Korea: Exhibition marks return of Korean royal archives

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Exhibition: The Return of the Oegyujanggak Uigwe from France. Records of the State Rites of the Joseon Dynasty

Uigwe is a unique collection of royal protocols from the 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 taken from their rightful place, Oegyujanggak  (Ganghwa Island branch of Gyujanggak Library), in 1866 by invading French forces, 145 years ago.

The special exhibition consists of six sections.

Section 1 “The Quintessence of Joseon’s Recordkeeping Tradition”
Section 2 “Kingly Authority and Statecraft”
Section 3 “Occasions for State Celebration”
Section 4 “Funerals for Royal Family Members”
Section 5 “Memorial and Remembrance”

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.

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