass or other metal mixtures. Yugi was produced in Persia from at least 3000 BCE, and mass production was developed by 600 BCE. India and China were intermediate bridges to bring Yugi to Korea by 1300 BCE.

However, the direct source of the technology in Korea was Karasuk, Siberia, not China. The Bronze age and the Iron age overlapped in Korea. In the period of the Three States (from 57 BCE to 668 CE), there were three nations which covered the Korean peninsula and a large part of current China. Baekje, one of the states, transferred the Yugi technology of refining and craftsmanship to Japan. In the Mulyung royal tomb of Baekje, Bangjja spoons and chopsticks were found. In the old Korean dynasty, the alloys used were from 90% to 97% copper and 3% to 10% tin. Korean bronze was well known, even in China.

During the years 918 to 1392 CE, and especially the 12th century, metal craft developed rapidly in the Korean peninsula, and Bangjja Yugi was always among the exports to Song Dynasty China.

Since there was no Bangjja Yugi manufacturing technology in the neighboring countries, Japan and China, the demand for Bangjja Yugi grew continuously.

In the Chosun (or Joseon) dynasty (1392-1910), the central government dispatched an employee who was a Bangjja technician (Yugijang) to each province, each major central residence, and even Daemado island, called Tsushima Island in Japanese, it is recorded Yugijang delivered Yugi and were paid with local product.

The alloy used came to be standardized at 78% copper and 22% tin. In modern times, the Japanese colonial government imposed delivery quotas of Yugi in preparation for war, and many people buried their Yugi to hide it. After Korea was liberated from Japan in 1945, the Yugi industry became active for a short time, but was held back by the Korean war. In the 1950s the Yugi industry came into full glory after the war. In the 1960s the Korean cooking fuel was changed from wooden charcoal to briquettes, which gives off carbon monoxide. This stained Yugi, and it was rarely seen for a while in households. New finishes now avoid the staining.

Recently, science has proven various positive functions of Bangjja Yugi such as sterilization of colon bacillus. This has drawn positive customer attention to Bangjja Yugi, and the uses of it have extended to musical instruments, items for memorial services, dinner tableware, and general merchandise. Yugi traditional tableware has become well known in other countries through Korean TV dramas such as DaeJang Geum, Herjun and several others. It is having another period of glory days.