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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Royal Tomb of King GongYang, Goyang DeogYang-gu, Gyeonggi Province: Final King of Goryeo Dynasty

King GongYang (Hangul/Hanja: 공양왕/恭讓王; Born: March 9th 1345 - Assassinated: May 17th 1394, Reigned: 1389 – 1392), whose born as Wang Yo (왕요/王瑤) was the 34th and Last King of Goryeo Dynasty. He was only nominal king that Yi Seonggye (Later King Taejo), the founder of Joseon who let him ascended the Goryeo Dynasty throne.

Gongyang was a seventh-generation descendant of King Sinjong of Goryeo, and the son of Wang Gyun, the Internal Prince Jeongwon (정원부원군/定原府院君). He married the daughter of Prince Changseong, Sunbi of the Gyoha Roh clan. In 1389, Yi Seonggye's supporters forced King Chang from the throne and enthroned Gongyang in his stead. This faction went on to oversee the events of Gongyang's brief reign, including the assassinations of Gongyang's predecessors, King Woo and King Chang.

After the murder of Jeong Mong-ju, the last major supporter of the Goryeo kings, Gongyang was deposed and the Goryeo dynasty came to an end. With the foundation of Joseon, he was expelled to Wonju in Gangwon Province and murdered with his two sons, including Crown Prince Jeongseong Wang Seok (정성군 왕석/定城君 王奭) at the third year of King Taejo (1394).

The Royal Tomb of King GongYang in Wondang-dong san 65-6 beonji, Goyang DeogYang-gu, Gyeonggi Province is arranged in the style of twin tombs with the gravestone and the stone table placed in front and the lantern and the stone tiger statue between them.

The tiger statue carries the traditional Goryeo style but is similar to that of Taejo's and Taejong's tombs, which were constructed in the early part of the Joseon Dynasty. Images of the civil and military vassals stand on both sides of the tomb. The stone figures in front of the tombs are simple in style, conveying a sense of being dwarfed.

The gravestone seems to have been built at the time of constructing the tombs, but the stone indicates that this is the tomb of King GongYang, and it is known to have been built during the reign of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu of Joseon. There are others who claim that King GongYang is buried in Samcheok, Gangwon Province, where he was banished and murdered.