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A Joseon royal relic returns home in 150 years

Posted February. 01, 2018 09:13,   

Updated February. 01, 2018 09:13


A Joseon royal relic assumed to be looted by the French military during the French campaign against Korea in 1866 was returned to Korea in about 150 years. A royal investiture book made of bamboo, created in 1819 for the designation of Crown Princess Hyomyeong, has been returned.

“After we confirmed that the royal investiture book appeared on a French auction in June last year, we launched a negotiation and finally brought back the property home on Jan. 20," the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation said at a press conference held at the National Palace Museum of Overseas Korea on Wednesday.

Academics believed that the relic had been burned during the French campaign against Korea, because though it was listed on the 1857 Oegyujanggak list of articles in Ganghwa Island, the book was not included in the list of looted items that the French had left behind.

However, the book was revealed to the world in June last year when a French collector put the item for auction. The Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage negotiated with the collector, underwent legal examination and purchased the item at around 250 million won. The purchase was funded by Riot Games, a foreign online game company.

Won-Mo Yu onemore@donga.com