Incheon Bridge

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Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace















It was in 1395, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded by King Taejo (Yi Seong-gye), when the construction of the main royal Palace was completed after the capital of the newly founded dynasty moved from Gaeseong to Seoul (then known as Hanyang). The Palace was named Gyeongbokgung Palace, the “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven.” With Mount Bugaksan to its rear and Mount Namsan in the foreground, the site of Gyeongbokgung Palace was at the heart of Seoul and, indeed, deemed auspicious according to the traditional practice of geomancy. In front of Gwanghwamun Gate, the main entrance to the Palace, ran Yukjo-geori (Street of Six Ministries, today’s Sejongno), home to major government offices. Along the central axis upon which Gwanghwamun Gate stood was the nucleus of the Palace, including the throne hall, council hall and king’s residence.

The government ministry district and main buildings of Gyeongbokgung Palace formed the heart of the capital city of Seoul and represented the sovereignty of the Joseon Dynasty. After all the Palaces in the capital were razed by the Japanese during the Hideyoshi invasions of 1592-’98, Changdeokgung Palace, a secondary Palace, was rebuilt and served as the main Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace was left derelict for the next 273 years. It was finally reconstructed in 1867 by the order of the Prince Regent. The Palace Prince Regent Heungseon reconstructed was markedly different from the original. Some 500 buildings were built on a site of over 40 hectares and constituted a small city. The architectural principles of ancient China were harmoniously incorporated into both the tradition and the appearance of the Joseon royal court. Gyeongbokgung Palace was largely torn down during the Japanese occupation. ninety three percent of the restored buildings were dismantled, Gwanghwamun Gate was dismantled and relocated to the east, and an enormous building housing the Japanese Government-General was constructed in front of the main sector of the Palace. An effort to fully restore Gyeongbokgung Palace to its former glory has been ongoing since 1990. The Japanese Government-General building was finally removed, and Heungnyemun Gate was restored to its original state. The royal living quarters and the East Palace for the crown prince were also restored to their original state.

(Source: Copyrightⓒ Cultural Heritage Administration)

Bukchon wandering “King’s art craft studios cluster”

Surrounded by Gyeongbokgung(Palace), Changdeokgung(Palace) and Jongmyo Royal Shrine, Bukchon is a residential area in Seoul with countless hanoks(traditional Korean houses). Bukchon is also called “the street museum in the urban core,” having many historical spots and cultural heritage sites.

Since it is located in the northern part of Cheonggyecheon and Jongno, people named this area Bukchon, which means northern village. In the village, there are Gahoe-dong, Songhyeon-dong and Samcheong-dong, whose names evoke affection in all Seoulites.



Geumbagyeon (Gold Leaf Imprint)

  • Geumbagyeon (Gold Leaf Imprint), the name of the studio, is the title used for the solo exhibition of important intangible cultural assets, the gold leaf decoration, Deokhwan Kim, or studio events. The history of Geumbagyeon starts from the first generation, Wanhyeong Kim, during the reign of King Cheoljong of the Joseon Dynasty (1849-1863), and continued to the second generation in Wonsun Kim, (who worked as the imperial gold leaf decorator for the state funeral of the Empress Myeongseong), the third generation, Gyeongyong Kim, (who worked for the last imperial family of the Korean Empire), the fourth generation, Deokhwan Kim, (who is the holder of the important intangible cultural assets, the gold leaf decoration), and the fifth generation, Giho Kim and his wife, (who are currently operating Geumbagyeon Studio as a family business). Visitors to the studio can see each process with full explanations, and with reservations, visitors can see and experience the demonstration of the “stork” decoration.


Lacquer Studio

  • This is the workshop of Jung-hyeon Sin, and is the home of Seoul Intangible Cultural Property No. 1, Lacquer. Lacquering means to coat something with the resin of a lacquer tree. Raw lacquering means to use the sap collected from the lacquer tree after eliminating impurities by filtering with ramie fabric and mixing the pine resin oil and filtering again with ramie fabric overlapped with silk cotton. If lacquered, the product becomes stronger, and the color does not change. Lacquer is used a lot in the industrial arts, such as wooden vessels, metal, ceramic ware, leather, and paper. Jung-hyeon Sin is the first man in the field of lacquering. He has studied lacquering for over fifty years.


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