the Seosu-seowon, Korea's first private Neo-Confucian Academy-with-Shrine, in Punggi Town.
It was founded by Toegye Yi Hwang in the mid-1500s, while he was Governor of Yeongju County, to
honor An Hyang, who first brought the Neo-Confucian teachings of Chu Hsi from China in the mid-1300s.
It's quite a charming and interesting place, sited next to a lovely stream just south of Sobaek-san.
Gyeongryeom-jeong Pavilion at the entranceway offers a nice view of the stream
|Baekun-dong Gyeongja-bawi in the stream
Portraits of "Hoeheon" An Hyang (National Treasure #111) and "Shinjae" Ju Sae-bong (Treasure #717)
that are housed here. These scholars, regarded as the founding-father of Korean Neo-Confucianism
and one of its greatest sages, respectively, are venerated in the shrines of this academy.
|model of the layouts of the Sosu-seowon (lower-left) and the Seonbi-chon (upper-right), divided by Jukgye-cheon Stream
|"Hoeheon" An Hyang and "Toegye" Yi Hwang depicted with the Sosu-seowon at the Museum entrance
of Punggi District,
|model of Neo-Confucian education being conducted at the Sosu-seowon
|model of Neo-Confucian ritual-veneration of former teachers being conducted at the Sosu-seowon
|busts of the five men considered main progenitors of the Sosu-seowon -- the Chinese: Confucius [Gong-ja] and Zhu Xi [Ju-ja]
|the Korean patriarchs: "Hoeheon" An Hyang, "Shinjae" Ju Sae-bong and "Toegye" Yi Hwang
|original mid-1300s edition of the Hoeheon Shilgi, record of An Hyang's teachings
|Original "Baekun-dong" signboard written by "Shinjae" Ju Sae-bong
|Original "Sosu-seowon" signboard written by King Myeongjong (r. 1545–1567) and granted by him to "Toegye" Yi Hwang
|Jukgye-jewolgyo-bi Monument, erected in 1710 to
honor "Toegye" Yi Hwang for "restoring lost honor"
1698 monument that honors Governor Jeong Jung-chang for being
an excellent Confucian magistrate, erected by grateful local people
Hoeheon (1243–1306) studied the early Neo-Confucian teachings in China from grand-disciples of Zhu Xi, then was the first to
successfully transmit then to late-Goryeo-Dynasty Korea, teaching many students on this site in his hometown Punggi (which was
then called the Sunheung region). He became considered the founder of Korea Neo-Confucianism, and brought his handwritten
copy of Zhu Xi's doctrines, with ritual- portraits of Confucius and Zhu Xi to Korea to use in his revitalization of Confucianism. He
advocated replacing Buddhism with Neo-Confucianism as national ideology, which was accomplished by his lineage of disciples
a century later. He is credited with founding the grand Confucian shrine Mun-myo in the Goryeo capital (now Gaeseong City).
Shinjae (1495-1554) erected a Shrine with lecture-hall for Hoeheon on this site in 1542, naming it "Baekun-dong" [White Clouds
Village" school, after Zhu Xi's "Baekrok-dong" (Baengnokdong) [White Deer Village] academy in southeastern China. Toegye,
while serving as magistrate here, expanded this into the Sosu-seowon in 1550, inventing the concept of "Seowon" academies
that flourished until the mid-1800s as Korea's aristocratic "high schools".
|the Hall where the teachers lived
|Above and below: Main Lecture Hall. Right: Portrait Hall
|printing-block of An Hyang's essay, with his portrait
The original portrait of "Hoeheon" An Hyang (National
Treasure #111) and a copy of it made later for
ceremonial use, now kept in the Seonbi Museum.
Ancient Roots of this Site:
The streamside location of the Sosu-sewon and its associated Seonbi-chon was previously a
Goryeo-Dynasty Buddhist temple named Suksu-sa, of which only a pair of stone pillars remains
in its original place; some excavated artifacts are in the Seonbi Museum. And long before that
a site of some sort of bronze-age culture... Fascinating artifacts are also in that museum. This
is the kind of "layering" of religious sites that one often sees in Italy, for example.
ancient petroglyph and an iron-age tomb-painting found in this area
|the Shrine for "Hoeheon" An Hyang
banner-pole-supporting stone pillars from the Goryeo-Dynasty
Buddhist temple Suksu-sa still stand outside the front gate.