Joseon Palaces, National Palace Museum of Korea

The Joseon Palaces functioned as the royal residences, and also as the seat of government. Thus, the location for the capital and palaces of the newly founded Joseon Dynasty was specifically chosen, to erase the influence of the previous Goryeo Dynasty and ensure the prosperity of the nation, based on fengshui geomancy. Hanyang, the capital of the Joseon Dynasty, was surrounded by four mountains in each of the cardinal directions. In the capital, Gyeongbokgung was built as the central court, being backed by the northern mountain. The most important ritual sites of the Joseon Dynasty such as Jongmyo (Royal Ancestral Shrine) and Sajik (Altars of the Earth and Grain Deities) were situated to the east and west of Gyeongbokgung respectively. The four other palaces in the capital were constructed as detached palaces in different periods: Changdeokgung in 1405, Changgyeonggung in 1484, Gyeongdeokgung (currently Gyeonghuigung) in 1622, and Gyeongungung (currently Deoksugung) in 1897.

Main Artifacts

Ceiling Decortaion with Twin-Dragons
The ceiling directly above the seat of the king in the main hall of the palace or a royal office featured a decorative panel with twin dragons or phoenixes to emphasize the dignity and authority of the king. This particular piece was the ceiling decoration in a hall, which was probably demolished and can therefore not be traced.

Bronze Dragon to Guard against Fire from Gyeonhoeru pond
A bronze dragon was discovered in the bottom of the pond below Gyeonghoeru Pavilion when it was drained for cleaning in November, 1997. Gyeonghoe Pavilion was a special venue at the court where great banquets were held to receive foreign envoys. The pavilion had burnt down during the Japanese Invasion in 1592, and was rebuilt in 1867, the 4th year of the reign of Emperor Gojong. According to a record on Gyeonghoe Pavilion, its architectural design adopted the principle of the Yijing (Book of Changes) to provide protection from fire. For the same purpose, two bronze dragons were buried in the northern bed of the pond.

Records of the Royal Palaces
This is a record about the palaces in Joseon. The original version was published in King Sukjong’s reign (r. 1674~1720). Enlarged version of the original one during King Heonjong’s reign (r. 1834~1849) and complied version from the reign of King Sunjong(r. 1907~1910) are extant. The location of the different buildings and the important political and cultural events that took place in each palace are recorded in detail.

Bukgwoldohyeong (Drawing Plan of the Northern Palace)
Bukgwoldohyeong is a ground plan of the layout of Gyeongbokgung Palace drawn on a scale of 1:200. The names of each building and its use were written in black ink on the red colored grid lines spaced at 10-11 mm intervals. Bukgwoldohyeong is a major evidential source for the restoration of Gyeongbokgung Palace since it depicts the palace before being demolished by the Japanese Government-General of Korea.

Related Post

Silver Talismans to Guard against Fire with Chinese Characters for Water
These five hexagonal silver plates were found along with the “Architectural Record of Reconstruction of the Main Hall of Gyeongbokgung Palace.” They were placed for the purpose of protecting the building from fire. Chinese characters for water were carved on each corner of the plates. Once they are joined together, they form another Chinese character which means broad expanse of water.

The Collection of Impromptu Poems by King Jeongjo and his Subjects
This is the scroll of the poems written by King Jeongjo and his subjects while appreciating flowers and fishing around Ongnyucheon (玉流川) Stream in the rear garden of Changdeokgung Palace.

National Palace Museum of Korea
The National Palace Museum of Korea houses a magnificent collection of art and objects from the palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, representing the majesty and dignity of the 500-year history of the Joseon Dynasty. The Museum seeks to broaden public knowledge of the artistic and cultural legacy of the Joseon Dynasty by being active in research, exhibitions, and educational programs.

The National Palace Museum of Korea promotes and preserves the culture of the Joseon royal and Korean imperial court by collecting, conserving, researching and exhibiting the related relics and artifacts. You can see the permanent exhibitions by diverse subjects and special exhibitions based on in-depth stories related to the Joseon royal and Korean imperial court with multifarious display methods. Various learning programs and cultural events are available in the museum.

The museum also plays its role as a culturally core place within Gyeongbokgung Palace district in downtown Seoul. The Museum will stand as the place where the people can view the splendid royal treasures and artifacts, and be a leading institution for increasing the cultural wealth of Korea.