국립중앙박물관 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF KOREA

Highlights
The Construction Records of Hwaseong Fortress
  • Exhibition Name

    Uigwe for the Construction of Hwaseong Fortress, Printed with Jeongnija

  • Culture/Period

    Joseon Dynasty

  • Materials

    Paper

  • Author

    King Jeongjo(正祖, r. 1776-1800)

  • Category

    Culture / Art - Recorded documentary - others

  • Dimensions

    34.2x21.9cm

  • Designation

    Treasure 1901-7

  • Accession Number

    Sinsu 20000

  • Location

    Joseon III

These official records document the 32-month construction of Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, from the 18th year (1794) to the 20th year (1796) of King Jeongjo. The records provide minute details of the construction process, including meticulous illustrations of various pieces of equipment. Initially, it was thought that the fortress would take at least 10 years to construct, but King Jeongjo significantly expedited the project by encouraging the use of an innovative pulley system at Mt. Paldalsan. An encyclopedia of Western mechanical devices had been translated into Chinese by the Jesuit Johann Schreck (鄧玉函 1576-1630) and the Chinese scholar Wang Zheng (王徵, 1571–1644). This book, called Diagrams and Explanations of the Wonderful Machines of the Far West (Chinese: Qiqi Tushuo, 奇器圖說) inspired the legendary Korean scholar and scientist Jeong Yak-yong to invent a brilliant apparatus called a geojunggi, which was essentially a pulley system for lifting heavy objects with minimal force. According to the records, people were amazed and impressed to find that 25 kg of force could lift 15 tons of rock (625 times the original force).