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South Korea World Heritage

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Author winterkjm
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#1 | Posted: 26 Jan 2010 16:20 | Edited by: winterkjm 
For 2010, Korea has nominated the most sites to their T-List than any other (As far as I know), this being 7 sites as of today 1/26/10. With the inscription of the Royal Joseon Dynasty Tombs in 2009, and Yangdong and Hahoe Village up for inscription this year, Korea is poised to have at least 1 site a year up for consideration for quite some time. Korea already has 9 world Heritage sites, and for so small a country this is impressive. (It only takes 5 hours to drive across the country!)

Having lived there for 7 months, I visited all 9 WHS in Korea, and a couple on their tentative list. Though many of you may not have heard of any of these sites, they are impressive. Most are without a doubt in my mind world class.

9 WHS
Changdeokgung Palace ... Gochang/Ganghwa/Hwasun Dolmens
Hwaesong Fortress... Jeju Volcanic Island
Haeinsa Temple... Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
Jongmyo Shrine... Royal Tombs of Joseon Dynasty
Gyeongju Historic Areas

New 2010 sites on Korea T-List

Southwestern Coast Tidal Flats (2010)
- I witnessed other Tidal Flats in Korea, just not the ones nominated here, this has potencial

Namhansanseong (2010)
- Has potencial, but might be a tough sell to get inscribed. This is a mountain fortress, fascinating yes, but a world class site? maybe

Salterns (2010)
- never been here, sounds interesting though, maybe could be joined with the Tidal flats for a mixed WHS, as both occur in Sinan at least

Daegokcheon Stream Petroglyphs (2010)
- also never been here, sounds like real potencial here though

Ancient Mountain Fortresses in Central Korea (2010)
- Once again more mountain fortresses, this includes Samyon Fortress which was previously on the T-List alone, but just recently removed. These 5-6 fortresses are all impressive, it might have a chance with the serial nomination aproach

Gongju and Buyeo Historic Sites (2010) *Probably best chance of inscription
- These have a very high chance for inscription, they are world class sites. Gongju and Buyeo were the capitals of the Baekja dynasty, impressive tombs (including King Munyong's tombs, which was also a stand alone nomination on Korea's T-List previously), fortresses, temples, ruined palaces, etc. Also nothing from the extremly influential Baekja kingdom have been inscribed. I really enjoyed my visit here

Iksan Historic Areas (2010)
- never been here, or even heard of it while in Korea, it looks like a much less impressive historic area than Buyeo and Gongju.

Older nominations on T-List
- Mt. Soraksan might still have a possibility of inscription, its truly a beautiful National Park, I think it may have already been defered though
- Kangjin Kilns, some potencial
- Fossilized Dinosaur Sites, i think little chance for these sites, Unesco stated these sites needed more research

I think South Korea, is taking the approach of distinct cultural preservation and boosting tourism, you can see some of this by how many sites are spread out to each province, and how each dynasty is being represented. Korea is often wrongly stereotyped as a country with little to offer in comparission to China and Japan, and that most of Korean culture is in fact borrowed from these nations. This belief could not be more wrong, Korea has its own unique culture and sites very different from China or Japan. Korea offcourse has been influenced by China and Japan both, but its been a two way cultural influence, China and particularly Japan have been influenced by Korea as well. This is reflected in Korea's WHS bids. Japan has 14 WHS, it would be very interesting if in the next 5-10 years if Korea eclipsed Japan in number of WHS.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/kr

Author meltwaterfalls
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#2 | Posted: 26 Jan 2010 17:43 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Thanks very much for posting this.

I am just reading up on South Korea (hopefully for a future visit) and it is great to get an overview of the potential new sites.

Out of interest have you visted the villages that are being propossed for insciption this year. I know Els has written a review of them comparing their 'folk heritage' with that of the central european ones already included so they may have a prescedent for inscription.

Are they a worthwhile site to visit, would you count them as a worthwhile detour or mearly one for the collectors?

Author winterkjm
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#3 | Posted: 26 Jan 2010 22:11 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Exciting, I hope you make it there, you would have a great time, Korea is an amazing place! Besides the cultural aspects, the food is great and people are very friendly.

