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Oldest ‘Taegeukgi’ to be displayed at National Museum of Korea

Oldest ‘Taegeukgi’ to be displayed at National Museum of Korea

Posted February. 23, 2021 07:34,   

Updated February. 23, 2021 07:34


The oldest national flag of South Korea currently in the country, the "Denny" version of the Taegeukgi, will be displayed at the National Museum of Korea in celebration of the country’s Independence Day on March 1. It will be available for public viewing from February 23 to March 8.

The Taegeukgi was presented by Joseon King Gojong to Owen Denny, an American consul who served as his diplomatic adviser, in 1890. Denny criticized the Qing dynasty’s wrongful interference in the Korean Empire’s domestic affairs after he was appointed as a diplomatic adviser of the empire upon the recommendation by Li Hongzhang of the Qing dynasty in 1886. As a result of the Qing dynasty’s discontent, he was dismissed in 1890 and returned to his home country. The flag was King Gojong’s gift to him upon his return.

The flag measuring 2.6 meters in width and 1.8 m in height features the typical taegeukgi pattern made with red and blue fabric. The four sets of three bars surrounding a circle in the middle are identical to the current version, except they are blue, rather than black. Denny’s descendent William Ralston donated the flag to the South Korean government in 1981.

The oldest existing Taegeukgi is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the U.S. It was the flag obtained and taken to the U.S. by an American diplomatic minister in 1884.

Sang-Un Kim sukim@donga.com