Royal Tombs of the Koryo Dynasty

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Royal Tombs of the Koryo Dynasty
Tomb of Wang Geon - Kaesong07.jpg
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 고려왕릉
Hancha 高麗
Revised Romanization Goryeo wangneung
McCune–Reischauer Koryŏ wangrŭng

The Royal Tombs of the Koryo Dynasty are a group of tombs of members of the Korean Koryo Dynasty (918-1392).

Tomb burial place

A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes.

Korea Region in East Asia

Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1948, it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan.

Contents

The tombs

The royal tombs are scattered around southwestern North Hwanghae Province, with most of them located within 20 kilometers of Kaesong, the Koryo capital. Most tombs are located in Kaepung County, which borders Kaesong to the west, though there are also a significant number in Changpung county, which borders Kaesong to the east. Some tombs, all unidentified, are also located within Kaesong itself.

North Hwanghae Province Province in Haeso, North Korea

North Hwanghae Province is a province of North Korea. The province was formed in 1954 when the former Hwanghae Province was split into North and South Hwanghae. The provincial capital is Sariwon. The province is bordered by Pyongyang and South Pyongan to the north, Kangwon to the east, Kaesong Industrial Region and South Korea's Gyeonggi Province to the south, and South Hwanghae southwest. In 2003, Kaesong Directly Governed City became part of North Hwanghae.

Kaesong Municipal City with special status in North Hwanghae Province, North Korea

Kaesong is a city in North Hwanghae Province in the southern part of North Korea, a former Directly Governed City and the capital of Korea during the Taebong kingdom and subsequent Goryeo dynasty. The city is near the Kaesong Industrial Region close to the border with South Korea and contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. Called Songdo while it was the ancient capital of Goryeo, the city prospered as a trade centre that produced Korean ginseng. Kaesong now functions as the DPRK's light industry centre.

Koryo-era royal tombs followed the guidelines outlined in Chinese Confucian texts, such as the Book of Rites (Li Ji) and the Rites of Zhou (Zhou Li). Many factors went into consideration when deciding the location of a tomb, such as the distance from Kaesong, the distance in relation to other royal tombs, the accessibility of the location, and the tradition of Feng Shui (known as 'pungsu' in Korean). The tomb construction also took into account traditional burial rituals of Korea and the natural environment.

<i>Book of Rites</i> Chinese Classic

The Book of Rites or Lǐjì is a collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty as they were understood in the Warring States and the early Han periods. The Book of Rites, along with the Rites of Zhou (Zhōulǐ) and the Book of Etiquette and Rites (Yílǐ), which are together known as the "Three Li (Sānlǐ)," constitute the ritual () section of the Five Classics which lay at the core of the traditional Confucian canon. As a core text of the Confucian canon, it is also known as the Classic of Rites or Lijing, which some scholars believe was the original title before it was changed by Dai Sheng.

The Rites of Zhou, originally known as "Officers of Zhou" is actually a work on bureaucracy and organizational theory. It was renamed by Liu Xin to differentiate it from a chapter in the Book of History by the same name. To replace a lost work, it was included along with the Book of Rites and the Etiquette and Ceremonial – becoming one of three ancient ritual texts listed among the classics of Confucianism.

Hyonrung

Hyonrung - Tomb of King Taejo Tomb of Wang Geon - Kaesong07.jpg
Hyonrung - Tomb of King Taejo

37°59′6″N126°30′19″E / 37.98500°N 126.50528°E / 37.98500; 126.50528
Hyonrung (현릉/ ), also known as the Tomb of King Wanggon, is the tomb of King Taejo (877-943, r. 918-943), founder of the Koryo dynasty. Taejo, who adopted that name upon ascending the throne, was the first king to unify the entire Korean peninsula after subjugation the southern states of Silla and Paekje. Construction on the tomb began after the king's death in 943. He was buried with his favorite wife, Queen Sinhye. The tomb was heavily reconstructed in 1994, and all of the original buildings and statues were cleared away in order to accomplish its "restoration". Today, the burial chamber is open to tourists, and displays the coffins containing the remains of Taejo and his queen, as well as the tomb's original carved decorations. Hyonrung is located on the side of Mt. Mansu in Haeson-ri, Kaepung County, and is listed as North Korean National Treasure #179. In the valley behind the tomb is the Chilrunggun, a group of seven tombs containing the remains of various princes, princesses, and concubines.

