A Study on Inscribed Celadons Excavated from the Goryeo Palace Site

고려궁성 출토 명문·기호 청자 고찰

Park, Jiyoung

  • Received : 2019.03.22
  • Accepted : 2019.05.07
  • Published : 2019.06.30


This study aimed to provide new interpretations of the ceramics excavated from the archaeological site of the royal palace of Goryeo (918~1392), where only limited access was permitted due to its location in Gaeseong, North Korea. The interpretations were based on the existing understanding of the arrangement of the palace buildings at the site and historical records. The study of the general aspects of the celadons discovered during eight excavations at the Goryeo Palace site in Gaeseong revealed that most of the vessels found at the site were produced during the early and middle phases of the Goryeo dynasty. The study involved classifying the celadons bearing inscribed texts and symbols into 18 different types according to their characteristic features and periods of production. The inscribed celadons have provided detailed information of the site where they were found, thereby making it possible to make strong presumptions about the date of construction, function, and status of the building in the palace connected with the discoveries. The excavations from the Goryeo Palace site and related historical literature suggest that the celadons bearing the inscription "Sojeon (燒錢)" were used during the first half of the 13th century, although the existing view had been that they were used during the second half of the century. This new conclusion is based on the use of the symbols ${\circ}$ and ${\odot}$, the celadons found together with the Sojeon-inscribed celadons, the date of the celadons bearing the inscription "Seong (成)," and the location of their discovery behind the site of Seongyeongjeon (aka Hoegyeongjeon) Hall, which had been one of the main palace buildings. The Taoist rituals performed for the safety of the Goryeo dynasty were largely held at Ganganjeon (aka Daegwanjeon) Hall in the western part of the royal palace during the second half of the 13th century. It was mostly in the first half of the 13th century just before the transfer of the Goryeo government from Gaeseong to Ganghwa (1232~1270) that the Taoist rituals were held at the location near Seongyeongjeon Hall, where archaeologists found the Sojeon-inscribed celadons. Therefore, the large number of celadon cups with holders, including those inscribed with Sojeon, discovered during the eighth excavation of the palace site suggests that they were used for the rituals held at Seongyeongjeon Hall during the first half of the 13th century.


Goryeo Royal Palace in Gaeseong;Manwoldae;Inscribed celadons;Sojeon;Taoist rituals