Monday, 6 February 2012
The Jongmyo shrine, sometimes spelled Chongmyo, is thought to be the oldest royal Confucian shrine. It is devoted to services in memory of the kings and queens of Korea of the dynasty which lasted from the 14th to the early 20th century.
The building dedicated a room for each king and his queen and was continually expanded lengthwise from west to east. During the the Seven Year War with Japan in the 16th century it was burnt down, but rebuilt soon after. It is the longest traditional building in Korea.
The rituals as shown on the postcard are performed by musicians and dancers and are reconstructions of the Confucian rituals based on Chinese court music dating back to the 14th century and before.
As an outstanding example of a Confucian royal shrine it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rites of music and dance have been designated an Important Intangible Cultural Property by the South Korean government because its historical importance and the sound and spectacle of the ceremony.