I never did get to Hahoe village or Yangdong village. I am going back to Korea in October, in which I plan to at least visit Hahoe village. Hahoe is right outside Andong, so it makes a nice one or two day trip. Yangdong on the other hand is near Pohang, so its a little more out of the way unless your destination is the Gyeongju and Busan area (Both fantastic places by the way). I am personally more interested in Hahoe village as it is still occupied and one of the only authentic traditional villages left in Korea, there are many replica Folk villages scattered thoughout the country, but none quite like Hahoe.

Yangdong was primarily an Aristocratic Village, which is no longer occupied. I am interested in seeing Yandong as well, but I visited other ruling class homes, and Hahoe looks to be a fascinating place to visit. Its also an easier trip from Seoul.

One reccomendation, diversify your visits to historic sites. Many of Korea's main sites are Palaces, Temples, Tombs, and Fortresses all from different Dynasties. Don't go to all of one at once, mix it up a bit. Visit one of the Dolmen sites, than Changdeokgung palace, and then a Royal tomb. Then if getting a little tired of historic sites, take a week and enjoy Jeju island. If you enjoy hiking you'll enjoy the numerous Mountain fortresses (ussually in beautiful National Parks), as some are fairly similar, but if you like history and the outdoors they're alot of fun.

One great thing is from Seoul you can see so much
- Changdeokgung Palace
- Jongmyo Shrine
- Royal Joseon Dynasty Tombs (scattered everywhere in and around Seoul)
- Hwaesong Fortress (45 min. by subway from Seoul to Suwon) *Greatest Fortress in Korea
- Namhansanseong Fortress (Southern Seoul)
- Ganghwa Dolmens (Ganghwa Island, maybe 1.5 hr from Seoul)
Gongju and Buyeo are only about 2 hrs from Seoul
Ancient Mountain Fortresses in Central Korea, most of these fortresses are also around 2 hrs from Seoul

Author winterkjm
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#4 | Posted: 28 Jan 2010 20:27 
Changing gears to the other side of the Peninsula.
(This post is highly speculative, but I find the topic fascinating)

If North Korea collapses in the very near future, which is considered to be inevitable by many officials in China and South Korea. What is the process that will occur concerning Unesco? I assume, as Korea would become one nation, their inscribed WHS would merge, and maybe a new T-List for the North would be developed. As it is clear the North has few resources to not only do further research and archialogical digs, it does not have the money to successfully mantain and preserve whats left of their cultural heritage.

The People of Korea would offcourse have far more stressing concerns than World Heritage on their minds in the occurance of re-unification, but nevertheless its something that would be without precident and whether it comes 1 year from now or 5 years, it seems likely
this situation will occur.

Also I wonder if any of the Communist sites (Enormous Kim, Il-Sung Monuments, etc) would be preserved following a collapse by the North and subsequent unification? And this has been discussed before, the potencial of the DMZ as a preserved Wildlife habitat as this stretch of land has had virtually no human activity for nearly 60 years.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#5 | Posted: 29 Jan 2010 08:33 
Yeah a very speculative idea, the sustainability of the North Korean state could take up masses of research and debate.

However to take the Hypothetical event I would just imagine that they would be taken over by whatever state follows it.

winterkjm:
its something that would be without precident


Not quite I would guess this has happened once before. The Palaces of Potsdam were submitted by the GDR (East Germany) but now are part of the united Germanys inscription on the list.

I don't have much time to investigate this fully at the moment but it may be interesting to see how Potsdams status was progressed.

Author Khuft
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#6 | Posted: 29 Jan 2010 18:00 
Let's not forget the opposite case: When Montenegro became independent, Kotor was maintained as WHS - even though Montenegro did not ratify the WH Convention immediately (presumably, they had other priorities on their minds...)

[In the case of Kosovo, the WHS is still listed under Serbia.]

Author Solivagant
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#7 | Posted: 29 Jan 2010 19:27 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Another example of an inscribed site "hanging" without a valid acceding "State Party" is the Itchan Kala.
It was nominated by USSR on 17 Oct 1989 and accepted at Banff Dec 1990
The USSR was then dissolved on Dec 25 1991
But Uzbekistan didn't sign the Convention until Jan 1 1993 - whilst the Itchan Kala remained on the inscribed list during this interim period!
It is interesting that each of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are regarded by UNESCO as having accepted the Convention on the same date that the USSR accepted it i.e 12 Oct 1988 - the USSR's acceptance is carried forward to them. However all the other ex republics of the USSR have had to make their own later arrangements to accede. I can only conclude that this is because Stalin negotiated that Ukraine and Belarus would have separate seats at the UN as "independent sovereign states" (although "Russia" had no such seat and must just have been regarded as carrying forward USSR commitments). A total fiction of course but agreed to so as to (slightly) overcome the heavy outnumbering of Communist countries in the UN and keep Stalin on board!

