The oldest Taegeukgi in Korea is now on display at the National Museum of Korea through Aug. 23. (National Museum of Korea)
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Korea‘s liberation from Japanese colonial rule this Saturday, the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, is putting the country’s oldest Taegeukgi, the national flag, on display in its Korean Empire Hall through Aug. 23.
The oldest known extant Taegeukgi is held by the Smithsonian museum.
Gojong, the last Joseon king and and the first Emperor of Korea, presented the flag to his diplomatic adviser Owen N. Denny from the US when Denny left office after earning the displeasure of the Qing in 1890. Although Denny was appointed to his diplomatic adviser post at the recommendation of Qing Dynasty in 1886, he took on Gojong’s determination to have independent diplomacy and criticized Qing’s intervention in Joseon politics. He also helped Joseon form diplomatic relationships with European countries, including Russia, with the aim of keeping the Qing in check.
“Denny’s Taegeukgi“ measures 263 centimeters in width and 180 centimeters in length, and the four trigrams in the corners are not the present day Taegeukgi’s color of black, but blue. Denny’s descendant William Ralston donated the flag to Korea in 1981.
Another Taegeukgi of the era held by Christian missionary William Arthur Noble as well as a special clip showing the history of Taegeukgi are also being shown at the museum. A copy of French daily “Le Petit Journal” featuring Korean Empire‘s representation at the 1900 Paris Exposition will also be on display.
The National Museum of Korea has been showing “Denny’s Taegeukgi” during Liberation Day week for the past few years.
By Lim Jang-won (firstname.lastname@example.org