Secret Korean Alphabet with Documents Found
- Korea's First Alphabet found hidden - sewn into King's hatSeamstresses secretly hid away first Korean alphabet with its explanations, by sewing it inside lining of King's embroidered hat, and as was the ancient custom, to bury it with him.
4 Mar 2013
King Segong as pictured on the Korean 10,000 won note. A startling find inside the king’s hat has shed light on the beginnings of the Korean alphabet. LEEMAGE/ AFP
A hat which belonged to South Korea’s most revered monarch King Sejong has been recovered more than 500 years after it was looted by Japanese invaders, a senior scholar said Wednesday.
Apart from its intrinsic value as an historical relic, the discovery has thrilled scholars after documents were found stitched inside the hat carrying explanations of King Sejong’s greatest legacy — the Hangeul alphabet.
The monarch known as Sejong the Great ruled from 1418-1450. His reign had a profound impact on Korean history with the introduction of the Hangeul phonetic alphabet that replaced classical Chinese characters.
Hangeul vastly increased literacy — previously restricted to the top scholarly class — and remains the official script of both South and North Korea...
Hangeul Day commemorating the alphabet’s creation is a public holiday.
Lee Sang-Gyu, a professor of Korean language and literature at Kyungpook National University, told journalists that the Ikseongwan (cicada-wing hat) was purchased in Japan last year by a South Korean collector.
“This hat will help shed light on details on the creation of Hangeul and ancient royal costumes,” Lee said.
The documents are believed to be at least two years older than the hitherto oldest documents explaining the principles behind the creation of the Korean alphabet, he said. The hat is believed to be one of many royal relics looted during the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 16th century, Lee said.
The outside is composed of pieces of brown and dark cloth embroidered in gold, and the inside of fine red cloth. The documents were found hidden in between the two...
excerpts from: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/ancient-kings-hat-holds-clues-to-korean-alphabet/