Thinking about it there are other examples from ex Yugoslavia. Croatia and Slovenia became independent in Jun 1991.
Each "inherited" sites inscribed by Yugoslavia.
Croatia - Split, Plitvice and Dubrovnik
Slovenia - Skocjan
But Croatia didn't accede to the convention until July 1992 and Slovenia until Nov 1992.

Els - we have a "connection" here! (Might it be better to move posts on this subject to another thread to keep the purity of the Korean subject?)
Sites once situated in a non acceding country
Sites which were inscribed by one State party and then, as a result of political/historic events, were, for a period, within the borders of a new country which hadn't at that time acceded to the World Heritage Convention

Author Solivagant
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#8 | Posted: 30 Jan 2010 05:16 | Edited by: Solivagant 
To return to Winterkjm's original subject - Korea N +S!
As it is clear the North has few resources to not only do further research and archaeological digs, it does not have the money to successfully mantain and preserve whats left of their cultural heritage. I wonder?
DPRK operates a siege economy where the normal market rules don't apply internally at least. If something is seen as good by the regime it is made to happen! And, unlike many developing countires, the population is highly controlled and disciplined - even self disciplined.
It is instructive to read the evaluation of the deferred Kaesong nomination from the 2008 WHC papers http://whc.unesco.org/document/100760 . The sections on Protection, Conservation and Management are not without concern or criticism but don't paint a picture of decay and neglect. As the "end of communism" showed, the greatest danger to sites is often the free for all which occurs during a period of social and economic realignment.
The ICOMOS review is in many ways a strange document and I try to imagine the interactions which must have taken place between the ICOMOS inspectors and the functionaries of the DPRK! In particular the mix of pure party hacks and committed professionals they must have encountered
Having been to DPRK and, in particular to Kaesong, I found some of the ICOMOS statements almost surreal - if one didn't know what sort of society DPRK was, one would gain little idea of its reality from the review! I remember a comment in the evaluation for the Koguryo Tombs where ICOMOS called for improved visitor management planning! Don't they realise the extent to which visits are strictly controlled!!
I also found it difficult to relate to the repeated concern of ICOMOS of the potential impact of developments within the planned economic zone which is foreseen for Kaesong.
Good God this is no Shenzhen - we all had great fun lying down and having a "sleep" on the motorway into Kaesong - no danger as there is NO traffic! The biggest danger in such a scoiety is that Kim Jong Il (or whoever) wakes up one morning and decides that the entire centre of "old" Kaesong needs to be bulldozed in order to build some Palace of Culture or whatever. Perhaps that is why ICOMOS wanted to see the "old" houses added to the inscription (except that their authenticity must be highly suspect after all the destruction which Kaesong experienced in the 20th century.)

If and when DPRK finally changes its political structure (and I wouldn't rely on its people willingly embracing many of the cultural aspects of the south!) it will certainly be interesting to see what happens to the "Great" and "Dear" Leader cult remains. A visit to the Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung is one of the world's great tourism experiences - if you have the time and cash, get into DPRK while you can and also make sure you go to a Mass Games - it will teach you a lot about "society" in general - including your own. At the mausoleum you will be forced to confront what "reverence" means. I have absolutely no doubt that, for many of the Koreans there, it was an incredibly and genuinely "moving" experience. Even we had to don shirt/tie and smart clothes, pass through the airlock to blow away the dandruff and dirt of the street and finally to "bow" at the body of the Great Leader! In the Hall of Lamentations the Korean guides must have been chosen for their ability to shed tears (I don't think they had eye drops!). I couldn't help relating what I was seeing to various Catholic shrines I have visited and to the inexplicable outpouring of public grief shown by too many of the British people after the Death of Diana - irrational behaviour isn't limited to those in totalitarian societies!
In Bucharest Ceaucescu's folly remains as a government office block/tourist site - what could be done with the Mausoleum i don't know. Like those of Mao, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh it could struggle on but the essence of the experience would have been lost - a bit like visiting Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides!

