The most beautiful Seowon, Byeongsan Seowon
Byeongsan Seowon is located in the nature, with buildings like a part of the scenery arount it and this makes Byeongsan Seowon one of beautiful traditional buildings in Korea. The name of Byeongsan Seowon was from the fact a mountain across Nakdong-gang(a river) from Seowon looks like Byeongpung(a traditional partition).
BSSW is included in 5 Seowon in Joseon Dynasty, with Dodong Seowon, Dosan Seowon, Sosu Seowon, and Oksan Seowon. In accordance with the principle of “a school at front, a tomb at back”, the front area of Seowon was built for a school and the back area where was the highest location was used for a shrine.
BSSW was built in the mid-Joseon Dynasty, when the spirits of Seowon was the highest. It inherited the traditions of early Seowon, such as Sosu Seowon and Dosan Seowon very well and showed the soundness of Confucian studies before the studies were gone for theories and formalities as the model Seowon.
Particularly, understanding of the location and relationships among the buildings shows the flexibility of ancestors. Traditional geomantic principles and Confucian ideologies which endeavors for the Utopia of respects were well-compromised.
- As the main gate for Seowon, this was built as Sodeul-sammun(a gate with 3 doors, having a bigger main door in the middle). The name of “Bokrye” was named after a Confucian principle for self-temperance which is “lowering oneself and returning to the respects are the very humanity”. At first, the gate was built in other location: the gate was moved from Eastern part of Mandaeru which is the side of Seowon according to “Ipgyodang Junggeon Ilgi(Logs of repairing and rebuilding for Ipgyodang)” in 1921. The gate had a meaning of geomantic principles to avoid the stiffness of Byeong-san(a mountain).
- As the most known building in BSSW, the values of beauty and construction of Mandaeru are very acknowledged. Using the geographical elements as it was, this building was built for multi-purposes like lectures and breaks with the sizes of 7Kan in the front and 2Kan in the side. This building, having octagonal roof tiles and single eave, plays a role of a bridge between the nature and human-made Seowon and is considered as the most beautiful Seowon in Korea. Nakdong-gang(a river) and Byeong-san(a mountain) seen through columns draws a vista usually seen in Byeongpung(a traditional partition).
The name “Mandae” was from a line from a poem “Baekje-seongru” written by Dubo, a Chinese poet: “Chuibyeong-ui-mandae Baekgokhue-simyu”
Mandaeru, the most beautiful building in Seowon, represents BSSW.
- Ipgyodang is a hall, the most important building in Seowon. The name of “Ipgyo” means “founding the education right” and the building is located in the center of Seowon. This was built with the sizes of 5Kan in the front and 2Kan in the side, having octagonal roof tiles and dual eaves.
Ipgyodang is consisted of 3 parts: a lecturing hall in the center, Myeongseongjae in the Eastern part, and Gyeonguijae in the Western part. Myeongsengjae, equiping a opened room with wooden floors, was used for a house of the princial and Gyeonguijae was used as an office for Seowon.
- Dongjae and Seojae
- These two buildings facing each other across a garden between Ipgyodang and Mandaeru, used for the dormitories of students. Both buildings have 2 rooms, a big room and a small room, and opened room with wooden floors. Small rooms in each buildings were for Yusa, the students council representative or the storage of books. Big rooms were for general students, Dongjae for high graders and Seojae for low graders.
- Jangpangak was for the storages of wooden printing plates for books and inheritances, locating at the left side of the back of Ipgyodang. With the sizes of 3Kan in the front and 1Kan in the side, this building has plank doors to prevent humidity. Also, to prevent the fire, the building has its own spaces away from other buildings.
One of the criteria for the value of Seowon was the numbers of wooden printing plates in possession. Therefore, wooden printing plates were very carefully managed as the estates of Seowon.
- As Naesammun(3 internal doors) of Seowon, ritual staffs of Hyangsa used the doors. This doors were Sodeul-sammun type in 3Kan size. The red color as the doors of a shrine has a meaning of avoiding the bad.
A garden in front of Sinmun is a very important place. Officials for the rite can enter through the doors but the others should watch it there.
- This building is located in the highest place in Seowon. As a shrine for Seoae and Suam, Jondeoksa has the sizes of 3Kan in the front and 2Kan in the side and Matbae-jibung(a roof with round lines) with wind-blocking plates. In addition, this building has dual eaves with modified traditional style, Dancheong(traditional color decorations), and steps in both sides.
- Jeonsacheong is a house for the preparations of foods for a rite. Generally, this kind of building is located in a shrine, but BSSW made both building independent because it is easy to supervise and manage staffs for foods by arranging buildings for staffs in a line. Jeonsacheong is located in the right side of Jondeoksa.
- Dalpaeng-i Duitgan(snail restroom)
- This restroom is located outside of Seowon and in front of a building of Juso. Mud-stone walls were made to hide the starting point at the end and this shapes gave the name. Even without the door, a person in the restroom is not seen at all. Also without a roof, Dalpaeng-i Duitgan was for staffs who supported students in Seowon. 400 years ago, this restroom was built with Seowon buildings, and ancient documents say the wall of the restroom was often made by bamboo trees. Included in Seowon as an annex, this was declared as a historical monument, with the number of 206 in 1977. In 2003, series of repair was done.
- Between Mandaeru and Bokryemun, a pond was made by taking waters from outside in the shape of “Cheonwonjibang”. But presently the pond is filled with sands, only leaving the shape of it. “Cheonwonjibang” is the traditional principle ancients used to make ponds, showing symbolically their view to the universe. In the middle of a rectangle pond which means the earth, there is a round isle which means the sky. As a garden in Seowon, this pond was for students to make the endless endeavor to their academical success.