This documentary heritage, collectively named the “Hanging wooden plaques in Korea” comprises
the hand-carved woodblocks with meaningful letters for hanging at the center of a traditional
building. Letters on the Hanging wooden plaques implicitly reflect moral values of building
owners. The Hanging wooden plaques can be also regarded as the work of art, that convey the
symbolic meaning of the building space by appealing to the viewer’s visual sense.
The 550 Hanging wooden plaques for the nomination of Asia/Pacific Memory of the World
register were individually entrusted to the Advanced Center for Korean Studies (ACKS) by 189
clan families and Confucian academies (seowon). Since these Hanging wooden plaques have
always been exposed to the risk of being damaged or lost by the theft as those should locate
outside buildings, thus the owners of the Hanging wooden plaques Korea were willing to
entrust them to the ACKS to preserve them securely and to conduct systematic research of
Hanging wooden plaques.
The space in where Hanging wooden plaques were posted can be categorized into four types,
according to the purpose of the buildings; residential, memorial, educational and disciplinary.
Hanging wooden plaques of residential buildings were inscribed with ancestors’ moral values,
and those for memorial buildings were to commemorate ancestors’ learning and virtue.
Hanging wooden plaques for educational building were hand-carved with letters of educational
ideology by ancestors and other sages, and those for disciplinary building reflected the
complicated meaning of relaxed taste for the elegance of virtuous scholars (Seonbi) who lived
leisurely and composed lives.
The letters of Hanging wooden plaques demonstrate the purpose of self-discipline on ancestors,
based on their individuality. The letters were made by kings, famous calligraphers, literary people,and virtuous scholars, and the style of caligraphy letters contained the spirituality and values of the time, also the calligraphers’ artistry. The letters also represent the purpose of construction and the usage of buildings.
In conclusion, Hanging wooden plaques were the symbol to demonstrate the Eastern traditional
human-spiritual based on Confucian view of the world with artistic values of calligraphy itself.
The wooden plaques are currently preserved and maintained at the Advanced Center for Korean Studies.