[TREASURE] Geunjeongjeon 'diligent politics' of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Name: Geunjeongjeon of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Period: Joseon (1392-1910)
Location: Jongno District, central Seoul
Status: National Treasure
Geunjeongjeon is the main hall of Gyeongbok Palace. Officials would assemble in this hall to wish the kings a Happy New Year. This place was also used by kings to conduct state affairs, hold national ceremonies, and receive foreign envoys.
It was built in 1394 (the 3rd year of King Taejo). Kings in the early years of Joseon (1392-1910), including King Jeongjong, ascended to their thrones in this court. Its name, Geunjeong, literally means diligent politics, which originated in the belief that the more rulers are diligent, the better they rule over the state. It was burnt down during the Japanese Invasion in 1592 and rebuilt in 1867, the 4th year of King Gojong. Geunjeongjeon is a two-story building that contains five rooms.
The stone platforms in front of the hall have various carved animal ornaments, including 12 Chinese zodiac signs. The throne is centered toward the back of the hall. Behind the throne there are folding screens and a canopy is located over the throne. Various wooden poles support the roof. The stones, indicating the rank of officials, are placed on either of the corridors from Geunjeongjeon to Geunjeongmun. The rings used to tie the sunshade still remain in front of the court.
Small rooms for servants on both sides of Geunjeongmun circled around Geunjeongjeon. Geunjeongjeon in Gyeongbok Palace shows the dignity of the palace and is considered a magnificent building that was losing its sophisticated touch after the middle of the Joseon Dynasty.
The photos and text for National Treasure are provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration. For more information, call (042) 481-4650 or visit www.cha.go.kr.