Taejo of Goryeo Founder of the Goryeo Dynasty

Taejo of Goryeo, also known as Taejo Wang Geon , was the founder of the Goryeo dynasty, which ruled Korea from the 10th to the 14th century. Taejo ruled from 918 to 943, achieving unification of the Later Three Kingdoms in 936.

Silla Old kingdom of Korea

Silla was a kingdom located in southern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula. Silla, along with Baekje and Goguryeo, formed the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

Chongrung

37°51′29″N126°33′35″E / 37.85806°N 126.55972°E / 37.85806; 126.55972
Chongrung (정릉/ ) is the tomb of Queen Sinsong, a wife of King Taejo. The tomb is in poor condition, with only its earthen burial mound and some stone pillars remaining. It is located in Hwagok-ri, Kaepung County, and is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #573.

Cultural assets of North Korea

Designated cultural assets of North Korea are tangible artifacts, sites, and buildings deemed to have significant historical or artistic value. They are not, however, considered important enough to merit designation as a national treasure.

Anrung

37°56′58″N126°33′17″E / 37.94944°N 126.55472°E / 37.94944; 126.55472
Anrung (안릉/ ) is the burial place of King Jongjong (923-949, r. 946-949), third monarch of the Koryo dynasty. It is in fair condition, with its burial mound, with stone base, and two guardian statues intact. Wall murals found in the burial chamber depict landscapes and hunting scenes, while the ceiling is painted with 28 stars and six constellations. The murals in the tomb are considered an important link to earlier Koguryo tomb art. Anrung is located on the south face of Kaesong's Namsan in Konam-ri, Kaepung County, next to Yangrung. It is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #552.

Honrung

38°2′24″N126°31′19″E / 38.04000°N 126.52194°E / 38.04000; 126.52194
Honrung (헌릉/ ) is the tomb of King Kwangjong (925-975, r. 949-975), fourth monarch of the Koryo dynasty. The tomb survives in fair condition, though it is missing its guardian statues. It is located in Samgo-ri, Kaesong, and is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #545.

Yongrung

37°56′4″N126°35′26″E / 37.93444°N 126.59056°E / 37.93444; 126.59056
Yongrung (영릉/ ) contains the remains of King Kyongjong (955-981, r. 975-981), fifth monarch of the Koryo dynasty. The tomb is good condition, with its original stone railings and guardian statues. It is located on the side of Mt. Jinbong in Panmun, Kaepung County, and is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #569.

Kangrung

Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin Stone Sheep at King Kongmin's Mausoleum.jpg
Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin

37°56′9″N126°33′26″E / 37.93583°N 126.55722°E / 37.93583; 126.55722
Kangrung (강릉/ ) is the tomb of King Songjong (960-997, r. 981-997), sixth monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Nothing remains of his tomb but its earthen burial mound. It is located near Jinbong-ri, Kaepung County, and is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #567.

Sonrung Cluster

37°59′36″N126°30′16″E / 37.99333°N 126.50444°E / 37.99333; 126.50444
Sonrung (선릉/ ) is the burial place of King Hyonjong (992-1031, r. 1009-1031), eighth monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Next to his grave are two tombs known as Sonrunggun Tomb #2 & 3, which contain the remains of two unknown relatives. Though Sonrung is in good condition, the other two are in a state of disrepair, with Tomb #3 in addition having lost its guardian deities. The three graves are located in Haeson-ri, Kaepung County, and are listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #547.

Konrung & Wonrung

38°3′41″N126°36′1″E / 38.06139°N 126.60028°E / 38.06139; 126.60028 / 38°3′38″N126°36′4″E / 38.06056°N 126.60111°E / 38.06056; 126.60111
Konrung (건릉/ ) and Wonrung (원릉/ ) are respectively the tombs of Anjongok and Queen Dowager Honjong, the parents of King Hyonjong. The tombs are in good condition, though not particularly elaborate. The two graves are located in Hyonhwa Valley in Wolgo-ri, Changpung County. They are listed as North Korean Cultural Assets #572 & 571, respectively.

Kyongrung

38°0′27″N126°39′39″E / 38.00750°N 126.66083°E / 38.00750; 126.66083
Kyongrung (경릉/ ) is the tomb of King Munjong (1019-1083, r. 1046-1083), 11th monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Though his tomb remains intact, it is severely weathered. It is located in Kyongrung-dong near Sonjuk-ri, Changpung County, and is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #570.

