Yulgok Memorial Hall > Ojukheon

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Yulgok Memorial Hall

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Established in 1965, Yulgok Memorial Hall repeatedly erected and result until the reopening on October 21, 2012.

In the exhibition hall, Ojukheon-owned artifacts along with the donated artifacts by former professor at Seoul University Yi Chang-yong are displayed. These include works of Shin Saimdang, Yulgok Yi I, Oksan Yiwu, Yi Maechang, Goan Hwanggi and documents related to descendants of Yiwu.

For Saimdang’s works, we have colored [Chochungdo] and ink-and-wash painting, calligraphy works such as [Cho-seo]·[Jeon-seo], etc. For the properties of Yi I, we have [Yi I handwritten version of Gyeongmongyogyeol] which he had written for the beginners of the study, [instone] which has the writings of King Jeong-jo the Great, and his books.

For Mae-chang’s works, we have ink-and-wash paintings such as [Sparrow] which conveys a deep lyrical sensations, and [Mukmae-do] which successfully reflects the mid-Joseon ink painting style of Japanese apricot flower. For Yiwu’s work, we have various painting and calligraphy works which features wild but definite drawing lines.

For Hwang Gi-ro’s work, we have [Cho-seo; Poetry of Yi Gun-ok] which features the fine brush strokes of the Cho-seo master. In addition we have the property of the descendants of Lee of Deoksu which offers us to see the social status, cultural exchange, and artistic ability of other Oksan family members.

The Yulgok Memorial Hall was newly opened in 2012 with the artifacts donated by the Lee family. 14th descendent of Oksan Yi-wu, Yi Jang-hee donated Saimdang Chochungdo in 1965, and 16th descendent Yi Chang-yong and his family donated 566 artifacts in 2009. Through the artifacts, we could appreciate the artistic spirit and the spirit of classical scholars of ‘Yi family of Deoksu’ who produced world fist mother-and-son monetary figure.

Treasure No. 165 Ojukheon is the oldest wooden residential building in Korea, allowing us to see the unique characteristics of family house annex in Joseon Dynasty. Well known for being a birthplace of Saimdang and Yulgok Yi I, Ojukheon was originally a house of ‘Sujae Choi Eung-hyun’ who served as vice minister of Justice. Choi Eung-hyun inherited the house to second son-in-law Yi Sa-on, and Yi passed it onto his daughter Yi of Yongin. Mother of Saimdang, Yi of Yongin inherited the house to her grandson Kwon Cheo-gyun who is the son of fourth daughter. Kwon Cheo-gyun saw the black-stemmed bamboo grove near the house and decided his pen name to be ‘Ojukheon(O meaning crows, Juk meaning bamboo, and Heon meaning house). Later the house came to be called ‘Ojukheon’ as well.

Having an excellent writing and waiting talents since childhood, Saimdang enjoyed reading books and drawing the things around her. She painted various things such as landscape, grapes, bamboo, plum flower, animals, insects, and the most famous work is ‘Chochungdo’ which she harmoniously painted the insects and plants. There is famous anecdote that shows how detailed and realistic her waiting is; she laid her painting in the yard to be dried, and the chickens in the yard pecked at the bug in the picture.

With the smooth and delicate portrayal, which could not be found in other male artiest at the time, and the beautiful coloration, <Chochungdo> is a work very much cherished even today. Saimdang’s outstanding artistic talent can be appreciated through the works such as 11th tangible cultural property of Gangwon province <Chochungdo folding screen>, <scatch of Plum Flower>, and <Choseo folding screen>.

Yulgok Yi I was born as the third son of seven children of Saimdang. He learned to write from his mother, and he was very smart boy since childhood who had filial devotion. For 16 years old Yi I who had loved and respected his mother so much, sudden death of Saimdang was a very big shock. After his mother Saimdang had passed, son Yi I mourned at her grave during the whole 3 years of mourning period. After this act of ‘Si-myo Sal-e’, he secluded himself at the Geumgang Mountain to learn about mans life and death while studying Buddhism. After one year, he came back to Ojukhoen and start concentrating on studying after writing out ‘Jagyeong-mun’ which is self-alerted words. Afterward until he turned twenty nine, he had won the first place in state examine nine times, earning himself a nickname of ‘Gu-do-jang-won-gong(meaining a person who won first place nine times)’.

After taking the office, he participated in the compilation of 『Myeong-jong Silok(record of King Myeong-jong)』, as well as the government reformation proposals such as 「Donghomundap」, 「Maneonbongsa」, and 『Seonghakjipyo』. At the age of forty-two, he wrote a textbook titled 『Gyeokmongyogyeol』 for beginning students, and this book was widely used in the late-Joseon Dynasty. In addition, he founded a school called ‘Eunbyeongjeongsa’ to train the younger generations, and developed Confucianism of Joseon along with Taegye Lee Hwang.

The tomb of Yulgok Yi I, who died at the age of 49, is located in the family burial ground at Ja-un Mountain, Paju along with the tomb of Saimdang. About 20 ancestral set up in the shrines all over Korea. Through the life of Yulgok Yi I who was Jose’s politician, thinker, and educator, we can feel his passion and death for the learning.

If Yulgok Yi I inherited the blood of education from Saimdang, Mae-chang and Yi-yu extended her artistic spirit. Saimdang’s first daughter Mae-chang was so smart and talented to be nicknamed little-Saimdang that Yulgok Yi I had asked her for an advice in securing provisions. Paintings like <Sparrow>, <Moon and Bird> which are included in the <Mae-chang Hwacheop>, are the works of great artistic value that she was praised to be “so talented as her mother”. In the painting, the plum flower is blossomed amidst of the fog so heavy that it covers up all the stems.
This seems to her wisdom and mordant wit who had to live through Joseon Dynasty which was the difficult time for women to advance into society. Here you can enjoy many ink-and-washing paintings of Mae-chang which are no less than that of her mother Saimdang.

Youngest Son Yi-yu was very talented in writing and painting. Oksan Yi-wu’s writing style was greatly influenced his mother Saimdang, and it is apparently shown in the <Cho-seo; Gwigeoraesa> which he wrote at the age of 15. Said to have benevolent and virtuous quality, Oksan Yi-wu’s  expressions are noble and strong. The exhibition offers the chance to contemplate on the role of parents through the life of Saimdang, who personally had taught her children how to write and paint, and successfully nurturer them to become a great thinker, educator, and artiest.

Gosan Hwanggiro is Oksan Yi-wu’s father-in-law. His works, especially his writings style ‘Cho-seo’ is the representative style of 16th century Joseon, thus highly valuable. Choose style refers to the one of the cursive typeface of Hanja. Depending on the brush speed, degree of ink, font size, and smoothness/strightness, the profound typeface can create various forms.

Together with father-in-law Hwanggiro, the master of Joseon’s Choseo cursive style, and son-in-law Yi-wu, very tilted writer and painter, we can enjoy the art of two family who became one through writing. This ‘Sebo Exhibition’, which shows the record of the history and the family history, displays ‘Yi of Deoksu Sebo Sujinbon’. This genealogy paper keeps the record of family members from progenitor ‘Yi Don-su’ to 19th descendent ‘Yi Su-hae’. It was folded in small size to be kept in an outer bag made of paper. The Yi of Deoksu Sego not only record the family lineage but also the social customs, so it is highly precious as a historical data.
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