A pair of 1,400-year-old wooden carvings with the Taegeuk pattern is seen in a black and white photo. / Yonhap
By Han Sang-hee
A 1,400-year-old artifact with the Taegeuk pattern has been found, the oldest of its kind in Korean history.
The Naju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage held a press conference Wednesday at the National Palace Museum of Korea and revealed 31 wooden tablets and a pair of wood carvings with the Taegeuk pattern.
The artifacts were excavated from the Bogam-ri tombs at Naju, South Jeolla Province last year and since then had gone through preservation treatment. The latest discovery predates by 682 years what had been the oldest artifact that held the Taegeuk pattern found at the Gameun Temple site in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province.
The first piece of the pair, which is 19.1 centimeters long and 6.9 centimeters wide, is shaped like a knife and is almost completely intact, while the other is only 10.7 centimeters long and 4.6 centimeters wide and has lost its original form. On the first piece, the Taegeuk pattern is visible, along with another pattern in the shape of a web. The patterns were drawn with a brush using Chinese ink.
According to Kim Sung-beom, the head of the institute, the Taegeuk pattern represents the ``eumyangohaeng,'' the theories of yin and yang and the five elements of the earth, which is part of Taoism ideology.
``Along with the Baekje gilt-bronze incense burner and the Sansumunjeon (clay tiles with landscape in relief), the wooden artifacts will work as precious cultural artifacts that hold the Baekje culture and also the mature culture of Taoism,'' Kim added.