Posted by: rbbadger | May 14, 2009

Heaven, Earth, Mankind

This symbol is one commonly seen in Korea.  Rather than representing eum and yang, it represents the unity between heaven, earth, and mankind.  This photo was taken on a gate in an old Confucian academy.  Back in the old days, young noblemen would enter private Confucian academies for intensive tutoring in the Chinese classics before moving on to the national Confucian academy in Seoul.

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Speaking of the academy, I was able to peer into the library.  You can see a number of books as well as a number of woodblocks.  While Korea did use moveable type, carving onto woodblocks was still very common, especially for things like Buddhist sutras or Confucian texts.

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Confucian academies and temples differ quite a bit from Daoist or Buddhist temples.  Often, Buddhist temples can have quite a bit of elaborate decorations.  Daoist temples, such Thian Hock Keng temple in Singapore (you can see my photos by clicking here) can be quite colourful.  Buddhist temples here in Korea are also often elaborately decorated, too.  Confucian temples are reserved, so you don’t see the brilliant decorations you would in royal palaces or Buddhist temples.

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Responses

  1. How cool that you got to see that library! What a treasure!


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