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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part XXV: Jeonju Hyanggyo, Jeonju Wansan-gu, Northern Jeolla

Jeonju Hyanggyo (Hanja: 全州鄕校) in 139 Hyanggyo Alley/Hyanggyo-gil, Gyodong 26-3 beonji, Jeonju Wansan-gu, Northern Jeolla Province is a Confucian school that was established during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and is designated historical treasure No. 379. This was a national education center during the Joseon period. 

The school was originally located at the Gyeonggijeon Shrine site. However, Gyeonggijeon Shrine and Jeonju Hyanggyo were completely destroyed during Japanese Imjin Invasion in 1592. In 1603 (36th reigning year of King Seonjo of Joseon Dynasty), the hyanggyo was rebuilt and relocated at the present location in the vicinity of Jeonju Hanok Village.

The memorial enshrinement area centers around the Daeseongjeon (Confucian shrine hall) in the front - where the mortuary tablets of seven Chinese Confucian scholars and 18 Korean scholars are enshrined in the main building, while the educational area centers around the Myeongyundang (lecture hall) that is located the rear. There are 99 rooms at the Jeonju Hyanggyo - an unusual configuration for a hyanggyo throughout Korean Peninsula.