Five cultural assets of Korea have been missing for the last 20 years, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) revealed.
The organization posted five stolen national treasures on the “Lost Cultural Asset” category on its website, Tuesday.
Korea’s Treasure No. 1008, Mankukjeondo, is a Korean geographic map stretching 133 centimeters in width and 71.5 centimeters in height. It is unique in that the ocean and lands on the map are colored differently. The national treasure was painted by Park Yeon-sul in the second year of King Hyeonjong’s reign during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1897) in 1661. It was presumably stolen between 1993 and 1994 in Dongdaemun-gu, eastern Seoul.
Also, “Gohee Portrait and Family Relic,” designated together as national treasure No. 739, have also been included in the list of lost treasures along with two documents of “Hwangjin Family’s Ancient Documents,” national treasure No. 942.
The portraits of Gohee, a man in his 70s painted in green, have been missing since November 2012. The man in the portrait is said to be identified as a military official who escorted King Sunjo (1552-1608) during the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592.
The stolen ancient document belonged to the descendants of General Hwangjin, which King Sunjo issued in 1615 to the deceased official who died in the war at Jinju Fortress. Another missing ancient document is identified as a service exemption paper issued by Namwon’s then-region governor in 1856. The document went missing in 1993.
All the cultural assets are owned by individuals as they have been passed down through generations in the families.
The CHA official said the organization was notified of Mankukjeondo’s disappearance in 2009 and the missing Hwangjin family’s documents in 2012. The governmental body has not classified the national treasures as lost cultural properties considering they are expected to be returned soon.