Upcoming Exhibitions

Overview The Medieval and Early Modern History section displays historical and cultural items
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
national development.

Exhibition Scale 4,401.59㎡

Joseon Dynasty II Exhibition Room Preview(VR)


  • Age of Sarim and Foreign Relations
  • During the 16th century, a new political class of Neo-Confucian scholars emerged, who came to dominate the social, cultural, and political function of Joseon. This group was known as Sarim, and they gained power by adapting the established principles of Neo-Confucian to the contemporary reality and ruling strategies of Joseon. Lively philosophical debates among Sarim members resulted in the formation of various schools of thought, which eventually led to the creation of political parties and Bungdang (or party) politics. Sarim had their powerbase in their respective local communities, where public opinion was shaped through Confucian academies and Hyangyak (local self-governing systems led by respected dignitaries).
  • In terms of foreign relations, Joseon was integrated into the hierarchical international order led by the Ming Dynasty, assuming a suzerain-vassal relationship with the new Chinese state and sharing exchange with neighboring countries according to their respective position within the arrangement. By accepting a tribute-investiture relationship with China, the Joseon king garnered recognition as a legitimate ruler from the international community and ensured the security of the country. Moreover, this alliance provided Joseon with access to the advanced institutions and technology of China. While positioning itself as a tributary state to China, Joseon interacted with the rest of the neighboring nations—including Japan, the Jurchens and the Ryukyu kingdom—as either an equal or a superior.