US returns ancient Royal Seal of King Deokjong to S. Korea

Updated: 2015-04-02 11:06


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US returns ancient Royal Seal of King Deokjong to S. Korea

A staff member shows the Royal Seal of King Deokjong during a return ceremony held in Seoul, April 1, 2015. [Photo/IC]

SEOUL - The US's Seattle Art Museum (SAM) on Wednesday returned the Royal Seal of King Deokjong made in the ancient Joseon Dynasty to South Korea.

Royal seals from the Joseon Dynasty were created to commemorate royal rituals for dynastic family members such as kings and queens. After being elaborately carved, such royal seals were consecrated in the Jongmyo Shrine.

The Royal Seal of King Deokjong was carved in 1471 by his son King Seongjong in order to commemorate a certain royal ritual for King Deokjong, which represents the majesty and spirit of the Joseon royal court. The square base of the Royal Seal of King Deokjong is surmounted by a tortoise with realistically carved face.

A US collector Thomas D. Stimson (deceased) purchased the seal from an art dealer in New York in 1962 and donated it to SAM in February, 1963 in memory of her husband.

"My grandmother believed that art connected people and helped us understand one another. She also believed that important works of art belonged in public hands for preservation and for all to enjoy and learn from. And certainly she felt that way about this important royal seal," said Frank Bayley, grandson of Stimson at the ceremony marking the return of the seal held at the National Palace Museum of South Korea in Seoul on Wednesday afternoon.

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