Shin, Byung-Ju. “Court Life and the Compilation of Uigwe during the Late Joseon.” Korean Journal. Korean National Commission for UNESCO, 2008. Web. 29 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ekoreajournal.net/issue/view_pop.htm?Idx&gt;.

Uigwe were journals of rituals and protocols intended to preserve “the wishes of previous kings” and leave a “thorough and accurate account of the way things were.”  These records illustrate with minute detail the rituals of life at court, and were intended to instruct the offices that might be responsible for organizing the next similar event.

The Uigwe for any one event was prepared by the temporary administrative office tasked with hosting that event.  Pages were arranged by date.  Several copies were produced, including one for the king and a backup copy “for the archives” (wherever that may be).  Other copies were stored at the offices related to that event.  The name of the office where the Uigwe was to be stored was written on its cover, and each Uigwe contained a list of where all of its other copies were kept.  (This indicates that government offices must have had their own archives.)

Shin Byung-Ju writes in “Court Life and the Compilation of Uigwe During the Late Joseon that,

“Together with the official annals, the uigwe produced in the second half of the Joseon dynasty were preserved in the government office of Chunchugwan (Annals Compilation Office) as well as in four other archives in the provinces for backup. The government office of Chunchugwan and the provincial archives housed, starting with the Joseon wangjo sillok, uigwe, Seonwonbo (official genealogies of the royal family), books on history, geography, and classical calligraphy, and the works of notable writers.”

The books are known to have been created even before the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty, though most of those produced in the early part of the Dynasty were lost in the Japanese invasion of 1592.  During the later part of the Dynasty, copies were printed from wood blocks and distributed to those in attendance at the event depicted.


Some Uigwe titles included:

Gyeongbokgung Palace Construction Uigwe (Gyeongbokgung joseong uigwe),

Wonhaeng eulmyo jeongni uigwe (Uigwe on King Jeongjo’s Visit to the Crown Prince Sado’s Tomb in 1795)

King Taejo’s Funeral Uigwe (Taejo gangheon daewang sangjang uigwe)

King’s Archery Uigwe (Daesarye uigwe)

State Funeral Uigwe (Gukjang dogam uigwe)

Royal Mortuary Uigwe (Binjeon honjeon dogam uigwe)

Royal Tomb Uigwe (Salleung dogam uigwe)

Royal Plowing Uigwe (Chingyeong uigwe)

Royal Sericulture Uigwe (Chinjam uigwe)

Royal Wedding Uigwe (Garye dogam uigwe)

Wonhaeng eulmyo jeongni uigwe (Uigwe on King Jeongjo’s Visit to the Crown Prince Sado’s Tomb in 1795)

Hwaseong Construction Uigwe (Hwaseong seongyeok uigwe)

Musical Composition Uigwe (Akgi joseongcheong uigwe)

of Royal Family Members’ Placenta Uigwe (Jangtae uigwe)

Royal Family Members’ Placenta Room Uigwe (Taesil uigwe)

Crown Prince Investiture
Uigwe (Seja chaengnye dogam uigwe)

Gojong’s Coronation Uigwe (Gojong daerye uigwe)

Uigwe on the Publication of New Sequel to the Conduct of the Three
Bonds Uigwe (Dongguk sinsok samgang haengsil chanjipcheong

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