Thursday, October 20, 2011


Shrine by kiki5253
Shrine, a photo by kiki5253 on Flickr.

The first place we stopped was the burial grounds for posthumous King Jangjo and Queen Heongyeong and King Jeongjo and Queen Hyoui.

I learned that according to Confucian belief, the physical body and spirit separate upon death. The body is buried in a mound grave, but the spirit because it's separate, flies around and can come and go as it pleases. That's why there is a shrine in addition to a burial mound. The shrine is where the living can come and meet with the deceased spirits (ancestors).

So a couple of things I learned based on the way the Shrine is constructed in this picture. There are two raised walkways...the highest one is for the ghosts (spirits of the ancestors) and the second one is for the King and the living. The rest is just...well, stone.

On the right side there are two stairways up to the Shrine. The plain one is for the living and the ornate one is for the ancestors. When the ceremony is complete, the spirits fly away through the ceiling or windows...that's why on the left side there is only one stairwell down. That is for the living when they leave the meeting place. Interesting, no?

I don't believe in any of this, but I find the fact that the Shrine is built a certain way fascinating. Knowing that background helps explain a lot of the layout and choices made when designing a burial site like this.

I'm sure there are many structures that have layouts that are specific to Christianity too. I'll have to think about that for a little while though...nothing comes to mind right away.


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