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The Discovery and Preservation of Hunminjeongeum Haerye, Kansong Art Museum

The original Hunminjeongeum Haerye at the Kansong Art Museum is the only printed copy that has been preserved.

The Confucian tradition was followed during the Joseon dynasty, and it was tradition that the previous King’s achievements were passed down and preserved. However, the strong opposition by the ruling class to the creation of Hangeul, the foreign invasion after the Joseon dynasty and the war in the mid-twentieth century meant that many documents were lost, including the Hunminjeongeum Haerye. We’ll learn more about this in the next step, but the Huminjeongeum Haerye is an important document that describes the principle of the creation and how to use Hangeul in detail.

The current Hunminjeongeum Haerye was nearly lost to history, but a Korean millionaire named Jeon Hyeongpil personally invested and collected it. Hearing that the Hunminjeongeum Haerye had been discovered, Jenog Hyeongpil, he bought it from the seller for 10,000 won (the price of ten houses) even though the seller asked for only 1,000 won (the price of one house). Jeon Hyeongpil believed valuable artifacts showed be paid valuable prices. It is said when he was seeking refuge during the Korean war, he hid the Hunminjeongeum Haerye inside his clothes.

Thanks to these efforts, the original Hunminjeongeum Haerye at the Kansong Art Museum is the only printed copy that has been preserved. In the next step, we will learn about the principles of Hangeul’s character creation explained in the Hunminjeongeum Haerye.

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The Korean Alphabet: An Introduction to Hangeul

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