Death and burial

Buyeo-eup, Chungcheongnam-do, 17 May 2016 10am. Buyeo National Museum Next stop was the Buyeo National Museum. Here, we were totally shameless in our visit. It was to be a precision strike: go and see the the famous Gilt Bronze Incense Burner of Baekje and get out quick: we had an appointment in Sancheong. But of […]

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2016 travel diary 6: Gongju’s royal tombs

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 2:15pm. The Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri Our first stop in Gongju is the set of seven or more tombs in Songsan-ri. The experts think there may be as many as ten tombs in the area. It seems odd, in an age when so much in the way of sophisticated electronics […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 10: Namhansanseong and the Gangnam Tombs

by Philip Gowman 7 June 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, Sunday 7 June The Mountain Fortress I am scheduled to meet a friend at 9:30 at Sanseong Station on Line 8. From there we take the bus (number 9) via a circuitous route through a residential area and up the steep hill to the main car park of one of Korea’s latest UNESCO […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 5: The UN Memorial Cemetery and the start of the MERS scare

by Philip Gowman 2 June 2015
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Gangneung, Tuesday 2 June. Today promises to be a relatively low-key affair. As promised, Eun-jin arrives at the hotel at 8:50 to take me to the bus station, and I buy my ticket for the 9:30 to Busan, boarding a coach with maybe a dozen people on it, including a sailor in a smart white […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 3: Park Soo-keun, King Sejong’s tomb and the journey to Gangneung

by Philip Gowman 31 May 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, Sunday 31 May. Most of the morning I’m faffing around with my bags, working out what I can leave at the hotel in Seoul so that I can travel slightly lighter on the bus down South. For the first time I’ve brought an SLR to Korea with me to get some slightly better […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 2: The Drawing hand | Seooreung | Tea Museum | Makgeolli at Kim Sakkat

by Philip Gowman 30 May 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, 30 May. Two hours sleep on the plane, and only another two on my first night in Seoul, means that I’m groggy on Saturday morning. A quick session in the hotel gym doesn’t do much to remedy that. Coffee with The Drawing Hand My brain is gently kick-started by a coffee in the hotel lobby, […]

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2014 Travel Diary day 7: the concubine, the eunuchs and the gisaeng

by Philip Gowman 12 June 2014
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Another literary lunch and a visit to the tombs of the trusted palace servants. Eulji-ro, Seoul, Thursday 12 June, 9am. I decide to take it easy today, and have a bit of a lie in. I pop outside to the subway station to pick up a coffee and pastry, and then pay a quick visit to […]

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2014 Travel Diary day 3: 사십구재

by Philip Gowman 8 June 2014
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The 49th-day ceremony (사십구재) for Sena Lee, who died in Seoul on 22 April 2014, held at Anjeoksa, Sancheon-gun, at which family and friends said farewell to her. According to dharma master Tim Lerch,  Traditionally, the period of 49 days after someone dies is seen as a time for that person to check their consciousness and digest their […]

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Photos of King Taejo’s tomb in Kaesong

by Philip Gowman 21 July 2013
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The Rodong Sinmun has some nice pictures and a brief article on the tomb of Wang Kon, founder of the Koryo dynasty as King Taejo. The tomb is one of the Historic Monuments and Sites of Kaesong recently entered into the UNESCO list of world heritage. Update: links to the full set of Rodong Sinmun’s […]

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Looking back at 2012: Domestic news

by Philip Gowman 26 January 2013
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In our final round-up of Korea-related stories which caught our eye in 2012, we look at domestic and business news. Modern Life and how to escape it. Korea came 24th out of 34 leading countries in an OECD quality of life index, coming bottom of the class in job security and gender income inequality and […]

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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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Sancheong Town, Gyeongsangnam-do, Sunday 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 […]

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2012 Travel Diary #21: Seong Cheol’s birthday, Park Chan-soo’s museum and Gaya period tombs

by Philip Gowman 26 November 2012
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Sancheong County, Gyeongsangnam-do, Saturday 31 March 2012. The impact of the love shots is still fogging my brain when Mr Yoon arrives at 9:30 in the morning. Today, he is accompanied by his wife, who is to join us for the morning. It is, after all, a Saturday, so Mr Yoon is working overtime on […]

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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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Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Thursday 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 […]

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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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Kkokdu – a cortege’s colourful attendants

by Philip Gowman 5 September 2012
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Accompanying the KCC’s exhibition of Korean funerary figures, Charlotte Horlyck gave a helpful lecture providing some historical background and context to these colourful wooden characters. The talk was particularly valuable as the introduction provided by the director of the Kkokdu Museum a few weeks previously had lacked much content. While generally admitting that not much […]

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Funeral Figurines: A Unique Art Form of Traditional Korea

by Events Editor 24 August 2012
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The opening talk of the current KCC exhibition, presented by the director of the museum who has provided the exhibits, was a little short on information on these charming funeral dolls. So Charlotte Horlyck’s upcoming talk is very welcome. Funeral Figurines: A Unique Art Form of Traditional Korea Global Korea Lecture: ‘Korean Culture Shining Bright’ […]

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Culture and Identity, Kokdu and me

by Events Editor 8 July 2012
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To go with the opening of the KCC’s summer exhibition Korean Funerary Figures: Companions for the Journey to the Other World, the president of the museum which is lending these figures will be giving a talk about her 30 year passion for Kokdu. Culture and Identity, Kokdu and me: 30 Years of Art Management DATE […]

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