Joseon Dynasty

Organised to coincide with the London Book Fair, this exhibition at the KCC is curated by the Korean Publishers Association: The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types Exhibition Dates: 07 April 2014 – 14 June 2014 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK The World’s Oldest Wooden and Metal Printing Technologies – Korea’s Printing Culture presented […]

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Crime and Punishment in Chosŏn Korea

by Philip Gowman 24 September 2013
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Three years ago SOAS held a conference entitled Historians, clerks and accountants: Methodological issues in the use of sources on Chosŏn History. One of the more interesting elements of that day was a consideration of court records of criminal trials and a discussion of Joseon dynasty autopsy techniques. The speaker, Kim Ho, returns this Friday […]

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Bought for £10 from a Parisian cheese merchant, Lady Hyegyong’s Uigwe is now digitised

by Philip Gowman 9 June 2013
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The Joseon court knew how to document things. And one of those court records, recently digitised and put online by the British Library, shows they also knew how to celebrate. The Uigwe – The Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty – were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2006. In its […]

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Kim Young-ha: Black Flower – an imaginative re-telling of a fascinating byway of Korean history

by Philip Gowman 13 March 2013
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Kim Young-ha: Black Flower Originally published in Korean in 2003 This edition Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012, 305pp, Translated by Charles La Shure Black Flower tells the fascinating story of a thousand or so Korean emigrants who sailed from Jemulpo (now Incheon) in 1905 in search of jobs in Mexico, and ended up founding a short-lived […]

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Happy 150th Birthday, James Scarth Gale

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2013
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James Scarth Gale – missionary, translator, and one of the founders of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch – was born 150 years ago on 19 February 1863. His birthday has been marked by an upgraded Wikipedia page, a special page with photos on Brother Anthony’s site, and a memorial service at Yeondong Church (which […]

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SOAS Seminar: Korean Cannibalism

by Philip Gowman 17 January 2013
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SOAS kicks off its Spring term of evening seminars with an unusual subject: Korean Cannibalism: Production of Transgression in a Climate of Social Ills Dr Se-Woong Koo (Center for Korean Studies) École des Hautes Études Date: 18 January 2013 Time: 5:15 – 7:00 PM Venue: Russell Square, College Buildings, Room G50 Abstract The Chosǒn Dynasty […]

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2012 Travel Diary #22: The Burial Grounds of the Royal Joseon Placentas, and why underfloor heating is not always good for you

by Philip Gowman 3 December 2012
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1 April 2012. Yes, it’s 1 April, and no, this article is not an April Fool’s joke. Sunday in Sancheong town, and the National Assembly election campaign is in full swing. All along the main street, the ppongtchak trucks are parked nose to tail, probably about eight of them. All of them blare out loud […]

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Vladimir Tikhonov at SOAS: “Heroes” in Qing China and Korea late C19 / early C20

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2012
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The second of the autumn series of Korean studies seminars at SOAS: “Heroes” in Qing China and Korea in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century Vladimir Tikhonov (Oslo University) Date: 19 October 2012 Time: 5:15 PM Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50 Abstract Both Liang Qichao (1873-1929) and Sin Ch’aeho (1880-1936) were instrumental […]

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2012 Travel Diary #16: Silla pagodas, Korea’s first beautiful village, and Nammyeong’s tomb

by Philip Gowman 19 September 2012
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29 March 2012. Today is the day we start the ascent of Jirisan, but first there’s a couple of local sites of interest that I need to visit. First, the two Unified Silla dynasty stone pagodas, which are now the only remnants of Dansoksa, a temple built in the middle of the eighth century. The […]

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When I give birth to the child in me, who should it call father?

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2012
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This rather beautiful letter, from a pregnant widow to her dead husband in 16th century Andong, has be out there for a while, but has just resurfaced in the blogopshere courtesy of Letters of Note. Do give it a read there, or in the earlier article in archaeology.org. The letter was found on her husband’s […]

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2012 Travel Diary 7: Yi Sun-shin — military genius, hero, poet

by Philip Gowman 24 May 2012
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26 March 2012. The brief ferry ride from Tongyeong to Hansando traverses the sheltered sound where Admiral Yi Sun-shin won a famous victory over the Japanese navy on 14 August 1592. On the day I crossed, it was difficult to imagine the tumult of a battle in which 47 Japanese ships were sunk and 12 […]

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2012 Travel Diary 6: Tongyeong harbour

by Philip Gowman 9 May 2012
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26 March 2012. It’s another beautiful crisp spring morning. The sea is calm, the sky is cloudless, but the temperature out of the sun is not far above freezing. The light is perfect for a few early photographs of the view from the hotel and from its waterside terrace, though it’s tricky to take a […]

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2012 Travel Diary 4: Walking the palace trail with the RASKB

by Philip Gowman 3 May 2012
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25 March 2012. It’s a cold, sunny morning, like the day before. I’ve booked myself on a walking trip of Seoul’s palace area, courtesy of the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea branch. We’re due to meet outside the Deoksu Palace at 9am, hence in part my reluctance to over-indulge the previous evening. It’s a pleasant day […]

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Reading the Heavens Part 3 – The Astronomical Legacy of King Sejong

by Matthew Jackson 28 February 2012
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As mentioned in part 1, King Sejong presided over the zenith of Korean astronomical achievement. The construction of a large observatory at Gyeongbok Palace in 1438 – later destroyed without a trace in the Japanese invasion – played a key role in the country’s progress. On the roof were installed various astronomical instruments such as […]

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Reading the Heavens Part 1 – Two Millennia of Astronomy in Korea

by Matthew Jackson 14 February 2012
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To celebrate star-crossed lovers everywhere, Matthew Jackson starts a series of articles on Korean astronomy As we can tell from ancient monuments like the Dolmen stones and more recent buildings such as Cheomseongdae, astronomy was big in Korea. Why was this exactly? Reverence for nature was part of it, but it was in fact more […]

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Rebellion in Pre-Modern Korea

by Philip Gowman 13 February 2012
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Rebellion in Pre-Modern Korea: Regional Discrimination and the Musillan Rebellion of 1728. Andrew Jackson talks at the London Senate House, Thursday 16 Feb at 5:30pm http://t.co/8CtqeUHR

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What is the Donguibogam and what is in it?

by Jin-woong Lim 30 October 2011
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Koreans usually have two choices when they have to visit a clinic: one is a medical clinic, employing western medicine for treatment; and the other is a traditional clinic, employing traditional medicine. There are many obvious differences between the two types, mainly concerning methods of diagnosis and treatment. Most importantly, the traditional medical clinic has […]

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