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 near the end of the 1200s.
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 in this august academy. These seonbi scholars, regarded as the founding-father of
Korean Neo-Confucianism and one of his best successors, respectively, are venerated in its shrines.
|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 area). 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.