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The Abuse and Invention of Tradition from Maintenance Process of Historic Site No.135 Buyeo Gungnamji Pond

사적 제135호 부여 궁남지의 정비과정으로 살펴본 전통의 남용과 발명

  • Jung, Woo-Jin (Korea-China Cultural Research of Sangmyung University)
  • 정우진 (상명대학교 한중문화정보연구소)
  • Received : 2017.05.03
  • Accepted : 2017.06.10
  • Published : 2017.06.30

Abstract

Regarded as Korea's traditional pond, Gungnamj Pond was surmised to be "Gungnamji" due to its geological positioning in the south of Hwajisan (花枝山) and relics of the Gwanbuk-ri (官北里) suspected of being components to the historical records of Muwang (武王)'s pond of The Chronicles of the Three States [三國史記] and Sabi Palace, respectively, yet was subjected to a restoration following a designation to national historic site. This study is focused on the distortion of authenticity identified in the course of the "Gungnamji Pond" restoration and the invention of tradition, whose summarized conclusions are as follows. 1. Once called Maraebangjuk (마래방죽), or Macheonji (馬川池) Pond, Gungnamji Pond was existent in the form of a low-level swamp of vast area encompassing 30,000 pyeong during the Japanese colonial period. Hong, Sa-jun, who played a leading role in the restoration of "Gungnamji Pond," said that even during the 1940s, the remains of the island and stone facilities suspected of being the relics of Gungnamji Pond of the Baekje period were found, and that the traces of forming a royal palace and garden were discovered on top of them. Hong, Sa-jun also expressed an opinion of establishing a parallel between "Gungnamji Pond" and "Maraebangjuk" in connection with a 'tale of Seodong [薯童說話]' in the aftermath of the detached palace of Hwajisan, which ultimately operated as a theoretical ground for the restoration of Gungnamj Pond. Assessing through Hong, Sa-jun's sketch, the form and scale of Maraebangjuk were visible, of which the form was in close proximity to that photographed during the Japanese colonial period. 2. The minimized restoration of Gungnamji Pond faced deterrence for the land redevelopment project implemented in the 1960s, and the remainder of the land size is an attestment. The fundamental problem manifest in the restoration of Gungnamji Pond numerously attempted from 1964 through 1967 was the failure of basing the restorative work in the archaeological facts yet in the perspective of the latest generations, ultimately yielding a replication of Hyangwonji Pond of Gyeongbok Palace. More specifically, the methodologies employed in setting an island and a pavilion within a pond, or bridging an island with a land evidenced as to how Gungnamji Pond was modeled after Hyangwonji Pond of Gyeongbok Palace. Furthermore, Chihyanggyo (醉香橋) Bridge referenced in the designing of the bridge was hardly conceived as a form indigenous to the Joseon Dynasty, whose motivation and idea of the misguided restoration design at the time all the more devaluated Gungnamji Pond. Such an utterly pure replication of the design widely known as an ingredient for the traditional landscape was purposive towards the aesthetic symbolism and preference retained by Gyeongbok Palace, which was intended to entitle Gungnamji Pond to a physical status of the value in par with that of Gyeongbok Palace. 3. For its detachment to the authenticity as a historical site since its origin, Gungnamji Pond represented distortions of the landscape beauty and tradition even through the restorative process. The restorative process for such a historical monument, devoid of constructive use and certain of distortion, maintains extreme intimacy with the nationalistic cultural policy promoted by the Park, Jeong-hee regime through the 1960s and 1970s. In the context of the "manipulated discussions of tradition," the Park's cultural policy transformed the citizens' recollection into an idealized form of the past, further magnifying it at best. Consequently, many of the historical sites emerged as fancy and grand as they possibly could beyond their status quo across the nation, and "Gungnamji Pond" was a victim to this monopolistic government-led cultural policy incrementally sweeping away with new buildings and structures instituted regardless of their original space, and hence, their value.

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