Kobukson (Turtle Warship)

Kobukson, the world's first ironclad warship, was mapped out by Admiral Yi Sun-shin and built in 1592. As a topyonsu(a head of carpenters), Na Tae-Yong had much contribution to the construction of the warship. It could hold 130 to 150 people at most and had two stories. In the first floor soldiers paddled the ship and in the second floor cannons were fired. It had iron spikes on the roof to make enemy boarding more treacherous, exerted its mobility with 16 paddlesand 2 sails, and was used for harassing and atacking enemy. It also had 2 entrances in the front and back, and 4 emergency exits on the roof. The bow of the ship was fitted with a dragon's head and the mouth of the head poured out sulfuric fumes creating a smoke screen , making difficult for the enemy to determine the exact location of the ship. The war diaries written by Admiral Yi say that Kobukson was launched on the sea off Yosu on March 27, 1592 and equipped with Chinja and Hyonja cannons to engage in actual fighting on April 12, the day before the Japanese invaded. According to the records, the battleship began to be in action for the first time on the second departure of Admiral Yi to the front(Sachon, Tangpo, Tangwhangpo Naval Battle) and contributed to repel the Japanese enemy.




Tripitaka Koreana

The Tripitaka Koreana in Haeinsa Temple is approximately 80,000 wood blocks, carved for 16 years from 1236 A.D(the 23rd year of the reign of Kojong in Koryo Dynasty) to 1251 A.D(the 38rd year) about 750 years ago.
It is one of the greatest cultural heritages made in hopes of repelling the Mongol invaders and overcoming the crisis of the kingdom on the strength of Buddha. The materials of the wood blocks used to be known as the white birch but examination by an electron microscope revealed that the most of the blocks were made from wild cherry trees and wild pear trees. A wood block consists of the front and back sides where the Chinese characters are carved.
A wood block is 68 or 78cm long, about 24cm wide and 2.7 to 3.3cm thick. A side of a wood block has 23 lines, a line has 14 letters, therefore there are 644 letters on both sides. At the end of the back side of a wood block, the name of the block, chapter, number and name of the order of the Chinese characters are carved and the same mark is on the baulks at the left and right end. This Tripitaka Koreana of 81,258 blocks, 1511��, 680��, is breathing in Sudarajang and Bopbojon of Haein Temple.




Metal Type

The movable metal print was aleady used in Korea in the early 13th century. As examples, ��Nammyongcho'nhwasang-songjungdo��(Sermons of Sung Priest Nammyongch'on) was printed with cast metal around 1239 A.D and ��Sangjong-yemun��(Prescribed Ritual Text of the Past Present) from around 1234 A.D to 1241 A.D. These are only on records, not extant. The oldest extant movable metal type-printed book is Paekunwhasang-chorokbuljo-jikjisimcheyojol(so-called Chikjisimkyong), which are housed in the National Labrary in Paris, France.




Sukkuram Grotto

Sukkuram Grotto is one of thebest works of Buddhistic culture, showing the artistic inspiration and technics. Unlike the natural grotto temples in China and India, It is an artificial granite grotto built on the top of Mt. Tohamsan to allegedly settle down the rough wave of the sea. Sukkuram can be considered as an expression of Koreans'.phpiration to protect the nation from the external enemy. Especially, the Principal Statue has been evaluated as one of the most outstnading works of religious art and has been included on the UNESCO's World Heritage List since December, 1995.




Pulguksa Temple

The construction of Pulguksa Temple was launched on the top of Mt. Tohamsan by Prime Minister Kim Tae-Song in 751 A.D (during the reign of King Kyongdok). The temple is typical Buddhistic building of Korea and was designated as one of the UNESCO's World Heritages in December, 1995, with Sukkuram Grotto.

Pulguska's Homepage : http://www.bulguksa.or.kr/




Hangul

Korea has its native language and script. In 1443 King Sejong invented a Korean alpahbet for the common people to write Korean easily. This Korean alphabet is the very Hangul. At the time of the invention, it was called Hunminjongum, meaning "proper sounds to instruct the people." Like the meaning of ts original name, Hangul has simple and plain structures of letters, easy to learn. Its 14 consonants and 10 vowels can be combined to write almost every sound. The original and scientific structures of Hangul have been more highlighted in this informational era.




Ch'ongja Celadons

Approximately 10,000 years or 6,000 years ago, the mankind began making earthenwares. The first earthenware in Korea was made 7,000 to 8,000 years ago in the Neolithic Age. In the earlier world, earthwares and stonwares were burned below 1,100 fire degree, and only a few countries including Korea, China and Vietnam could make ceramics. Especially, Korean and Chinese ceramics had original shapes and high quality. The first Ch'ongja celadons were made during the United Shilla Kingdom, but was in full bloom during Koryo Kingdom in the 12th century. The Koryo Ch'ongja celadons were so beautiful and creative that Chinese at that time said "the bi-saek(bi-color)of Koryo celadons is the best in the world". Influenced by the arisrocratic and Buddhistic culture of Koryo, ch'onja celadons were in the height of its luxuriousness and elegance in the Late Koryo Period and disappeared after that.




Ch'omsongdae

Ch'omsongdae in Kyouingju, Kyongsangbuk-dois an astronomical observatory built during the reign of Queen Sondok, the 27th ruler of Shilla Kingdom(632-646), to observe the atmosphe�u phenomena and stars. It is the oldest extant astronomical observatory in Asia and one of the most beautiful construction with straight and curved lines combined. A interesting thing is that the numberof granites used for Ch'omsongdae equals 362, the number of days in a lunar year. How to observe the sky hasn't been discovered. However, the records saying about solar eclipses, moving and falling of the stars and the rites for the Heaven which the kings themselves hold whenever the countrysuffered from drought, flood and bad harvests, denote an extraordinary attention paid to the atmospheric phenomena in the ancient times.




Ch'ugugi

Ch'ugugi is the first rain gauge in the world invented in Korea in 1441(the 23th year of the reign of King Sejong). It consists of three parts : a cylinderical cast iron or bronz main body, a stone pillar called Ch'ugudae on which the main body is placed, and a ruler to measure the depth of rain water that was collected on the main body.








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