Gyeonggi Province, North Gyeongsang Province, and South Chungcheong Province seek UNESCO registration of royal placenta chambers

Createdd 2022-04-26 Hit 25

Contents

○ Gyeonggi, North Gyeongsang, and South Chungcheong join together to lead survey and protection of royal placenta chambers
○ Striving to share results of royal placenta chamber surveys and identify world heritage value

Gyeonggi Province, in cooperation with North Gyeongsang Province and South Chungcheong Province, is seeking UNESCO World Heritage registration of royal placenta chambers, carrying out active research and preservation activities.

On April 26, Gyeonggi Province hosted the first conference with the cultural heritage research centers of each province (i.e. the Gyeonggi Cultural Heritage Research Center, the Gyeongbuk Cultural Heritage Research Center, and the Chungnam History Culture Research Center) to identify and share the world heritage value of Joseon-era royal placenta chambers.

Placenta chambers were considered sacred by the royal family as they housed the placentas and umbilical cords of newborn royal infants. Most such chambers were destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Korea and Korea’s industrialization. Gyeonggi Province, however, confirmed the existence of 65 placenta chambers last year.

This conference was hosted by Gyeonggi Province as it had proposed a joint project to North Gyeongsang Province and South Chungcheong Province. Gyeonggi has been engaging in placenta chamber survey and preservation activities in the province since 2019.

In this first conference, officials overseeing the management and protection of regional cultural heritage and researchers who took part in the placenta chamber surveys shared their results and discussed means for further progress.

Gyeonggi Cultural Heritage Research Center senior researcher Kim Jong-heon presented the results of royal placenta chamber surveys conducted in Gyeonggi Province in 2020 and the discovery of three placenta chambers in Wondang-ri of Gwangju City in 2021.

Gyeongbuk Cultural Heritage Research Center team leader Lee Dong-cheol described the performance of surveys after 2016, as well as the current designation and distribution of placenta chambers in North Gyeongsang Province. Chungnam History Culture Research Center senior researcher Kim Hoe-jeong presented the current status and research results of royal placenta chamber surveys in South Chungcheong Province, which began in 2015, as well as the features and current conditions of royal placenta chambers in each province.

After the presentations, participants discussed the identification of the placenta chambers’ value as world heritage sites; they agreed to undertake various activities such as the signing an MOU that facilitates research activities of the three provincial governments and their research centers, the hosting of regular conferences, and the hosting of international academic symposiums.

Lee Hee-wan, Director of Gyeonggi Province’s Cultural Heritage Division, commented, “Gyeonggi Province is home to 31 of 40 royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, which are world heritage sites.” He added, “This is a meaningful conference as the three regional governments, which have devoted great efforts to researching and preserving royal placenta chambers, have gathered for the first time. With this event, we will strive to highlight the culture of Joseon-era royal placenta chambers as world heritage and raise awareness.”