Thursday, November 18, 2010

수능 Holiday

Well, high school seniors hate it, but people like me enjoy it, because 수능, suneung means a day off while the school becomes a testing site for the all-important Korean college boards.

I decided to go to Gwanghwamun today and finally look at the newly reopened main gate to Gyeongbokgung. While there, I took in the two underground museums at the Gwanghwamun Square, dedicated to "Great King" Sejong and Admiral Yi Sunshin, respectively.


Ceiling frieze inside gate portal

Another ceiling frieze

The Story of King Sejong: Sejong is usually considered Korea's greatest ruler; he was fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty and reigned from 1418 to 1450.

Korean sundial invented by Sejong, this one on display in the museum is about five feet across

Sejong was renowned for his skill as a military tactician

One of his greatest achievements was the creation of the hangeul writing system, which is easy to learn and allows you to write very quickly and efficiently.
The Worin Cheongang Jigok.  Written by Sejong, it contains 500 odes to the life of the Buddha and is the first literature written in hangeul.

The Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin:  Yi is certainly Korea's most venerated military hero, and is one of few admirals in world history reputed to have been victorious in every major naval battle he commanded (often while greatly outnumbered).

One of his most important advancements was the 거북선 geobukseon or turtle ship, whose cevered deck studded with metal spikes made enemy boarding very risky, and whose flat bottom made it very maneuverable.

The model boat on display has scale figures inside.
There is an interactive area which includes a firing range, a "how well can you row oars"  game and other activities.

There is a nicely done video of the Imjin War, which was Yi's main theatre of operations, which includes English subtitles.

The exhibit shows Yi as a multifaceted individual--military genius, family man, poet.

The museum is strong on atmosphere, but weak on artifacts.  This was just about it.
Usually, there is an impressive statue of Admiral Yi at the top of Gwanghwamun Square (click here) but today it looked like this:


Anonymous said...

Maybe our dear Admiral Yi was off to the 수능... ^^

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

My lady saw him suspended by crane, swing-out into a truck bed to get carted away to a statue spa. Dude's getting sand-blasted as we speak. I'd imagine he would have collected his fair share of grunge, presiding over one of the busiest intersections in one of the world's busiest cities.