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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part V: Daegu Hyanggyo, Daegu Jung-gu

The Daegu Hyanggyo (Hanja: 大邱鄕校) which is located at 112 Myeongnyun Avenue/Myeongnyunno, Namsan-dong, Daegu Jung-gu was founded in 1398 during the reign of King Taejo Yi Seong-gye, Founder of Joseon Dynasty. During the Japanese Imjin Invasion in 1592 it was completely burned down. In 1599 the Daegu Hyanggyo was rebuilt near Dalseong Park but was relocated to the original 1398 site of Dalseong Park in 1605 and then back to the Gyodong area again. 1932 saw the hyanggyo again relocated to its present location in Namsan-dong, just south of downtown Daegu. In 1973 Hyanggyo at Daegu underwent a full restoration.

In the traditional layout of a hyanggyo, the Main Hall (Daeseong-jeon) is located in front of the study hall (Myeongnyundang), and this was the original layout when it was first built. The present layout, however, shows a new arrangement in which the Daeseong-jeon is in the center at the north, facing a wide courtyard, and the Myeongnyun-dang is placed to the right of it. On the left (west) is the enclosure which contains the memorial tablet for Confucius and famous Confucian scholars of Daegu.

Daeseongjeon is a majestic building, 3 kans in width and 3 kans deep beneath a gabled roof. The Daeseongjeon is the shrine for Confucius and other famous anscestors, where a ritual called Seokjeon is performed in honor of Confucius every year in the 2nd and 8th lunar month. Of particular note is that this Daeseongjeon has its eaves bracketed in a multi-cluster style, despite it being an uncommon architectural style for Daeseongjeon built at other hyanggyos, in those days. Daeseongjeon is designated as Daegu Metropole Local Cultural Material #1.

Daegu Hyanggyo is down a street in between Myeongdeok (Station 129) and Banwoldang Station (Station 130/230) on DTRO Lines 1 and 2 respectively. If you get out of either station and walk in the direction of the other one, you'll eventually come across Nammun Market and an intersection running east-west. If you head east down this road, about 5 minutes past English Plus, you'll eventually see it on your right side.