-Sundial and Bowl-shaped Sundial during the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong the Great Heritage Management Office / May 6 ~ June 28 -
The King Sejong the Great Heritage Management Office (director: Kim Myeong-jun, located in Yeoju-si of Gyeonggi-do) and the Royal Palaces and Tombs Center, a sub-organization of the Cultural Heritage Administration, is holding the exhibition Sundials and Angbuilgu of Joseon at the King Sejong the Great Museum from May 6 to June 28.
The exhibition is aimed at introducing visitors to the sundials of Joseon (1392-1910) particularly Angbuilgu Sundials, which is designed to tell the 24 solar terms as well as the hours of the day and is widely regarded as a precious part of the scientific heritage achieved during the reign of King Sejong (r. 1418-1450). The exhibition consists of three parts with the subtitles “History of Flat-faced Sundials,” “History and Structure of the Angbuilgu,” and “Makers of the Portable Angbuilgu in Late Joseon.”
In the first part, “History of Flat-faced Sundials,” visitors are introduced to the “Fragment” (Janpyeon), a broken piece of sundial believed to have been made in Silla in the 6th or 7th century and, accordingly, considered the oldest remaining sundial in Korea.
The second part, “History and Structure of the Angbuilgu,” presents the Angbuilgu, which features -- as its name suggests -- the shape of an “upturned cauldron.” King Sejong had the Angbuilgu installed at two points in downtown Seoul, the Jongmyo Shrine and Hyejeonggyo Bridge, to enable his people in the capital to tell the time; thus making it the first known public timepiece in Korean history.
In the third part, “Makers of the Portable Angbuilgu in Late Joseon,” visitors are introduced to several different versions of the Angbuilgu, including the portable sundials made of ivory by Kang Ik-su (King Sejong the Great Museum) and of marble by Kang Mun-su (Seoul Museum of History). While the manufacture of mechanical devices was largely carried out by the “middle-class” people in the Joseon period, portable timepieces such as these were made by the members of the aristocratic families who were relatively highly educated.
As this exhibition is the first event of its kind held after the reopening of the King Sejong the Great Museum and the COVID-19 outbreak, the King Sejong the Great Heritage Management Office as its organizer operates measures to protect people from the corona virus based on the government guidelines such as wearing of face masks, maintenance of 2-meter social distance from each other, unidirectional walk for the tour in an exhibition space, and closure of a video room.
The exhibition is expected to provide visitors with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the sundials of Joseon, the Angbuilgu made during the reign of King Sejong, and its portable version made during the late Joseon.
Appendix 1. "Exhibition of the Angbuilgu Sundial, Symbol of King Sejong's Love for the People" and information material
2. Photo material. End.
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Office in Charge: King Sejong the Great Heritage Management Office, Royal Palaces and Tombs Center
Officer in Charge: Song Bong-gyu (Deputy Director, 031-880-4702) and Park Hyeon-ju (Researcher, 031-880-4712)