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Seungseongyo Bridge of Seonamsa Temple, Suncheon

순천 선암사 승선교 ( 順天 仙巖寺 昇仙橋 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Seungseongyo Bridge of Seonamsa Temple, Suncheon
Quantity 1 bridge
Designated Date 1963.09.02
Age Joseon
Address Seonamsa Temple 48-1, Jukhak-ri, Seungju-eup, Suncheon, Jeollanam-do

When you pass by the pagodas at Seonamsa Temple and get to the precincts, you meet with a wide stream with a beautiful bridge over it. The bridge, named Seungseongyo Bridge, consists of a big arch in the shape of a semicircle. The foundation is of natural rock, which makes the bridge stable even in a strong current of flood. Made up of long stones set side by side from the lower part, seen from the bottom the arch looks like a ceiling with a delicate structure. The space above the arch is filled with stones, forming a wall on the either side of the stream and making the crossing path flat. At the center of the arch, a stone decorated with a carving of a dragon's head sticks out below, and it is said that if this decoration were pulled out, the bridge would collapse. This bridge was constructed when Seonamsa Temple was rebuilt after having been burnt down in the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. A legend has it that in the 24th year of the reign of King Sukjong (1698), Buddhist Monk Hoam tried to throw himself from a cliff after failing to see Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva even though he had prayed for a hundred days for such a vision. At the last moment, a woman appeared and saved him. He recognized that the woman was the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and built Wontongjeon Hall to enshrine it, and the beautiful rainbow-shaped bridge. The rainbow-shaped construction style of the bridge in is also seen on Rainbow Bridge in Beolgyo, Boseong (Treasure No. 304). The similarity between them is natural since they are located near each other. However, Seungseongyo Bridge is believed to have been constructed earlier than Beolgyo’s rainbow bridge, on the basis that the arrangement of stones and the finish are of an older style, and that the structure gives a more imposing impression.