Tuesday, December 13, 2016

South Korea 2016 - The Seal of the Joseon Dynasty (2nd)

ISSUE DATE: 10 November 2016
STAMP SIZE:26.8 x 36.5 mm

The eobo of the Joseon Dynasty are seals of individual royal family members, including kings, queens, crown princes, and crown princesses. A royal seal bore an inscription of the recipient’s title and was presented to the queen or crown prince at his or her investiture, or to a king or queen regnant or a late king or queen at a ceremony for bestowing an honorary title (jonho) or posthumous title (siho) in praise of his or her virtue. The eobo were the highest symbols of the power and legitimacy of the royal family. Unlike guksae, which were seals used for diplomatic and administrative documents, the eobo were rarely used in state affairs as they were intended specifically for ceremonial purposes. They were kept in the palace until the passing of the recipient, after which they were enshrined in Jongmyo (Royal Ancestral Shrine).

The eobo were painstakingly fashioned by only the very best master craftsmen, and they are truly artworks in their own right that embody the quintessence of craftsmanship enjoyed in the royal court of Joseon. Depending on the material used, the eobo are classified as geumbo (gold seal), okbo (jade seal), or eunin (silver seal). There are three types of handle designs; gwinyu featuring the shape of a tortoise, yongnyu featuring the shape of a dragon, and jingnyu in the shape of a simple rectangle. It is difficult to know exactly how many eobo were produced during the Joseon Dynasty, but one record states that 352 eobo were enshrined in Jongmyo in 1924. As of October 2016, 328 eobo have been identified in and outside Korea, and 319 of them are kept and maintained by the National Palace Museum of Korea.

‘Taejogasangsihogeumbo’ is an eobo inscribed with the posthumous title (siho) of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. It was produced when King Sukjong praised the founding king with an additional posthumous title, Jeonguigwangdeok, in the 9th year of his reign (1683). ‘Sejongsihogeumbo’ was presented in 1450 when King Munjong ascended to the throne following the passing of King Sejong and bestowed the posthumous title of Yeongmunyemuinseongmyeonghyo. 

‘Jeongjohyosoneunin’ is a silver seal presented by King Yeongjo when he was 83 years old (1776) to his eldest grandson, King Jeongjo. The title was bestowed because King Yeongjo was moved by King Jeongjo’s filial piety for his father, Crown Prince Sado. The silver seal is the only eobo that bears an inscription of the presenting king’s handwriting. ‘Gojongsugangtaehwangjebo’ is an eobo inscribed with “sugang,” the honorary title (jonho) of Emperor Gojong. King Sunjong presented it to the emperor in 1907 along with the title.

Stamp images and description thanks to Korea Post

South Korea Post