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Royal Tombs

Jeongneung Royal Tomb, Seoul (Historic Site No. 208)

Jeongneung is the tomb of Queen(Honorary Empress) Sindeok(神德皇后, ?~1396), the royal second consort of King(Honorary Emperor) Taejo(太祖, r. 1392~1398), the first ruler of the Joseon Dynasty.

Jeongneung Royal tomb
Jeongneung Royal tomb
Jeongneung Royal tomb
Tomb Of King Yeonsangun (燕山君墓)

The 10th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, Prince Yeonsan (燕山君, 1476-1506), ascended the throne, following King Seongjong in 1494. During the first four years, Prince Yeonsan carried out relatively good civil administration with the political heritage from King Seongjong’s reign. Then, he provoked a lot of major massacres such as the Muosahwa (戊午士禍) and the Gapjasahwa (甲子士禍), and executed many scholars. He squandered national finance with endless extravagance and dissipation. When he heard the circumstances of ousting his birth mother, the Lady Yun, he started to do immoral things. He killed two royal concubines of King Seongjong and their sons. He made his grandmother died, Queen Dowager Insu, by hitting his head against her. At that time, she was ill in bed and was scolding her grandson’s atrocious doings. He gave a posthumous title of the queen to his birth mother, the Lady Yun, and changed the title of her tomb from the Hoemyo to the Hoereung (懷陵). And then he performed a sacrificial rite for her with King Seongjong. He committed countless acts of maladministration: he changed the Seonggyungwan (成均館, the top educational institution of the Joseon Dynasty) to the place for sensual pleasures, the Wongaksa Temple to the gathering place for the Gisaeng (singing and dancing girls) and the Hongcheonsa Temple to a house barn. In 1506, he was dethroned with the Jungjongbanjeong (中宗反正, a revolt to enthrone King Jungjong) and was exiled to a house surrounded by a splinter wall at Gyodongdo Island, located in the northwest of the Ganghwado Island, and died there of a disease. He had five sons and one daughter with the Lady Sin (居昌郡夫人, the Lady of Prince Geochang), and two sons and one daughter with a concubine, but all of his sons died right after birth or in the place of exile. Prince Yeonsan was first buried in the Gyodongdo Island, the place of his exile. Later, his wife, the Lady Sin, wrote a letter to King Jungjong, asking to change his burial site, and his tomb was moved to the current place in 1513. When King Jungjong granted royal permission of changing the burial site, he ordered to rebury the tomb with courtesy suitable for the title of the Wangjagun (王子君, a title given to a son born of a concubine). Therefore, the tomb of King Yeonsangun has a low wall with three sides, two stone tables, two stone lamps, a pair of stone posts, two pairs of the stone images in the form of a civil official and a table to put an incense burner.