Songrung

37°56′16″N126°32′59″E / 37.93778°N 126.54972°E / 37.93778; 126.54972
Songrung (성릉/ ) is the burial place of King Sunjong (1047-1083, r. 1083), 12th monarch of the Koryo dynasty, who died within a year of ascending the throne. His tomb is very small, but in intact. It is located near Jinbong-ri in Kaepung County, and is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #568.

Yurung

37°56′15″N126°32′56″E / 37.93750°N 126.54889°E / 37.93750; 126.54889

Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin King Kongmin's Tomb.jpg
Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin

Yurung (유릉/ ) contains the remains of King Yejong (1097-1122, r. 1105-1122), 16th monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Almost nothing remains of it. It is located near Osan-ri in Kaepung County.

Yangrung

37°56′55″N126°33′27″E / 37.94861°N 126.55750°E / 37.94861; 126.55750
Yangrung (양릉/ ) is the tomb of King Sinjong (1144-1204, r. 1197-1204), 20th monarch of the Koryo dynasty. It is in poor condition, with only the earthen burial mound and one guardian statue still remaining. Slightly damaged wall murals found in the burial chamber depict 158 dogs, while the ceiling is decorated with constellations including the Big Dipper. As with Anrung, the murals in the tomb are considered an important link to earlier Koguryo tomb art. Yangrung is located on the south face of Kaesong's Namsan in Konam-ri, Kaepung County, next to Anrung. It is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #553.

Hurung

Hurung (후릉/ ) contains the remains of King Kangjong (1152-1213, r. 1211-1213), 22nd monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Almost nothing remains of it. It is located near Hyonhwa-ri in Kaepung County. It is not to be confused with the nearby tomb of the same name belonging to King Jongjong of the Choson dynasty.

Sorung Cluster

38°1′22″N126°32′54″E / 38.02278°N 126.54833°E / 38.02278; 126.54833
Sorung (소릉/ ) is the burial place of King Wonjong (1214-1274, r. 1260-1274), 24th monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Wonjong was the last Koguryo monarch to be titled Temple name due to the Mongol invasion. Near to his grave are five tombs known as Sorunggun Tombs #2, 3, 4, and 5, which contain the remains of four unknown relatives. With the exception of Tomb #3, all of the tombs are in good repair. The five graves are located in Sorung Valley in Ryonghung-dong, Kaesong, and are listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #562.

Myongrung Cluster

37°58′53″N126°29′55″E / 37.98139°N 126.49861°E / 37.98139; 126.49861
Myongrung (명릉/ ) is the burial place of King Chungmok (1337-1348, r. 1344-1348), 29th monarch of the Koryo dynasty. Near to his grave are two tombs known as Myongrunggun Tombs #2 and 3, which contain the remains of two unknown relatives. The tombs are all in fair condition, weathered but intact. The three graves are located in Yonrung-ri in Kaepung County; Myongrung itself is listed as North Korean Cultural Asset #549, while the Tombs #2 and 3 are listed as Cultural Asset #169.

Hyonjongrung

Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin Tomb at Kaesong (5063812324).jpg
Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin

37°58′55″N126°28′23″E / 37.98194°N 126.47306°E / 37.98194; 126.47306
Hyonjongrung (현정릉/ ), better known as the Tomb of King Kongmin is the burial place of King Kongmin (1330-1374, r. 1351-1374), 31st monarch of the Koryo dynasty, and his wife, the Mongolian princess Noguk. It is the best-preserved of the Koryo dynasty royal tombs, and a popular tourist site. Construction on the tombs began after Queen Noguk's death in 1365, and was completed seven years later in 1372. The tombs consist of a carved granite base topped with a small hill; they are surrounded by statues of sheep and tigers, representing the nations of Korea and Mongolia respectively. The "spirit road" up to the tombs is lined with statues of military officers and Confucian officials. Their placement was an important consideration for the king, and many geomancers, astrologers, and mathematicians were consulted to make sure the site had good feng shui. Unfortunately,the tomb's relics were lost in 1905 when the tomb chamber was blasted open with dynamite and looted by the Japanese; most of the relics inside were believed to be taken to Japan, though Kongmin's coffin is exhibited in the Koryo Museum in Kaesong. The tomb is located in Haeson-ri, Kaepung County, and is listed as North Korean National Treasure #123.

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Tomb of King Wanggon

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References

See also