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Friday, 21 February 2014

Inside Changdeokgung, Part IV: Seokbokheon Pavilion


Seokbokheon Pavilion (Hanja: 錫福軒), which means the house of frugality and happiness was built as the residence for Kim Gyeongbin with the hope that she would bear offspring for King Heonjong. "Seokbok" conveys that if the queen rules her home upright, the heavens will bestow her with a crown prince filled with filial piety. The residence was therefore situated between King Heonjong's bedchamber, Nakseonjae, and his grandmother's bedchamber, Sugangjae, so that Kim could wait on the king with his mother at a close distance so as to fulfill her duty well.

Seokbokheon's wooden railings feature calabash carvings symbolizing offspring's prosperity. Ironically, the only child King Heonjong had was by another concubine, Kim Suk-ui. This daughter died in her early years.