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Handwritten Books by Princess Deokon On Display at National Hangeul Museum

Imperial Family of Korea

Starting January 16th, 2018, a handwritten collection featuring two books written by Princess Deokon will be on display at the National Hangeul Museum. The collection of works from Princess Deokon’s family features 68 works of art total. Though Princess Deokon only lived to be 22 years old, the descendants of her adopted son Yun Yong-Gu preserved her work and allowed the Cultural Heritage Administration to return it from the United States to display at the National Hangeul Museum.

Princess Deokon Collection includes two rare books written in hangul

Museum experts noted that two books were some of the rarer items in the collection. The first book, titled “Jagyeongjeongi” was first written by Princess Deokon’s father, King Sunjo, in Chinese characters. As the 23rd Joseon King, King Sunjo used “Jagyeongjeongi” to explain the beginnings of the Jagyeongjeon Chamber located in Changgyeong Palace. The Jagyeongjeon Chamber was originally created Princess Deokon’s grandfather, King Jeongjo, to wish his mother a long life. Princess Deokon translated this book from Chinese into Korean hangul characters.

The second book, “Gyuhun,” is a court guide for expected women’s manners and virtues. This book, “Gyuhun,” was also originally only available in Chinese text. While it isn’t clear that these were the first Korean translations of these works, Princess Deokon’s works highlight the use of Korean hangul in Joseon court.

Park Joon-ho, a National Hangeul Museum researcher, told Donga:

“These are important data that empirically shows the role and importance of Hangeul in the communication of women in Joseon’s royal family.”

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