Hangeul ‘Hunminjeongeum’ manual will be sold as a NFT limited edition

Korea's time


Hangeul ‘Hunminjeongeum’ manual will be sold as a NFT limited edition

A page from the 15th century manuscript
A page from the 15th century manuscript “Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon”, a textbook of the Korean writing system, Hangeul / Courtesy of CHA

By Park Han-sol

Copies of an invaluable manuscript detailing the origins and functioning of the Korean writing system, “Hangeul”, will be sold as a limited edition NFT (non-fungible tokens), making it Korea’s first national treasure to be released. sale in digital form token. But the sale could spark controversy over whether or not to authorize it.

The Kansong Art Museum in Seongbuk District, north of Seoul, which holds the “Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon,” an illustrated manual of the Korean writing system, said on Wednesday that it “plans to mint the 15th-century manuscript. century as an NFT with serial numbers and sell it to a limited number of 100 buyers. ” Each will be sold for 100 million won ($ 87,000).

NFTs are unique tokens that can represent any unique digital asset, from works of art to, in this case, a national treasure that can be bought and sold virtually. This proves that only the buyer owns the original image, with information about every transaction being tracked and kept on the blockchain.

The Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon, published in 1446 during the Joseon Dynasty when King Sejong proclaimed the creation of the Hangeul in an attempt to replace Chinese characters, explains the linguistic principles on which the Hangeul is built and therefore was one of the most important elements. most important of the cultural patrimony in the country.

While most copies of the manual were lost during the Japanese colonial era of 1910-1945, the first original copy was found in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, in 1940 and was later purchased by Chun Hyung. -pil (1906-1962), whose pen name was “Kansong”. Since then, the manuscript has been kept in the collection of the Kansong Art Museum.

The art museum claimed that its unprecedented decision to turn the Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon into an NFT was fueled in part by its current financial woes. Korea’s first private museum, established in 1938, auctioned off two valuable Buddhist sculptures last year, which were later purchased by the National Museum of Korea.

The museum added that it will use the money raised from the sale for its operating expenses and to fund research into cultural property. It can also be an opportunity to “share the precious cultural good with the general public, especially the younger generations interested in NFT,” said Chun Young-woo, president of the Kansong Art and Culture Foundation, in an interview with the Seoul Economic Daily.

The museum’s announcement is expected to spark controversy over the marketing of the historically significant manuscript.

An official from the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) explained that the state-run organization will consider the case on the basis of the relevant laws, as this is one of the very first attempts to transform a property. cultural into a digital token, adding that she will examine how the digitization and digitization process may affect the condition of the manuscript.

The Cultural Heritage Protection Act states that any act that may affect or modify the current state of a state-designated cultural heritage, including “taking a rubbed copy, photo or photograph” requires prior authorization. of the CHA administrator.