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Monday, 5 May 2014

Tomb of Grand Prince Imyeong, Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province: Another story from the fourth son of King Sejong the Great


Grand Prince Im-yeong (hanja: 臨瀛大君; Born: January 6th 1420 ~ Died: January 21st 1469) was the fourth prince of King Sejong the Great and his consort, Queen Soheon of Cheongsong Shim Clan was distinguished in learning and well versed in poems, books, history and military strategic books and showed an outstanding ability in making freight vehicles. He found a great favor with King Sejong. His tomb and shrine are situated on the middle part of Mt. Morak behind Neungan Village, Naeson-dong san 154-1 beonji, Uiwang City, Gyeonggi Province.

As an historical aside, the apparent legend regarding the naming of the mountain is a good story in itself. A certain 15th century Grand Prince Imyeong, the 4th son of  the historically revered King Sejong the Great, retreated to Mount Morak after his nephew, the teenage King Danjong - son of King Munjong, was assassinated by Grand Prince Imyeong’s older brother King Sejo a.k.a Grand Prince Suyang in a coup d’etat. Apparently the boy king was initially demoted to prince and simply exiled but upon further consideration the usurper dispatched henchmen who locked him in his room and burned him alive in Yeongwol, Gangwon Province.

Grand Prince Imyeong, an accomplished scholar with a possible penchant for designing freight vehicles, from then onward harbored ill will toward his murderous brother, the new king, and was said to have hiked Mount Morak daily- to what end one can only guess at by dwelling on the circumstance. Anyway, if as legend has it this is the origin of the mountain’s name it ties in anecdotally with mother-in-law’s aversion to the hill, based on nothing more than that name. Morak seems to be some derivative or homonym for another local word that has mortal or fatal implications. Though I have yet to discover a direct translation. Imyeong was, in the end, buried at Mount Morak where a tomb and shrine still tether his legend to the mountain.