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A STUDY ON THE CHUMSUNGDAE'S FIGURES AND FUNCTIONS

첨성대 수치와 역할에 대한 연구

  • Kim, Kwang-Tae (Department of Astronomy and Space Science, College of Natural Sciences, Chungnam National University)
  • Received : 2013.08.15
  • Accepted : 2013.08.28
  • Published : 2013.09.30

Abstract

Chumsungdae is an ancient astronomical observatory whose main role was doing 'chunmoon'. It was administrate by a royal advisory agency on state affairs. The observers observed the heaven on the observatory platform, recorded peculiar events, and watched and interpreted the signs displayed in the heaven. Chumsungdae is an stonemasonry which represents almanac principles with its peculiar shapes and the numbers of strata and stones. The numbers were thoroughly invented to match exactly the almanac constants. Chumsungdae is comprised largely of three main parts, namely the square base, the stratified cylindrical body, and the top #-shaped stonework, and the total number of stones is 404. The number of the strata (27) and the height of the cylindrical body (27 尺) stand for the days in a sidereal month (27.3 days), which implies that the motion of the Moon with respect to the stars was given more priority than to the Sun at that time of geocentricism. And the cylindrical body was thoroughly designed to consist of 365 stones, which is of course the number of days in a solar year. In addition, there are 12 strata each under and above the south entrance and this in sum makes the 24 divisions of the year. Also there is 182 stones below the 13th stratum and this represents the number of days in the winter ~ summer solstice period, and the rest 183 stones the vice versa. The #-shaped top stonework was aligned in such a way that one of the diagonals points the direction of sunrise on the winter solstice. The square base also layed with the same manner. The south entrance was built 16 degrees SE, and the upright direction of the right pillar stone coincides with the meridian circle. This was a kind of built-in standard meridian circle facilitating the observations. In a symbolic sense, Chumsungdae was thought as the tunnel reaching the heaven, where the observers wished to be enlightened with the signs and inspirations in need. With the craftsmanship and skill, the builder reinforced the stratified cylindrical body with two sets of #-shaped beam stones, piercing at a right angle at 19th ~ 20th and 25th ~ 26th strata. Likewise, by placing the double #-shaped stonework with 8 beam stones on the platform of the observatory, both the stability of the stonemasonry and a guard rail for the nightly observers were securely provided.

Keywords

history of astronomy;archaeoastronomy;ancient observatory;Chumsungdae

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