Byeong-am Confucian Academy

published by Devon Furbush

Byeong-am Confucian academy sits at the southern base of Waryong Mountain. The roots of this academy began in 1625 with a man named Doh Gyeong-yoo, who built Nakeum Pavilion in order to teach his math lessons. 50 years later the pavilion was upgraded to Byeong-am seodang (different from a seowon). It was from then where the descendants of Doh Gyoung-yoo regularly held meetings as well as foster the youth with education in math and Confucianism. In 1785, thanks to a special class of Confucian scholars who gave their unbiased opinions about the ins-and-outs of the academy, it finally reached the status of a seowon. King Gojong ordered the abolition of all seowons in 1868 which ultimately halted the activities going on here. In 2003, it was rebuilt as is today and memorial rituals are performed to honor Doh Gyeong-yoo.

Like most seowons in Korea, there are dormitories and studying quarters for the students. These are called dongjae (east dorms) and seojae (west dorms).

This is probably one of the biggest seowons I’ve seen in Daegu. The redwood really makes out stand out. Keep in mind that this place was only recently reconstructed a little over 15 years ago.

 





There is an interesting stone portrait on the way to the back of the academy. It’s a traditional sculpture showing clouds, turtles, cranes, trees, mountains, and other traditional symbolic scenes of nature.

As usual, the main shrine is at the highest point of the academy. I’ve always wondered why these are always painted red.

This academy is a bit unique compared to other ones I’ve seen. It is located in a suburban area rather than a rural area, it still looks brand new, and the ground in front of the lecture hall is HUGE. As you probably guessed, I couldn’t provide a whole lot of information about the history because the brochure used a ton of old Korean words that don’t show up in the dictionary. Just remember that it started off as a small math academy in a pavilion.

Address: 21 Saebang-ro, Yongsan-dong, Dalseo-gu, Daegu

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