The Jongmyo Shrine

The Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul is the supreme state shrine established to honour ancestral spirits and deceased Kings and Queens of the Joseon Dynasty. It was built in 1395 after King Taejo, founder of the dynasty, designated Seoul as the empire’s capital. The tradition of enshrining ancestors and deceased nobility is a Confucian idea. Ancestral tablets of deceased kings and queens are enshrined in halls and sacrificial rites are performed in their honour. Among all the Confucian states in Asia where similar shrines were established, only Korea has preserved its royal shrine and continues to perform royal ancestral rites. This is the chief reason that Jongmyo was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995.

I was part of the excursion organized by the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea which was led by Prof. Robert Fouser. The excursion covered the Jongmyo Shrine, the hanok area in Ikseon-dong and the Pagoda at Tapgol Park. I shall write about the Hanok area in a future post.

Here is a compilation of pictures from the Jongmyo Shrine precinct.



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