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Priceless treasures returned to Korea Updated: 2014-04-30 13:05:13 KST

The recent two-day visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Korea resulted in more than just talks with President Park Geun-hye.
He also returned a few Korean national treasures, and our Yim Yoonhee joins us today for our arts and culture segment for a closer look at them.
Good afternoon.

Good afternoon.
That's right. President Obama returned nine seals to Korea that date back to the Joseon Dynasty and Daehan Empire.
They were discovered in San Diego, California last year and handed over to the U.S. government, and finally after so many years, they're back home where they belong.
Let's take a look.

They were taken from Korea more than 60 years ago, picked up in a ditch near a ransacked Deoksu Palace.
During the Korean War, many of Korea's cultural properties and artifacts were either lost or stolen.
But nine of them have returned.
The national treasures from the Joseon Dynasty and Daehan Empire were recovered from the possesions of a former U.S. marine lieutenant who picked them up years ago.
While he was unaware of their value, the President of the United States does.

[soundbyte] - Obama
"This is a symbol of respect that we have for Korean culture and the country."

[President Park Geun-hye]
"The return of these historic artifacts is extremely meaningful, and we're thankful to
President Obama and the people of the United States."

Although all the artifacts are priceless with regard to Korea's culture, one is of particular worth.
The Hwangjejibo seal, which was the national seal of the emperor, was created upon the establishment of the Daehan Empire in 1897 and symbolized Korea's desire for independence.

There was also the Sugangtaehwangjebo, which was the royal seal of the former emperor Sugang.
It was carved to commemorate a 1907 royal rite bestowing Emperor Gojong with the title of Great Emperor.

Both the Yuseojibo and the Junmyeongjibo were used for
official purposes.
The Yuseojibo was used in the certificate of appointment for public officials and the Junmyeongjibo was used in educational letters.

The five other signets that were returned were used to stamp books or paintings in the Joseon Royal court.
These seals were used in official documents hundreds of years ago in lieu of a signature.
Now they're priceless cultural assets.

Has the value of these seals been estimated?

These aren't the first historical artifacts from Korea to be discovered.
Just last year, another seal belonging to Queen Munjeong that was stolen illegally off of a shrine in Korea, was returned after being purchased unknowningly for quite a sum of money at an art auction.
These particular seals were given an estimated value by experts of tens of millions of dollars in the art market.

And now that they've been returned to Korea, what are the future plans for them?

There are plans for the seals to be displayed at the National Palace Museum as early as next month.
These are considered to be the most valuable items of cultural heritage to ever be repatriated, but there are still 30 or so royal and national signets that have yet to be returned.
So there are plans to hopefully bring them back to Korea in the future.

Thank you for that report.

Always a pleasure.
Reporter :
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
본 저작물 중 본문에 해당하는 뉴스 스크립트(텍스트)는 공공누리 제1유형-출처표시 조건에 따라 이용할 수 있습니다.