Unfortunately too many of the cultural sites in DPRK have already been compromised by politically motivated reconstruction -I have already indicated surrprise in my review of the Koguryo tombs that ICOMOS allowed such blatent reconstruction, but there are other examples on the list of such compromises made to bring a country/people within the fold!

I note that at least one great natural sight in DPRK is not on its T List - Mount Baekdu is seen by Koreans (N + S??) as their spiritual home. Accordingly the Great and Dear Leaders are shown on its summit in front of a glorious rising sun. Amazingly Kim Jong Il was even born nearby and his "birthplace" is another of the regime's contructed "sacred" shrines!! (He was actually born near Khabarovsk). Despite this, it is a superb natural site with a magnificent crater lake and was yet another highlight of our visit - the highest point on the Korean Peninsular despite probably being riddled with bunkers for the safety of DPRK regime's cadres! However it is right on the borders with China and is/was the subject of an acrimonious border dispute where the Koreans feel that China has stolen their historic territory. Shades of the Koguryo inscription issue! For that reason it seems unlikely ever to be put forward.

Author winterkjm
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#9 | Posted: 30 Jan 2010 20:54 
Very well said Solivagant, and thanks for sharing your experience.

My comment related to North Korea managing Korean Cultural heritage is indeed vague. It probably would have been more accurate to say North Korea, if they found it advantageous politically and felt it to be a national priority to do so they could preserve their cultural heritage in a satisfactory manner. The problem lies in the fact the government alots far more money on other priorities, particularly the military, so other aspects are without funding.

Solivagant, you mentioned, if something is seen as good by the DPRK it is made to happen. I would argue that yes this is true to a point, but if this was completely true the nation would not be in such a dire situation. The regime, does not have inexaustable funds to alot even to projects they approve of. And like you pointed out when they do fund a paricular project, they ussually do signifigant reconstruction for politically motivated reasons anyway.

On a slightly different topic than Cultural heritage, but equally interesting. You mentioned "I wouldn't rely on its people willingly embracing many of the cultural aspects of the south!" On this point I am not too sure. Ofcourse there are many in the North that truly believe in the Great Leader and are displaying genuine emotion in their behavior. But if you look at the huge numbers of North Korean citizens that defect everyday, and make the journey though China to Southeast asia and then to Seoul, it is signifigant in that they obviously lost all notion of the Kim clan as truly great and North Korea as a successful nation. There are nearly 3,000 defectors a year that arrive in Seoul. These are the lucky ones that make the incredible months long journey across much of East Asia. So many do not make it.

Some may disagree, but in my opinion it is not an "If" the DPRK will collapse, but when. I would be very suprised if it lasted 10 more years.

Author Solivagant
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#10 | Posted: 31 Jan 2010 05:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
On looking through the DPRK T LIst I came across Mt Myohyang which site is said to contain
" the Archives of the 80,000 Wooden Blocks of the Complete Collection of Buddhist Sutras, the world's most complete Buddhist sutras published in the 13th century"
That sounds "interesting"!! Especially as S Korea has its "Temple of Haeinsa, on Mount Kaya, (which) is home to the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248".

Can they both be true?? The ICOMOS evaluation for Haeinsa states "Depositories for Tripitaka exist in Other Buddhist countries. None is, however, of the antiquity and technical excellence of the Haeinsa installations."

Now there is no doubt that Mt Myohyang is one of the 5 holy mountains of Korea (N+S!) But what is there to see at the T List site and, in particular what is the reality of this Tripitaka in DPRK - a fabrication of the regime (matching the inscribed "claim" of its "rival"?), even more important than the already inscribed blocks in S Korea - or something in between???

I am not an expert in Buddhist scriptures and the guide books I have access to don't really do a comparison on the sutra blocks either - indeed the ones in DPRK are often not even mentioned in reports about Mt Myohyang. But I do still wonder if S Korea is also guilty of talking up its own wood blocks! Leaving aside the contents of the temples I then wondered if the buildings would be significantly different in authenticity as between N +S. It appears that the S Korean building has been rebuilt several times - most recently in 1971. But this is an occupational hazard of wooden buildings and ICOMOS/UNESCO seems to accept that continuity rather than strict authenticity is acceptable in such cases (also look at the Golden Temple in Kyoto!). My Bradt guide desribes the DPRK building as being a "newly built traditioinally styled archive for the 80,000 blocks of the Tripitaka". So not much difference there either between the 2 countries?

