Go to contents

Committee Is Split On Treasure Change

Posted November. 11, 2005 07:51,   


The government is trying to replace Sungryemun (Namdaemun) with something else as National Treasure No.1, but the idea does not seem to appeal to those who have power.

It turns out that many members of the national treasure designation division of the Cultural Properties Committee disagree with the idea.

According to a phone survey by Dong-A Ilbo on members of the division, seven said no to the replacement, while only two (including one who said it could be considered) said yes. Five withheld their opinions.

Three fourths of those who clearly stated their position are against the idea, foretelling a rocky road ahead for the re-designation. National treasure designations should be approved by a majority of the quorum, which consists of a majority of the members.

“The number given to the national treasures has nothing to do with their values, so it is unnecessary to change the No. 1 treasure designation,” said one of the members who said no. Another suggested removing the numbering system altogether in designating national treasures, instead of changing it.

On the other hand, those who are for the replacement argued that the No. 1 treasure needs to be replaced because it is representative of Korea, and added no confusion would be engendered as the other treasures would remain unchanged. One of them suggested the new No. 1 treasure be Hunmin Jeongeum, the first manuscript of the Korean alphabet.

Upon the request from the Cultural Properties Administration, the division will have a meeting to discuss the issue at 3:00 p.m. November 14, at the National Palace Museum of Korea in Gyeongbok Palace in downtown Seoul.

Kwawg-Pyo Lee kplee@donga.com