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Joseon Buncheong ware returns home in 19 years

Posted September. 13, 2017 08:11,   

Updated September. 13, 2017 08:58

A Buncheong ware of the Joseon Dynasty has returned home in 19 years, after smugglers sent it to Japan in 1998.

The Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation said Tuesday, "The Buncheong ware of Lee Seon-Jae, a high ranking government official in early Joseon Dynasty, has been donated by a Japanese and delivered to the Korean National Museum.” Under King Sejong, Lee altered the Goryeo history and published Taejong Chronicles, serving as high ranking officials such as Gangwon Province observer, vice minister and government scholar.

At the inscription engraved with 248 letters, his life, family relations and government posts are included. Lee's death date is uncertain as his descendants were involved in the some conspiracy case, but the returned Buncheong ware would allow understanding of accurate year and family relations.

According to prosecutors' investigations, Korean smugglers excavated the Buncheong ware in Gwangju and sent it out illegally through Gimpo Airport in Seoul in June 1998. As an appraiser working at Gimhae Airport in Busan blocked the transfer of the tomb in May the same year, a piece of paper, which was copied 19 years ago, has been decisively helpful in returning the ancient ware. The copy has been used as evidence proving that the smuggled ware is a cultural heritage, when the Korean heritage agency met the Japanese to persuade him to donate it

Sang-Un Kim sukim@donga.com