Reading further, the thing which is perhaps the most interesting aspect about the DPRK Mt Myohyang site is the way in which the regime has hi-jacked this traditional Korean "sacred site" for the purposes of its own propaganda. Bradt states "The DPRK state has reconfirmed the holiness of the area by siting the extraordinary International Friendship exhibitions there" - these are dedicated to the world's gifts for the Great and Dear Leaders!! Indeed it appears that, if you go as a tourist to MT Myohyang you won't even be taken to see the sutras -which goes some way to explaining the lack of information about them! There are many reports on the Web of tourist visits to DPRK but I felt this one gave a realistic view of what a visit to Mt Myohyang would be like!!
http://www.1stopkorea.com/index.htm?nk-trip9-myohyang-mountain.htm~mainframe

I think DPRK might have problems convincing ICOMOS/UNESCO of the value of this T List site - but, if I ever return to DPRK I will try to choose a tour which takes it in!

Author winterkjm
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#11 | Posted: 31 Jan 2010 13:57 
I wondered about this too! But first let me tell you the 80,000 blocks of the Tripitaka in South Korea is not in any way an exageration. Yes many buidlings on site have been re-built or renovated, while some authentic structures still remain. The woodblock collection is incredible. Rows upon rows of these sacred texts. The Woodblocks are kept in elongated structures, that I guess have been either re-built or signifigantly altered to house the woodblocks safely. They even have an air system that keeps the woodblocks from attaining moisture. You cannot touch the woodblocks, but you can see the countless shelves holding them, and sometimes Buddist monks are studying them or they display them. The North may have an impressive collection, who "really" nows. But it is likely the number 80,000 is no coincidence, the North would not want their nomination to be inferior in anyway to Haeinsa.

Author Solivagant
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#12 | Posted: 31 Jan 2010 15:47 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I accept that there is no doubting the importance and "wonder" of the Tripitaka Koreana at Haeinsa - but did South Korea legitimately claim that it is the "most complete collection of Buddhist Texts" with the "magic" 80000 blocks (though I understand that there are actually 81340!)?
Perhaps it is, but not only totalitarian governments are prone to make unjustifed "superlative" claims when putting forward sites for inscription! The Nomination Files of all countries are scattered with such phrases - and not all are justified! But that is the nature of the "inscription Game" which UNESCO has created!

In trying to discover more about the reality of the Tripitaka Koreana in DPRK I came across this wonderful speech by the DPRK representative at a World Buddhist Forum in China.
http://www.fjdh.com/wumin/HTML/81858.html
It is an ABSOLUTE CLASSIC of DPRK-speak. For those who don't read Chinese (I don't) the Google translation is perfectly adequate in conveying the reality of "truth" in DPRK. You will learn that President Kim Il Sung gave "detailed instructions" for the preservation of the Mt Myohyang Tripitaka - and, even further, that "true to the President's intention the respected General Kim Jong Il solved all the problems arising in eternally preserving them" !!!!!!! One of the wonders of a visit to DPRK are the many pictures/movies of the Dear Leader being followed by hordes of lackies writing down his every word. We used to take great pleasure in asking our guide (whilst trying hard to keep a straight face) what exactly the Dear Leader was doing. "He is giving on the spot guidance" was ALWAYS the answer!
You couldn't make it up could you! Faced with this degree of propaganda and lack of independent evidence about the DPRK Tripitaka the reality could even be that all 80000 blocks are forged - or just possibly they are genuine??? That is half the "fun" of DPRK - everything you see could be a fiction or fact - as you say, "who knows"!

Winterkjm - you might also find this UNESCO document interesting -
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001566/156685e.pdf
Dated 2007 it contains, starting on Page 134, a report to UNESCO by one Son Kyong-Nam President, Biological Branch of State Academy of Sciences about what the DPRK has been up to. Among other things it appears that Mts Myohyang AND Paektu are being prepared as World Biosphere reserves.

