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Seals excavated from Seochon likely to be used by Joseon queens

Seals excavated from Seochon likely to be used by Joseon queens

Posted April. 18, 2018 07:52,   

Updated April. 18, 2018 07:52


“The Naegyoin (Queen’s seal) excavated from Seochon is highly likely to be used by Empress Myeongseong.”

An analysis found that the owners of two seals (Naegyoin) excavated recently from Seochon areas, west of Gyeongbok Palace, appear to be the queens from the King Heonjong to King Gojong era of the Joseon Dynasty.

“The Naegyoin was handed down from queen to queen during the Joseon Dynasty. It is not likely they made a new stamp for a new queen,” said Sohn Hwan-il, senior researcher at the Paintings and Writings Research Institute of Daejeon University. Sohn is an expert in the field who has studied more than 1,500 royal seals.

The design of the handle of the Naegyoin and its calligraphy are almost similar to the ones in Boinbushinchongsu published between 1900 and 1907, Sohn says. Boinbushinchongsu is a book that explains about the seals of the royal family and administrative offices of the Korean Empire. The design of the Naegyoin depicted in the book is likely to be drawn referencing the very Naegyoin excavated from Seochon.

The fact that the shape of the excavated Naegyoins are rougher than the two Naegyoins owned by the National Palace Museum of Korea, which are presumed to be from the Korean Empires period, suggests that they were used before the proclamation of the Korean Empire in 1897.

The calligraphic style used for the Naegyoin is called Sojeon. The Naegyoin depicted in the book “Myeongryegungbonghachaek,” which describes the goods used in Myeongrye Palace, also used Sojeon but the shape of the seal is different. “Sojeon came in from the late 18th century to 19th century for seals. Further study is necessary but those Naegyoins appear to have been used by the queens from the King Heonjong era to the 1880s,” Sohn added.

The Cultural Heritage Administration, which excavated the Naegyoin, is investigating if government officials of Gungnaebu lived near the excavation site. The seals of the royal family were managed by Gungnaebu in the late Joseon Dynasty.

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com