Nakseonjae is a complex of relatively simple buildings in the corner of Changdeokgung Palace, which is a World Heritage Site. As you can see, it has much plainer colors than most of the other palace buildings.
This set of buildings was built in 1847 to serve as the residence for the king’s grandmother and the king’s concubine.
It is built in Qing-dynasty Chinese style. The Joseon kingdom initially had bad relations with the Qing dynasty since they considered the Ming to be the legitimate rulers of the Chines empire, but after the Qing ruled China for about a century and it was obvious that the Ming were never coming back, Joseon had a much more diplomatic relationship with the Qing. Evidently, by 1847, the Joseon rulers were even willing to copy Qing style.
While living in Taiwan, I saw a number of Shaw-Brothers movies (from Hong Kong) which are set in the Qing era, not to mention multiple visits to Taipei’s National Palace Museum with its permanent exhibit of Qing furniture, so I associate Qing-style high-class architecture with feelings of leisurely times in Taiwan.
Incidently, when I was wandering around Nakseonjae (on my own, not with the guided tour), of all things, I started thinking about Carl Barks’ duck comics, and how much my father loves those comics, and the large role they played in his childhood. Of all of the things I could think about while wandering an old royal palace in Korea, THAT is what I think about.
That particular train of thought got so ingrained that, whenever I see these photos again, I think about Carl Barks, the duck comics, and how much my father loves them again.
Well. I had known before I came to South Korea that my father had been to Seoul briefly, and that a South Korean woman had even given him a little tour of the city.
What I didn’t know (or remember) is that the woman had brought my father to see a Korean palace during his brief visit to Seoul. I found this out days after I had visited Changdeokgung, shortly after I was back in North America. Based on the photos, my father thinks that palace is Changdeokgung, since the photos look familiar to him. Also, it was probably the palace which was in the best state in the early 1970s, which is when he was there.
However, he most likely did not visit Nakseonjae, since it wasn’t opened to the public until 2006.
Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to relate the story of my father’s visit to Seoul in an earlier post about Changdeokgung – in a part which he actually visited – but since this is the part of Changdeokgung where I was actually thinking about my father, this is where I’m mentioning it.
So, in case you haven’t figured out where the mystery place is yet, you will find out in the next post.