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Palace Architecture of Ch'cagdok-kung

-Yoon, Chang Sup (Member,National Academy of Sciences)



-Cultural Background
-Characteristics of Korean Architecture
-Site Palanning and Rear Garden
-
Architecture of Injong-jon
-References



4.Architecture of Injong-jun



l . Chronicle and Function of the Building

Ch'angdok Palace was first built as a detached palace in 1405, and was complete1y burnt down during the Japanese invasion of 1592. lt was magnificently rebuilt in 1609 and was used as the principal palace for 258 years until the construction of Kyongbok Palace in 1867.

Injong-jon, or the Throne Hall, is the main building of the palace. The extant building was reconstructed in l804. According to the record of the reconstruction works, "lnjong-jon-Kunyong-Togam-Uikwei", the building was completely burnt down a second time at the end of 1803. Immediately after the accident a project was undertaken to restore the building as before.

The "lnjong-Jon-Joongsu-Uikwei" of 1857 records a major repair works of the Throne Hall in which most of the important building members were retained but some of the rafters, small bearing blocks of bracket set systems and roof tiles were replaced by new materials. Therefore, this building maintains the typical architectural features representative of the eighteenth century. When Kunjong-jon, the Throne Hall of Kyongbok Palace was rebuilt in l867, Injong-jon became a model for the construction of the new Throne Hall building.

Injong-jon and the royal courtyard were used as ceremonial space for the enthronement of kings and as the audience hall for foreign delegates and royal subjecre. The space was also utilized for celebrations and banquets on national holidays such as the New Year's Day, the Autumn Full moon Day, royal birthdays and so on. On these occasions the events were held on such a large and extensive scale that the activity area used to be extended to include the outdoor space of the royal courtyards.

The paintings of the royal banquets at Injong-jon clearly show scenes depicting activities at the Throne Hall and outdoor space of the royal courtyards. In these events a large tent was installed in front of the hall and above foe upper terrace of the platform to provide shade for the activities. In the central path of the courtyard twelve "rank stones" are lined up along each side of the central stone path to indicate the location of civil and militay officials in accordance with each of their rank in the royal court.

2. Architectural Chatacteristics

The platform of Injong-jon consists of a two layered stone terrace with central stairways in front and on both sides, but with no balustrades provided on each terrace. The stairways located in front of the terraces flank a central carved stone ramp. The king used to be carried on the royal sedan chair over the central ramp by the attendants up the stairs (Fig, 3, Fig, 4).

The dimensions of plan of the hall are 81 feet long, 61 feet deep, having five bays in front and four bays on both side with l8 outer columns and 8 inner long columns. The building has double storied roofs and the inner central space of three bays by two bays is open up to the second story. It renders a spatial qua lity of grandeur in the extemal appearance of the building and provtides a sublime internal atmosphere for the inner space of the royal Throne Hall. On a diagonal five feet from the center of comer column of the buililding hip long columns are located. The hip beams of the lower story roof are inserted into the flank of the hip long colunmns. Outer columns of the upper story are lined with the hip long columns and rest on the beams which are supported the one end by the outer columns of the lower story and the other end inserted into the flank of the inner long columns.

The bracket systems consist of three projecting tiers outside and four projecting tiers inside. In the centra] bay three sets of intercolumnar bracket sets are arranged and two intercolumnar bracket sets are arranged in all of the other bays. The bracket sets, which are parallel to the beams, have ontside slanted arms whose ends turn slightly upwards. On the top of the columnar bracket sets the head of the beam protrudes above the s]anted arms. In rhe intercolumnar bracket sets, one wingshaped arm and the cloud-shaped shoe piece for the purlin, are provided above the slanted arms. A11 of the bracket ends of the inside arms are shaped in cloud forms called, 'wun-kong'. Several hundreds of these protruding cloud forms render a dramatic spatial quality in the internal overhead space of the Throne Hall. It is the author's interpretation that the abundance of these protruding cloud forms have some symbolic meaning, intended to create a space covered with good omen. A unique member called the 'Ancho-Kong' was inserted at the top of every column in the direction of beams embracing the lintel, upper plate, principal bearing blocks and the top of the column to reinforce the joints of the members (Fig. 5).

The space dominated by Injong-jon, the climax of an absolute hierarchical order, renders such a dramatic and magnificent effect that the dignity of the dynasty can be strongly felt. With special visual design, the Throne Hall, as the focus of the bulilding complex, provides an outstanding and magnificent quality of architectural space.

Throne Hall eloquently represents the typical architectural style of the late Choson dynasty. The style was developed with the unique intention to express the ideas and values of the period. The bracket set systems, which were structurally and visually important building elements, were developed into a form that followed structural function and also expressed unique beauty in Korean architecture. Architectural ornaments and their symbolic connotation had great variety and richness. Architects of the period demonstrated a strong will to form a distinctive architectural expression so that the decorative elements of all kind had come to be more utilized. They acchieved a kind of symphonic quality, with the methods of impressive spatial organization including strong contrast of light and dark, of simplicity and complexity. In the building of Injong-jon, we see the climax of architectural expression.


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