Monday, November 7, 2011

Uigwe 朝鮮王室儀軌 조선왕실의궤 lent from France not return eternally

(mochi; actually the original record books are in france, they are as franch booty in Bibliothèque nationale de France)
145年ぶりの帰還、「 外奎章閣儀軌 」

The Return of the Oegyujanggak Uigwe from France: Records of the State Rites of the Joseon Dynasty
LocationSpecial Exhibition Room, 1F
Date07-19-2011 ~ 09-18-2011
Uigwe is a unique collection of royal protocols of the over 500 year-long Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), which both records and describes through prose and illustration the major ceremonies and rites of the royal family. It started to be produced in the early Joseon Dynasty and was registered as the UNESCO Memory of the World in 2007 for its rarity and historical significance.

This exhibition celebrates the homecoming of uigwe, which were looted from their rightful place, Oegyujanggak (Ganghwa Island branch of Gyujanggak Library), in 1866.

The special exhibition consists of six sections.

Section 1 "The Quintessence of Joseon's Recordkeeping Tradition" introduces the concept and composition of uigwe genre as well as the procedures by which Oegyujanggak was established during the reign of King Jeongjo (Period of Reign: 1776~1800). Besides, two versions of uigwe, one for kings and the other for distribution or for storage, are displayed side-by-side. Therefore, covers, contents, and illustrations can be easily compared.

c National Library of Korea
Drawing of Palace in Ganghwa Prefecture
Late 19th Century, Collection of the National Library of Korea

This is the four-fold map illustrating Oegyujanggak, the royal library on Ganghwa Island. Oegyujanggak is described on the second fold of the drawing.

(Right) c Gyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies
Uigwe for the Construction of King Heonjong's Tomb, Gyeongneung

(Left) Version for Kings, 1849 (King Cheoljong, Year of Accession), Collection of Bibliotheque nationale de France
It records how to construct King Heonjong's Tomb, built from July through November after the death of King Heonjong. It is covered with green silk, bordered with brass, fixed with five nails, and bound with round chamomile patterned plates under the nails. At the center of the bordering brass is a round ring.

(Right) Version for Distribution, 1849, Collection of Gyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies, Seoul National University
Unlike the above version for kings, this book was produced for distribution and covered in red cloth. It has a bordering brass, three nails and a round ring, all made of pig iron.

Section 2 "Kingly Authority and Statecraft" shows uigwe related to Jongmyo Jerye (a rite held for worshipping the late kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty at Jongmyo Shrine), construction of a building, and rewards for meritorious subjects to examine the ruling philosophies of the Joseon Dynasty. It displays "Uigwe for Rewarding the Bosa Meritorious Subjects" (1682, King Sukjong, 8th Year of His Reign), which is the only extant copy and one of only a few uigwe documents containing Hangul (Korean letters).

Uigwe for Rewarding the Bosa Meritorious Subjects
1682 (King Sukjong, 8th Year of His Reign), Collection of Bibliotheque nationale de France

It records the rewards for meritorious subjects to those who played key roles in preventing an attempted conspiracy in 1680 (King Sukjong, 6th Year of His Reign).

Section 3 "Occasions for State Celebration" displays uigwe related to ceremonies and rituals for a royal wedding, coronation, and granting of a posthumous title. These documents include the list of items produced and materials used during ceremonies, the list of craftsmen, explanatory diagrams, and illustrations of the procession.

Uigwe for Crown Prince Hyojang's Investiture Ceremony
Version for Kings, 1725 (King Yeongjo, 1st Year of His Reign), Collection of Bibliotheque nationale de France

It records the Crown Prince Hyojang's Investiture Ceremony in March, 1725. As this document was produced for kings, high-quality papers were used with hand-drawn bordering red lines. The pictures were delineated firstly with a brush before being painted with various pigments.

Uigwe for Crown Prince Hyojang's Investiture Ceremony
Version for Distribution, 1725 (King Yeongjo, 1st Year of His Reign), Collection of Bibliotheque nationale de France

Two volumes of the "Uigwe for Crown Prince Hyojang's Investiture Ceremony" were produced for kings while one volume was produced for distribution. Compared to the version for kings, this shows a lower degree of integrity as the figures and objects were drawn more simply using stamps and with less variety in color.

Section 4 is about "Funerals for Royal Family Members" In fact, most royal ceremonies during the Joseon Dynasty concerned death. The funeral of a king or a queen was performed as a state funeral and was an extremely solemn, prolonged, and magnificent affair. The procedures began when the deceased was on the deathbed and involved the preparations for the funeral and deposition in the tomb, the funeral procession, and a three-year memorial service. The documents on display include uigwe for the procedures of a state funeral, a place for housing a coffin during a state funeral, and an ad-hoc organization established for making a new royal tomb.

Section 5 "Memorial and Remembrance" shows how the people of the Joseon Dynasty honored the late kings by housing the ancestral tablets of the monarchs at Jongmyo Shrine after a three-year memorial service, granting a posthumous name to the deceased king or queen representing his/her life, and drawing a portrait of the deceased king.

Lastly, Section 6 "The Return of the Oegyujanggak Uigwe" exhibits documents from the Byeongin Yangyo incident in 1866 (French invasion of Ganghwa Island of the Byeongin year) up to the recent return of the Oegyujanggak Uigwe. Some western documents including the manuscripts of M. H. Zuber of the French navy, who took part in the Byeong-in Yangyo incident are displayed.

Uigwe for the Construction of Concubine Subin's Tomb, Hwigyeongwon
1822 (King Sunjo, 22nd Year of His Reign)

It records the procedures for building Hwigyeongwon, the royal tomb for King Jeongjo's royal noble consort, Subin (1770~1822). The tomb was built from December, 1822 to March, 1823. The uigwe has two volumes. Volume 1 was returned directly by the then President of France Francois Mitterrand upon his visit to Korea in September 1993 while Volume 2 was returned in 2011 along with the other 296 volumes of the Oegyujanggak Uigwe.

c LG Yeonam Library, Myongji University
L'Illustration, Journal Universel
1867, Collection of LG Yeonam Library, Myongji University

M. H. Zuber, who took part in the Byeongin Yangyo incident as a member of the French navy, contributed this article on January 19, 1867. It describes the invasion of the French military to Korea, combat status, and illustrates the march of French military in front of a building, presumed as Oegyujanggak.

Other exhibits are also arranged including "The Life of King Sukjong (Period of Reign: 1674~1720) and Uigwe" and "Uigwe Highlights," featuring changes in the characteristics of uigwe by displaying eight volumes of Oegyujanggak Uigwe. Visual media will help visitors better appreciate and understand the exhibition.

Uigwe for the Royal Wedding Ceremony of King Sukjong and Queen Inhyeon
1681 (King Sukjong, 7th Year of His Reign), Collection of Bibliotheque nationale de France

It records the procedures of the royal wedding ceremony where King Sukjong married Queen Inhyeon as a second queen consort.

This arrangement allows visitors to compare the diverse types of uigwe. This is also an opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for the highly developed tradition of historiography and recordkeeping in Joseon, as well as the historical importance of uigwe as a form of literature.

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