King Sejong the Great (1418-1450) and Joseon Dynasty
In general, Korean kings and nobilities were in favor of supporting astronomy. The reign of King Sejong the Great, between 1418 and 1450 is known as the unprecedented Golden Age of Korean science and culture, with particular attention to astronomical instruments and technologies. King Sejong the Great commissioned a substantial revision of Western, Islamic and East Asian traditional sciences and placed Korea as one of the frontrunners leading the calendrical science, astronomical observation, and invention of related instruments in the region.
One of the outstanding astronomical heritages during the Joseon Dynasty is a star chart carved on a stone plate in 1395. The stone star chart contains 1,467 stars with various sizes. According to the modern calculations, it is known that the location of the star was found to be located in the 1st century and the 14th century.
The astronomical instruments and calendars during the Joseon Dynasty are well examined by Needham et al.’s book entitled “The Hall of Heavenly Record: Korean Astronomical Instruments 1380-1780,” published by Cambridge University Press in 1986. Needham et al. label Korean astronomy as “a true national variant of the East-Asian astronomical tradition” and note, “The instruments and written records are a valuable legacy to the history of science everywhere.”
King Sejong the Great (1418–1450)
was the fourth king of Joseon Dynasty who invented Hangul, the native phonetic alphabet system for the Korean language.
Cheonsang Yeolcha Bunyajido
is a planisphere originally carved in 1396, four years after the inauguration of the first King of Joseon Dynasty. According to the preface written in the bottom part of the chart, it was based on a sky map observed in the early Goguryeo Dynasty.
”pot-shaped Sun clock staring at the sky” is a sundial made by Jang Yeong-sil, a Korean astronomer lived under the King Sejong’s reign.