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Tomb of King Seongjong and his wife Queen Jeonghyeonwanghu | by adamgn
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Tomb of King Seongjong and his wife Queen Jeonghyeonwanghu

The spirit tablets of the Joseon kings and queens are in Jongmyo, but their tombs are scattered all over Seoul. The tombs are elaborate but mostly underground, and were the scene of rituals to remember the dead who were officially mourned for three years according to Confucian rules. The tombs of King Seongjong (ruled 1469-94), his third wife, Queen Jeonghyeonwanghu, and his second son, King Jeongjong (ruled 1506-44), are in this wooded park.


King Seongjong is remembered as a prolific author and father (he had 28 children by 10 concubines), while King Jeongjong ruled for a long time but was a weak king. The entranceway to the tombs is marked by a red spirit-gate with spikes on the top, and a small hall used for ceremonies to honour the dead. The tombs follow the Chinese style and are guarded by larger-than-life stone statues of warriors and government officials along with smaller statues of horses, tigers and imaginary animals that look like sheep. The stone lanterns, pillars and pathways are there to guide the spirits back home. From subway Exit 8 walk straight ahead for 500m (five minutes) and the entrance is on the right.

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Taken on February 14, 2010