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

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 […]

Donguibogam: Prevention before Treatment

The Donguibogam is a medical encyclopedia written by Heo Jun (1539-1615), a royal physician and renowned doctor, in the 16th to 17th century. People often say there has been no traditional Korean medicine (TKM) doctor greater than him since. The encyclopedia was registered at UNESCO as part of the ‘Memory of the World’ register in […]

Rediscovering the Lost Kingdom of Baekje

History, according to the saying, is written by the victors. The unification of the three kingdoms of Korea under Silla in 668 AD solved the problem of constant war in the peninsula, but created a significant problem for modern day historians, in that very little of the culture and heritage of Baekje (BC 18~AD 660) […]

The Changdeokgung’s Injeong Hall – Welcome to the Rock Show!

When I visited Changdeok Palace in Seoul, my attention was naturally focussed mainly on the buildings themselves. One of these buildings is the Injeong Hall (Injeongjeon), which was used for important celebrations and ceremonies. The unassuming forecourt one walks through to enter the hall was been designed with great care, but for the unsuspecting observer […]

The Life and Teachings of Master Wonhyo

The life of Master Wonhyo (617-686 A.D.) is a typical Korean paradox. He was a scholar who composed over 100 works on Buddhist philosophy, whose influence in scholarship and teaching was felt in China and other surrounding countries. He is acknowledged today as the foremost figure in the history of Korean Buddhism. And yet, many […]

The Turtle Ship

There is a story that when the nascent Korean shipping industry was attempting to raise capital, Barclays asked what the Koreans could provide in the way of security for the loan. The Korean executive is said to have taken a 500 won bill from his pocket, which featured the turtle ship of Yi Sun-sin, and […]

Golden Earrings of Silla

Along with the famous Golden Crown of Hwangnam, the tombs of Silla contained many other, less immediately eye-catching objects of beauty. An example is the golden earrings, one of the literally thousands of accessories such as necklaces, rings, belts and shoes that were buried with the dead kings and queens in Kyongju, capital of the […]

Korean heritage at UNESCO

Korea is rightly proud of some of its heritage, much of which has been given official recognition by UNESCO. For those of you who like lists, here are the various items of Korea’s tangible and intangible heritage which have been so listed. Also included below are links to any LKL articles on these treasures. (1) […]