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  • 작성자 사진Kim Min-ji

[Cultural Heritage] 145 Years from Return 11 Years from Full Volume Disclosure: Oegyujanggak Uigwe

No.161 / Dec 12, 2022

Do you know the significance of September 4? It is a day to commemorate the UNESCO World Heritage list of Jikji, the world’s oldest metal type published 78 years earlier than Gutenberg’s typewriter. Jikji was introduced to the world by Dr. Park Byung-sun, the first Korean woman to study abroad in France, and another treasure she discovered is Oegyujanggak Uigwe. While studying in France, she devoted herself to returning items looted by France to Korea, so she frequently visited the National Library of Paris to study. Thanks to her frequent visits, she was hired as a special library researcher and took the job of selection work of Korean books. At that time, Oegyujanggak Uigwe was classified as a Chinese book to be destroyed in the warehouse of the French National Library and was left unattended. Dr. Park desperately informed Korea of this, and as a result of the movement in Korea, 297 volumes of Uigwe were returned to Korea in April 2011.

Uigwe is a kind of comprehensive report that records the details of important ceremonies of the state during the Joseon Dynasty. The purpose of the publication is to help future generations proceed smoothly without trial and error, as it contained all related details such as a conversation between a king and his subjects, preparation processes, a daily business log which depicted every action minutely, lists of the artisans, and rewards. During the Joseon Dynasty, Uigwe was produced steadily from the founding of the dynasty until the death of the last emperor of the Korean Empire which is a state that inherited Joseon, Sunjong. However, much of it was destroyed during the war, leaving only Uigwe from the 17th century to the early 20th century, and part of it is the Oegyujanggak Uigwe. Oegyujanggak, a library established in Ganghwa-do in 1782, for storing royal-related books, served as an affiliated royal library, Gyujanggak. Since its establishment, a total of 1,000 books, including Uigwe, were stored, but 359 books, including 297 Uigwe, were looted when French troops attacked Ganghwa-do in 1866 and the rest were burned. The Joseon Dynasty’s Uigwe is a flower of the Joseon Dynasty’s record culture, which was designated as a UNESCO World Record Heritage Site in 2007 and has already been recognized worldwide for its historical and cultural values. Uigwe is a very meaningful record that not only shows the characteristics of the Joseon Dynasty’s Confucian culture that values etiquette, but also shows the governing system of the Joseon Dynasty. Oegyujanggak Uigwe, which was looted by France and only recently returned, is particularly valuable in that it was a Uigwe for the king’s reading.

All 297 volumes of Oegyujanggak Uigwe, which were returned to Korea in the form of a long-term lease from France in 2011, were disclosed. “Oegyujanggak Uigwe, the Meaning of its nobility” exhibition, will be held at the National Museum of Korea from November 1 2022 to March 19 2023. The Ajou Globe (The AG) expects the next exhibition to be in the form of a return and not a long-term lease. It is a rare opportunity that has come after 11 years, so please attend the exhibition and experience the history of Joseon’s records. You can also watch it online at this address: https://www.museum.go.kr/uigwe


 

By Kim Min-ji, AG Senior Editor

mmoboo77@ajou.ac.kr



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