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from the Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392-1897) periods, tracing the events,
conflicts, and achievements that marked the two most significant periods of Korea’s
Exhibition Scale 4,401.59㎡
- Struggle and Spirit
- From the 10th to the 12th century, with global shipping and trade routes extending further and further, Northeast Asia—comprising the Goryeo Dynasty, the Song Dynasty, the Kitan, and the Jurchens (Jin Dynasty)—played a decisive role in the international economic and political system that was being shaped. Amidst such complex developments, the Goryeo Dynasty pursued its domestic interests through practical foreign policies and decisive military actions. However, Goryeo’s aristocratic system was threatened by several internal conflicts, particularly those led by Yi Jagyeom (1126) and Myocheong (1135). These struggles were followed by a military revolt (Musin Jeongbyeon) in 1170, in which the military seized power from the literati.
- More internal conflicts ensued until the Choe family took unilateral control of the military government in 1196. Under the strong hand of the Choe family, the domestic issues finally settled down, but a foreign threat emerged in the 13th century in the form of the Mongols, who had recently dominated virtually the entire Chinese continent. The Choe government moved the capital city to relative safety on Ganghwado and battled the Mongol invaders for about 30 years. The wish to defeat the Mongols was inscribed on the Tripitaka Koreana, more than 80,000 wood blocks stored at Haeinsa Temple.
- Whether at war or in peace, the Goryeo people were faithful practitioners of Buddhism who used various Buddhist rituals to pray for their individual wishes. But the spiritual world of Goryeo included not only Buddhism, but also Confucianism, Taoism, folk religions, geomancy, and many other systems of belief in harmonious co-existence.