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Missionaries of the 1890s celebrated 60th birthday in hanbok

Missionaries of the 1890s celebrated 60th birthday in hanbok

Posted February. 14, 2023 07:48,   

Updated February. 14, 2023 07:48


A photo album has been published featuring the appearance and daily life of missionaries, Buddhist monks, and temples during the Japanese colonial period.

The Seoul Museum of History recently published a photo album titled "100 Years Ago, Missionary Life in Seoul" that has selected 160 pieces from over 4,000 pieces of the "Moffett Korea Collection" stored at Princeton Theological Seminary. The Moffett Korea Collection was collected by missionary Samuel H. Moffett and his family and colleagues during their mission activities in Seoul during the Japanese colonial period. Although church researchers have introduced some parts of the collection, this is the first time that the diverse scenes of the 1890s Seoul and the lifestyle of the missionaries have been publicly revealed. In particular, the "Life in Seoul" section provides a vivid look at how the missionaries adapted to a foreign land after living there for 30 to 40 years. The missionaries celebrated their 60th birthday party in Korean style, with everyone wearing traditional Korean clothes, Hanbok. The album also includes significant photos from modern Korean history, including a photo of the "105-Man Incident" trial in which the Japanese Government-General of Korea arrested 105 independence activists in 1911.

The Academy of Buddhist Studies at Dongguk University recently published a book titled "Korean Buddhism in Modern Times: A Photographic Journey." The book features photos of temples from the late 19th century that reveal the changes in Buddhism in Korea as it sought to establish its own identity and break away from the influence of Japanese Buddhism. The book also includes images of Singyesa, a Korean Buddhist temple located in the Kumgang Mountains during the time of Japanese colonial rule, and a rock-carved seated Bodhisattva statue from the Okcheonam Hermitage was once close to Hongjecheon, Seoul.

Unfortunately, Singyesa was destroyed during the Korean War, except for the three-story stone pagoda in front of Taeung Hall, the temple's main prayer hall. However, following the Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000, North and South Korea worked together to restore the temple complex, and by 2004, 14 of its buildings had been restored. The book also showcases photos of prominent Buddhist monks who helped establish modern Korean Buddhism through the 1950s "Movement of Buddhism Purification" and group photos of monks who had just begun and completed their Buddhist studies. Looking for great Buddhist monks who led Korean Buddhism in the future is also fun through these photos.

Chin-Ku Lee sys1201@donga.com