One has to wonder what sort of man Mr Son Kyong-Nam is. Is he a wonderful scientist who has succeeded in reaching his exalted position in this very strangely governed country by dint of his scientific excellence, hard work and genuine care for the biology of DPRK or is he a "party animal" who has connived his way to this presumably much sought after job which comes with "foreign travel" opportunities!! Or is he, like most of us, a bit of a "trimmer" who recognises that compromises have to be made with the powers that be?

Author winterkjm
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#13 | Posted: 1 Feb 2010 02:25 
Both links were intrigueing. I am glad to hear that Mt. Myohyang and Paektu are being prepared as World Biosphere Reserves.

Your point is well taken on "superlative" claims upon inscription. Haeinsa is incredible and well deserving of its inscription, but using absolute words like "most Complete" may not be entirely accurate depending on the authenticity of the DPRK site.

I am curious. You must not be American, how were able to visit North Korea and when. If I may ask?

Author Solivagant
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#14 | Posted: 1 Feb 2010 03:45 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We went in 2005 with this company - Koryo tours. http://www.koryogroup.com/about_staff.php
You will see that they do arrange for US citizens - at one time these were only allowed in on short visas at Mass Games times but from their Newsletter it appears that, on 15 Jan, DPRK removed all "special" restrictions on US citizens!!!

The company is run by a British guy but operates out of Beijing. They seem to have quite a good relationship with the Koreans at the "personal" rather than the political level. The owner believes very much in trying to engage with DPRK on matters which, as far as possible, are "non political" - e.g Art, Football, Culture generally and, as you will see from their site, even humanitarian appeals. He has been involved in making a few movies about DPRK which you should try to see if you are at all interested in that country. One, in particular is very revealing - "A State of Mind". The 2 kids chosen who are followed through their Mass Games preparations are clearly among the relatively privileged in DPRK but not obviously from "party hack" families - I felt one got quite a good idea of their psychology!
http://www.koryogroup.com/about_films.php

Our group contained a number of "westerners" working in S Korea who flew across to Beijing and back to visit DPRK. The groups do get rather large at Mass Games times but they divide everyone up and I would recommend going at such an occasion

Author Solivagant
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#15 | Posted: 5 Mar 2010 04:15 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Further to the above issue about the apparent contradiction between the claims of South Korea and DPRK both to hold the 80000 "wooden blocks" of the Koreana Tripitaka.
I have received this comment from David A. Mason, Professor of Korean Tourism, Kyung Hee University following a contact I made after having seen an article by him about the Haeinsa Tripitaka

"My understanding is that the Joseon Dynasty had one of their royal archive repository buildings at Bohyeon-sa of Myohyang-san -- same as at Gakhwa-sa of Taebaek-san, Moak-san near Jeonju City and Cheondeung-sa of Ganghwa-do Island. These each contained copies of the extensive Joseon royal achives (on paper) and other valuable records including Buddhist scriptures. Some printing-blocks sets of any of these, possibly, but mostly printed or written on paper or silk.

I have known that the complete set of 81,340 Triptiaka Koreana wooden printing-blocks stored at Haein-sa is the only such one on the penninsula, and indeed the largest extant such one in the world. I have never heard that any copy-set of the blocks themselves had ever been made -- difficult to belive that Late-Goryeo or Joseon authorities would spend money / energy for that, or that any private group could afford to do so.

Quite a few times over 600 years, complete printings from those Haein-sa blocks were made on paper and arranged into wooden chests, often by royal command (who else could afford it?) and then given as gifts to neighboring countries (Japan got a few) or stored as library-archives at various temples.

I believe that one such ancient set of Triptiaka Koreana printouts is what was stored at the Myohyang-san Bohyeon-san royal archive repository -- and that is what North Korea now holds there as a treasure. If it remains intact and was printed well before 1900, it may indeed be worthy of inscription. The notion that they have an equal-sized set of Triptiaka Koreana wooden printing-blocks is due only to their very bad usage of English in that translation you quote.

Of course i could be wrong -- and the discovery of another set of 81,000+ woodblocks would be earth-shaking in our field!! -- but i seriously doubt it. We may rest-assured that the UNESCO evaluation process will bring us the truth, later on"
.

Anyone interested in South Korea's Buddhist spiritual and architectural heritage might want to visit his web site http://www.san-shin.org/

I have another "iron in the fire" in the form of someone who is visiting Mt Myohyang this month and has promised to try to discover more from the guides. I hope to report on this later!

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