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“Unsettled Gwanghwamun Board Replacement”

Posted February. 15, 2005 22:39,   


Despite much concern, the Cultural Heritage Administration decided to proceed with the plan to replace the board of the Gwanghwamun.

For the selection of the new board, it decided to follow the Cultural Properties Commission’s decision.

The selection under the investigation of the Cultural Heritage Administration for the new board are: △a pressman at the time of Gwanghwamun construction before the Japanese colonialism, Yim Tae-young’s writing △current calligrapher Yeocho, Kim Eung-hyun’s writing △Kap-in’s writing, the best block letter of Joseon Dynasty (in 1434) △ King Jungjo’s writing △noted calligrapher, Sukbong, Hanho’s writing △ Chusa Kim Jung-hee’s writing △Toigye, Lee Hwang’s writing.

The administrator of the Cultural Heritage Administration, Yoo Hong-jun, said at the press conference held in the Korea House on February 15 that the administration is currently restoring the Yim Tae-young’s selection board, using the picture of the Gwanghwamun in the 1910s.

The Cultural Heritage Administration confirmed the outline of the selection after restoring the part of the board with digital technology, using the original glass picture that seems to have been taken in 1916 and is now in the possession of the National Museum of Korea. The administration expects that it can identify a clearer selection in two months time.

Administrator Yoo commented that he heard there was a glass film of the Kwanhwamun picture taken in 1920 at Tokyo University and if the glass film is found, the administration can completely restore the writing. He also added saying, “He and the administration will ask for help from Tokyo University, which now has 100,000 films taken under the Japanese colonialism, and will dispatch an administration official to find the films.”

He further stated, “As the principle in the restoration of cultural properties lies in the complete restoration, he hopes more on the restoration through digital reading (interpretation). If it takes long, the administration will perfectly restore the writing, even if it fails to finish the job until the 60th anniversary of the Korean Independence Day.”

He also opened a diary of the Kyoungbokgung construction in 1865, the so-called “Gyeongbok Palace Construction Diary” to the public. The diary says that Yim-Tae young, a drill master and a general director of the Kyoungbokgung construction, wrote the board of the Gwanghwamun.

So far, an excellent penman of the latter part of Joseon Dynasty, Jung Hak-kyo, was known to have written the board at the time of the Gyeongbok Palace construction.

The Cultural Heritage Administration originally planed to establish the Cultural Properties Commission in March to settle the replacement of the board of the Gwanghwamun. However, it is now said to be able to open the Cultural Properties Commission as early as May, due to its digital restoration work.

Chae-Hyun Kwon confetti@donga.com