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Returned seal of Queen Munjeong found to be the original

Returned seal of Queen Munjeong found to be the original

Posted August. 28, 2017 08:10,   

Updated August. 28, 2017 08:40

The royal seal (or eobo) of King Deokjong of the Joseon Dynasty that was returned by the U.S. recently was turned out to be fake. Also, there is a growing debate over the production time of the seal of Queen Munjeong, golden royal seal of posthumous title.

Civic group called Cultural Assets Redemption Organization claimed on Sunday that the argument of the Cultural Heritage Administration that the seal was made again in 1554, the 9th year of King Myeongjong, due to the damage by a fire was wrong. The group also argued that the seal is original, which was made in 1547, the second year of King Myeongjong, according to Chronicle of Myeongjong.

Queen Munjeong, a Queen consort of Korea by marriage to King Jungjong and mother of King Myeongjong, received three eobo: golden royal seal of posthumous title in January 1547), of extension of posthumous title in September of the same year), and of bestowal of posthumous title in 1565. The two royal seals, except the one returned in July, have been exhibited at the National Palace Museum of Korea.

The issue here is the record indicating that the royal seal, which was known to be stored at the queen’s bedroom, was damaged by fire in 1553 and was reproduced in the following year. “It is logical to think that both were damaged by fire as royal seals were stored at king’s or queen’s bedrooms all together during their lifetime in general," the National Palace Museum said. "The Chronicle of Myeongjong was interpreted as such.”

Against this backdrop, the Cultural Assets Redemption Organization insisted that the chronicle did not indicate that seal of Queen Munjeong (golden royal seal of posthumous title) was destroyed by fire and the returned seal was the original piece.

Sang-Un Kim sukim@donga.com