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Astronomy of the Joseon Dynasty
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information on Korean stamp
Date of Issue : 2021.04.21
Types : 4
Denomination : 380 won
Design :
Stamp No. : 3505
Printing Process
& Colors
: null
Size of Stamp : 30 × 40
: 4 + (4 × 4)
Image Area : 30 × 40
Paper : null
Perforation : 13⅓ × 13⅓
Printer : POSA
Designer : Kim Mihwa
Quantity : null
Korea`s traditional sciences developed with astronomy. Astronomy, meaning the study of celestial objects, is the study of everything in the universe beyond Earth`s atmosphere. Ever since prehistoric times, Koreans left behind various records after observing the sky, and developed advanced science and technology during the Joseon dynasty following the Three Kingdoms and the Goryeo dynasty. In celebration of the 54th Science Day on April 21, Korea Post is issuing the commemorative stamp Astronomy of the Joseon Dynasty to reflect on Korea`s extraordinary astronomical achievements and progress. Agriculture-based science and technology developed further with astronomy after the founding of the Joseon dynasty, and reached high peak during the reign of King Sejong. Seoungwan (Bureau of Astronomy), which was founded during the Goryeo dynasty, was responsible for astronomy, geography and meteorology during the Joseon dynasty, and was renamed Gwansanggam in 1434 (16th year of the reign of King Sejong). Calendrical astronomy was researched heavily and astronomical instruments were produced actively during the reign of King Sejong, under whom the Joseon dynasty enjoyed its golden age of astronomy. In 1434, scientists Jang Yeong-sil and Kim Bin created the automatic striking clepsydra Jagyeongnu as ordered by the king to create a machine that automatically tells time. Jagyeongnu installed in Borugak Pavilion south of Gyeonghoeru Pavilion in Gyeongbokgung Palace was used as the standard clock during the Joseon dynasty. The Cultural Heritage Administration restored the original form of Jagyeongnu from the extant water container in 2007, and it is currently displayed in the National Palace Museum of Korea. Following the automatic striking clepsydra, a sundial called Angbuilgu was also created during the reign of King Sejong. Angbuilgu holds its status as the first public sundial in Korea, having been installed on Hyejeonggyo Bridge and south of Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul. The name Angbuilgu derives from Chinese characters meaning looking up at the sun and telling the time by the shadow cast down on the cauldron-shaped instrument. Angbuilgu is a hemispherical metal sundial with an arm and a needle that indicates the time and season. Ilseongjeongsiui (Sun-and-Stars Time-Determining Instrument) is unique astronomical instrument invented during the reign of King Sejong that observes the sun during the day and stars during the night to tell time. It not only revealed the time but also the location of celestial bodies when positioned towards north and the celestial body aligned with the solid line. It has been known that Ilseongjeongsiui was first produced in 1437 (19th year of the reign of King Sejong). It was installed in the royal palace and Seoungwan as well as various regions to allow people to tell time during the day and even at night. The base and the round loop, which checks the location of celestial bodies, still remains today, and artifacts restoring the original form are displayed in various places across Korea. A rain gauge called Cheugugi was invented in 1441 (23rd year of the reign of King Sejong) to measure rainfall for the sake of agriculture to predict droughts and floods. Cheugugi was made of bronze comprising three attachable cylinders with a sealed bottom. The cylinder measures 1 cheok and 5 chon (31.86cm) tall and 7 chon (15.3cm) wide. Cheugugi measured precipitation by measuring the depth of rainwater collected in the cylinder with a rod, and it preceded a similar one made in Europe by more than two centuries. While Cheugugi was produced several times during the Joseon dynasty, Cheugugi from Gongju, Chungcheong-do made in 1837 (3rd year of the reign of King Heonjong) is the only extant one today. Designated as National Treasure No. 329, it is currently exhibited at the National Meteorological Museum of Korea in Dongjak-gu, Seoul. Four Joseon astronomical instruments in the stamp represent commitments made by the Joseon dynasty which tried to develop its original calendrical astronomy and weather observations by applying astronomical knowledge from China. We hope that the commemorative stamp Astronomy of the Joseon Dynasty piques your interest and inspires you to see them in person to learn more about the features and functions of each instrument.