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Seals presumed to belong to Joseon queen found in Seoul

Apr 18,2018
Two seals presumed to have belonged to a queen during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) have been excavated from a site in Seochon, central Seoul. They differ in size but both feature the shape of a dog. The inscription reads “naegyo,” proving they are the seals of a queen. [CULTURAL HERITAGE ADMINISTRATION]
Two seals presumed to have belonged to a queen in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) have been excavated from a site in Seochon, central Seoul, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said Monday. The seals look very similar but differ in size and are inscribed with the word “naegyo,” proving that the seals belonged to a queen.

The excavation site located in Tongui-dong is west of Youngchumun, the west gate of the Gyeongbok Palace. Experts say that the site is near the residence of Sajaegam, an official who kept track of the meat, seafood and salt that went into the palace during the Joseon Dynasty. It was also close to Changeui Palace, where King Yeongjo resided before he took the throne.

“Unearthing royal seals outside the palace is unprecedented,” said an official involved in the excavation. “We believe they were taken out of the palace on purpose or lost during the time of chaos after the Korean Empire.”

There are two more naegyo seals at the National Palace Museum in central Seoul, but the two that were found recently are the first to have been excavated, explained the CHA.

The larger seal is 4 centimeters (1.57 inches) in length and width and 5.5 centimeters in height. The smaller seal is 2 centimeters in length and width and 2.9 centimeters in height.

The two seals are almost identical, and both are in the shape of a dog.

“The animal seems to be a royal dog,” explained the official from CHA. “The animal on the larger seal is looking straight ahead while the one in the smaller seal is facing slightly up.”

According to the researchers, since the seals are slightly deteriorated and rusted, it is not certain at the moment whether they are made of bronze or brass. The seals will be handed over to the National Palace Museum for further investigation.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]






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