Ancient manuscripts returning home from Paris

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Ancient manuscripts returning home from Paris

The national museums of Korea and France have agreed that 297 volumes of Korea’s ancient royal protocol will be sent from Paris to Seoul, beginning later this month, according to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday.

“With this [agreement], every official discussion for the transfer of the Oegyujanggak books has been wrapped up,” said the ministry in a statement yesterday, welcoming the signing of the agreement between the National Library of France and the National Museums of Korea on Wednesday.

“The government will continue to cooperate with the French government to complete the transfer by May 31,” the statement read.

The Oegyujanggak books were the royal protocol and were kept at Oegyujanggak, a Joseon Dynasty-era royal library located in Ganghwa, Incheon.

297 of the books were taken in 1866 by the French Navy. One Oegyujanggak book was returned in 1993 by then-French President Francois Mitterrand. French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to return the other books during the G-20 Summit.

Sarkozy’s promise became official when Park Heung-shin, Korean ambassador to France and Paul Jean-Ortiz, Asia director for the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, signed a treaty regarding the return last month.

The treaty stipulated that France would complete the return of the 297 books to the National Museum of Korea by May 31.

The treaty allows that some of the books will be taken to France briefly in 2015 and 2016 for an exhibition as part of Korea-France cultural exchange programs. The two countries agreed to a five-year agreement that could be renewed indefinitely.

The Oegyujanggak books will be exhibited for two months at the National Museum of Korea beginning July 18.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article[중앙일보]
프랑스 외규장각도서 … 28일부터 돌려받는다
양국 반환 약정 마무리

프랑스 외규장각도서 반환에 대한 양국간 합의가 완료됐다. 국립중앙박물관은 16일 오후 7시(한국시간) 프랑스 파리에서 프랑스 국립도서관과 외규장각 도서 환수를 위한 약정을 체결했다. 김영나 국립중앙박물관장과 브루노 라신 프랑스 국립도서관장의 주관 하에 양측 대표단이 실무 협의를 진행해 약정에 최종 합의했다. 이로써 외규장각 도서 297책이 145년만에 한국에 돌아오는데 필요한 양국의 합의가 모두 마무리됐다. 이번 약정에 의해 외국장각 도서는 28일부터 5월 31일 사이에 4차례에 걸쳐 분산돼 한국으로 돌아오게 된다. 소장처는 국립중앙박물관이다. 박물관 측은 외규장각 도서 환수를 기념해 전통 의례에 따른 기념행사를 열고 7월중 특별전시회를 개최할 계획이다. 환수 의궤 자료는 온라인 서비스를 하고 국내 전문연구자들로 연구팀을 구성해 집중 연구 사업도 벌일 계획이다.


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