Friday, May 18, 2012

Buddhist order protests state ownership of missing relic

The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the nation’s largest Buddhist sect, on Friday protested the planned donation of a missing relic to the government by an individual.

In a press release issued Friday night, the Jogye Order questioned whether a proper investigation into the original source of the “Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon Sangjubon,” which it claims was looted from one of its temples, had taken place. It also questioned why an individual is donating the priceless cultural property to the government. 

Unbeknownst to the Jogye Order, the state-run Cultural Heritage Administration had planned a special event for Monday during which the current legal owner of the missing copy of the Hunminjeongeum will hand over his ownership to the state. 

The Hunminjeongeum is a text explaining the Korean writing system Hangeul, invented by King Sejong in 1443. 

“We did not know about this at all,” said Park Sang-jun of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism’s cultural heritage division. “We think it was unethical of the government to do something like this without telling us. They should’ve at least told us.”

Jo Yong-hun, the current owner and antique dealer, had purchased the book from a man named Seo in 1999. The Buddhist sect  claims Seo looted the book from Gwangheung Temple in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, in the late 1990s. Seo last year testified in court that he did indeed steal the book from the temple.....

Continue reading at The Korea Herald

No comments:

Post a Comment