Monday, October 24, 2016

Baegun-dong - A Confucian Scholar's Garden

Baegun-dong, a Confucian scholar's garden, was a vacation home built by the scholar, Yi Dam-ro (1627-1701) during the middle of the Joseon Dynasty. Its frequent guests included renowned contemporary scholars: Sin Myeong-gyu (1618-1688), Nam Gu-man (1629-1711), Im Yeong (1649-1696), Kim Chang-heup (1653-1722), Jeong Yak-yong aka Dasan (1762-1836), and Monk Choui (1786-1866). Many poems and writings and philosophical discussions were inspired here.

Baegun-dong Garden is divided into an inner and, beyond its outer wall, the outer garden. The outer garden offers a stone sign engraved with Baegun-dong and jeongseondae where scholars enjoyed art and literature while the inner garden is comprised of two ponds. Yusanggoksu was in particular a beautiful pond which drew water from a nearby valley. [information board] 

The grass-roofed pavilion, the sarangchae or detached house, and the main house are laid out on principles of pungsujiri (feng shui) in order to be in harmony with the surrounding environment. The garden is a valuable cultural heritage along with the nearby and famous Damyang Soswaewon (Garden of the Pure Mind) which it is compared with. 

Until four years ago, a very old gentleman lived here by himself. Since he passed on or moved out, the garden fell into disrepair. The garden has since been restored due to awareness of its historical value and is now designated as a garden of local historical heritage by the city of Gangjin (November 1, 2004). 

Baegun-dong Garden, Gangjin Local Historical Heritage No 22
San 261-3 (Baegun-dong Valley), Wolha-ri, Seongjeon-myeon 

Fabulous tree on the remote trail leading to Baegun-dong.
I never saw anything like this before in Korea! 
entrance to the garden - this wall runs parallel to a small stream
the low wall separating the inner garden from the outer.
The inner garden is overlooked from a pavillion on a hill covered with green tea plants. This outer garden paviliion is an oasis of study and reflection situated in the less-tamed environs of nature.
One of the small ponds in the inner garden.
The shape is decidedly Confucian: square perimeter symbolizing earth with the center part circular symbolizing heaven. Also the circular shape in the center engenders the flow and "circulation" of water; thus, a balancing of the yin and the yang, creating harmony even in the mundane. 
the main house I think
These items were collected from the grounds, but other seasonal fruits were growing in the garden and figs and kiwis were growing in another garden nearby. Pomegranates, persimmon, citron, and the blossom of a green tea plant (many blossoms occur after a cold spell in fall!)

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