Architecture

Korea's Confucian academies make good use of such hillside topography. The lecture hall and dormitories are situated on lower
ground, the shrine on higher ground at the back, and the pavilion at the lowest point at the front. The hierarchical relationship
between the study, ritual and relaxation areas is thus clearly expressed in the difference in elevations.

Around this time the typical form of Joseon Dynasty seowon architecture took shape, featuring a layout centered on the lecture
hall, denoting the centrality of the academy's education function at the time. Most academies of that time were sited on sloping
land with the lecture hall on lower ground at the front and the shrine on higher ground behind, with two dormitories facing each
other across a courtyard in front of the lecture hall. The ritual area with the shrine at its center and the study area with the lecture
hall and dormitories each comprise a separate area delineated by walls; the hierarchy among the buildings is made clear, and the
axis on which the buildings are arranged is clearly expressed.

The rustic literati established academies as the embodiment of their ideal of jangsu, or self-cultivation of mind and body.
Scholarship did not just mean memorizing and reciting the Confucian classics, but also included the idea of releasing the spirit
and mind from the stresses of studying.

< Cross sectional drawing Seowon >

Sosu

Namgye

Oksan

Dosan

Piram

Dodong

Byeongsan

Museong

Donam

 

Scholars built pavilions, the scholars pursued yusik, in which they sought to relax through the appreciation and enjoyment of the
natural surroundings.
Thus education of the whole person incorporated relaxation to revive both body and spirit.

Scholars built lecture halls and through study of the Confucian classics came to understand how to put their knowledge into
practice. Learning was achieved through participation in lectures. Lectures consisted of reading and studying the books written
by the masters who had established Neo-Confucian studies.

Learning was achieved through rites. Learning was achieved by observing memorial rites dedicated to deceased teachers on
a regular basis. Scholars built shrines and held rites to their venerated scholar, and taking the master's learning as a model,
they sought ways to lead a good life.