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  • Seoul City Designates Quarry of the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, UNESCO World Heritage, as a Cultural Heritage Site, First of Its Kind

  • SMG 1085

    The quarry from which the stones were collected while establishing Sareung (the tomb of Queen Jeongsun), one of the royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage, was discovered near Gucheon Valley in Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu. The quarry is to be designated as a Cultural Heritage Site (Seoul Monument No. 44), which will be the first of its kind in the nation.

    The Quarry of Sareung, which is to be designated as a Cultural Heritage Site, is especially meaningful, as it is the first case informing us of the location of a quarry of a royal tomb from the Joseon Dynasty, which has been unknown until now.

    Originally, Sareung (located in Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do) was the tomb of Queen Jeongsun (1440-1521), the wife of King Danjong. In 1698 (the 24th year of King Sukjong’s reign), when the status of King Danjong was restored, the tomb of Queen Jeongsun was elevated to the status of a royal tomb and was decorated with various stone figures that were suitable for the position. The stones were collected from around the Gucheon Valley in Bukhansan Mountain and this fact was engraved on nearby rocks.

    On rocks near the Gucheon Valley are engraved the names of the government officials and masons who were in charge of collecting stones for decorating Sareung in January 1699 (the year of Yellow Rabbit). The fact that the records on the rocks correspond exactly to what is recorded in Sareung Bonneung Dogam Uigwae, a book about the procedure of building Sareung, was discovered and confirmed in the process of designating the quarry as a Cultural Heritage Site.

    With water flowing from east to west, following the slope in the Bukhansan National Park, the Gucheon Valley (in Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu) is more remarkable as it is flanked by downstream rocks engraved with “Geumpyo” and “Buseokgeumpyo,” the signs that inhibit citizens’ access and stone-collecting.

    On the other hand, Prince Inpyeong (1622-1658), the third son of King Injo, was fully trusted by the king since he greatly contributed to the peace of the kingdom after the Manchu War in 1636 as he was sent four times to Qing as an envoy. He established Songgyebyeoleop Garden in 1646 after he came back from his visit to Qing, but the buildings and the bridge have been all destroyed. Now, the only remains include the characters “Gucheoneunpok” (calligraphed by Lee Shin) and “Songgyebyeoleop” (calligrapher unknown) that are engraved in the rock and the spot that is assumed to be the site of buildings.

    It is presumed that the management of Songgyebyeoleop Garden was neglected because the descendants of Prince Inpyeong got driven out as they were branded as rebels in 1680, after the death of Prince Inpyeong. Thus, the beautiful landscape of the cottage house and the valley were rapidly destroyed as the Gucheon Valley was chosen to be the quarry of the royal tomb.

    The Seoul Cultural Properties Committee decided to acknowledge the historical value of both and designate the Quarry of Sareung as a Seoul Monument and the site of Songgyebyeoleop Garden as a Seoul Cultural Property Material in order to preserve them.

    This year is a significant year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the designation and protection of over 600 city-designated cultural heritage materials since the designation of the Tangible Cultural Heritage of Seoul No. 1 (Jangchungdanbi Monument) in 1969.

    Seoul City has plans to collaborate closely with the Cultural Heritage Administration to enrich the historical value of the Quarry of Sareung and the Site of Songgyebyeoleop Garden for years to come.

    Seoul City Designates Quarry of the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, UNESCO World Heritage, as a Cultural Heritage Site, First of Its Kind
    1) “Gucheoneunpok” engraving, 2) “Songgyebeoleop” engraving, 3) Building site, a) “Sareung Buseok Gamyeokpilgi” engraving, b) “Buseokgeumpyo” engraving, c) “Geumpyo” engraving

    <Distribution of Relics Around Gucheon Valley in Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu>

    ‣ Relics related to the Quarry of Sareung: a, b, c
    ‣ Relics related to Songgyebeoleop Garden: 1, 2, 3

    Gucheon Valley, location of the Quarry of Sareung and the site of Songgyebeoleop Garden

    <Gucheon Valley, location of the Quarry of Sareung and the site of Songgyebeoleop Garden>

    Gucheon Valley, the former location of Songgyebeoleop Garden, which was a vacation spot of Prince Inpyeong, became a quarry from which to collect stones, while Sareung, the royal tomb of Queen Jeongsun, began to be decorated in the 25th year of King Sukjong’s reign.

    Gucheon Valley with the engraved characters, “Gucheoneunpok”

    <Gucheon Valley with the engraved characters, “Gucheoneunpok”>

    Near the waterfall where the “Gucheoneunpok” engraving can be found, which is the central part of Songgyebeoleop Garden

    Gucheon Falls, a central part of Songgyebeoleop Garden

    <Gucheon Falls, a central part of Songgyebeoleop Garden>

    The Gucheon Valley, where Songgyebeoleop Garden was once located, became a quarry for collecting stones to establish a royal tomb of the Joseon Dynasty.

    Buseokgeumpyo” Engraved on a Rock

    <Buseokgeumpyo” Engraved on a Rock>

    A sign to ban citizens from collecting stones in the quarry that was dedicated to the royal family

    “Geumpyo” Engraved on a Rock

    <“Geumpyo” Engraved on a Rock>

    A sign to ban citizens from collecting stones in the quarry that was dedicated to the royal family

    “Gucheoneunpok” Engraved on a Rock

    <“Gucheoneunpok” Engraved on a Rock>

    Engraved characters that are assumed to be the calligraphy of Lee Shin on the rock of Gucheon Falls, in the center of Songgyebeoleop Garden

    “Songgyebeoleop” Engraved on a Rock

    <“Songgyebeoleop” Engraved on a Rock>

    “Songgyebeoleop” (calligrapher unknown), which was named after the penname of Prince Inpyeong, is engraved on a cliff at the top of Sareung Buseok Gamyeokpilgi.