Arrival. Travelers usually alight at the Nandaimon Station (named for the big gate near by and pronounced Nan-dié-moan), as hotel runners and jinrikis await them here. The (1/2 M. farther) Seidaimon (say-dié-moan) Station is used chiefly by residents of the W. quarter of the city. -- Refreshment Room. Information Bureau where English is spoken. The Rly. Co. will deliver trunks to any part of the city (within 2 hrs. unless they reach the city after 10 P.M.) for 10 sen each, irrespective of size. Push-carts from the hotel, holding 2-3 or 5-6 trunks and several hand-bags, ost 50-80 sen. Deliver checks to the runner or the manager. Jinriki full of grips to the hotel, 25 sen; small trunk on the hotel cart, 20 sen.
Hotels (comp. p. xxix). *Sontag Hotel (Tel. add.: "Sontag, Seoul"), one of the best known and most popular in Korea (formerly a private hotel of the Imperial Korean Household), with electric lights, free baths, a reading-room well stocked with papers and magazines from many lands, stands about 1 M. N. of the Nandaimon Station (Pl. B, 3) in a spacious garden with many fine trees and flowers, in the Legation Quarter (adjacent to the sometime French legati). English, French, German, and Spanish spoken. French cooking. Fresh milk from the hotel dairy. Single rooms in the main building, Y8-10 a day, Am. pl. Double rooms, Y14-16. In the annex, Y7-8 and Y12 respectively. The hotel is apt to be croded in the spring and autumn seasons and rooms should be engaged in advance. -- JAPANESE INNS (comp. p. xxxiv). Hajou-kwan; Keijou Hotel; Tenshin-rou, etc. All Y3 a day and upward. -- The foreign visitor to Seoul who lodges with friends or at places other than the regular hotels or inns may wish to remember that after a sojourn of 10 days his or her name, nationality, occupation, etc. along with previous stopping-place, and the day and hour of arrival, must be registered (by the host) at police headquarters. The hour and hate of leaving, and the destination,s must also be reported within 24 hrs. Failure to obey this city ordinance is punishable by detention or a fine.
Jinrikis (p. lxxxviii) dawn by husky (but oftentimes lazy and covetous) Koreans ply for hire, with stands at the stations, hotels, and at various points throughout the city. The correct fare from the Nandaimon Station to the Sontag Hotel (20 min.) is 25 sen. As in Japan, the hotel-keepers and others are powerless to prevent imposition on travelers, for to side with the stranger may result in having one's premises boycotted, and the hotel belittled. The traveler should resent overcharge, and in cases of dispute should proceed to the nearest police station. The schedule is drawn up by the Police Department, and the men are supposed to adhere to it. The fixed rate within the city walls is 30 sen an hr.: per day Y1.50 (with 2 coolies, Y2); 1/2 day, with one man, Y1. For trips outside the walls a special agreement must be reached with the man. The tendency is steadily upward, and the coolies have learned that foreigners usually prefer to submit to an overcharge rather than make a scene. A list of the correct fares from the hotel to different points will be found in the hotel lobby.
'Electric Tram-Cars run to nearly all parts of the city, and are clean, speedy, and cheap. Fares (usually 3 sen) are collected according to distance. Horses are popular and can be hired cheaply of the hotel manager. They are more satisfactory for single-day excursions than jinrikis. Laundry is done at the hotel at 7 sen per piece, irrespective of size.
Guides (comp. p. xxiv) for short trips around the city are supplied free by the manager of the Sontag Hotel; on longer trips their pay (for English-speaking men) is Y3 a day; they find their own food and will cook that of their employer.
Shops and Curios (comp. p. cxii). Both are inferior in number and quality to those of Japan. Koreans carry on commerce in a surprisingly petty way, and their artistic sense is of a low order. There are no fine shops or big displays. Certain of the wrought silver articles are quaint and in a way attractive. Perhaps the best assortment is displayed at the small shop with the high-sounding title of Korean Silver & Gold Art Palace (English spoken) in Chon-no (Pl. C, 2) near the Big Bell. The silver finger-rings with ideographs representing Long Life, Good Luck, etc., are cheap (30-50 seneach). Large articles are sold by weight, and a big percentage added for workmanship. Prices are high and are supposed to be fixed. The Korean Brass-Work includes cooking utensils in many shapes, candlesticks, finger-bowls (good ones from Y5 to Y6.50 per dozen), tea-pots, etc. In buying bowls pick out the designs wanted, hold the articles against the light for possible air-holes, try them out with water to be sure they are tight, then take them along (rather than have
tier embroidered native women's shoes, it is well to bear in mind that a specially thick sock must be worn with them. Inlaid Iron-Work is popular and sometimes attractive. Very thin sheets of silver foil are hammered on an iron surface until it resembles niello-work. It rusts unless it is kept oiled. Certain of the peddlers who frequent the road to the Sontag Hotel have the instincts of brigands, and ask several times as much for things as they expect to receive. Care should be exercised in making offers. The pear-shaped chunks of amber which they claim come from a northern province, and which in reality come from Germany, can be bought for Y1-3 if Y5-10 are asked. The supply is unlimited.
Banks (comp p. xxiii), where money can be exchanged and drafts, etc., cashed: Bank of Chosen; English spoken. -- Dai-ichi Ginkou. The usual exchange for American paper or gold is 2 for 1; a little less (because of difference in value) for pounds sterling, marks, francs, etc. The bank will sometimes give 100 roubles for Y102 (which is better than one can get in Japan). -- Consulates are maintained by Great Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Belgium, Russia, etc. Most of them are near the W. Gate, within a few min. walk of the Sontag Hotel. -- Post- and Telegraph-Offices in various parts of the city (usually in the same building). Mails for Europe and America should be marked 'Via Siberia,' if time be a consideration. Postage same as from Japan. The hotel manager will take charge of mail-matter and telegrams. Korea now belongs to the International Postal Union. The Police Station, the sometime P'o-do-chong, or Burglar-capturing Office,' is near the Nam-san Public Garden (Pl. C, 3). -- Tobacco and Cigars are cheaper than in Japan. The business is largely in the hands of Greeks. There are several foreign Churches in the city. See the notices in the hotel lobby.
Korean Dance (insipid and wearisome) can be arranged for with the aid of the hotel manager. The gesang (similar to the Japanse geisha) are not ways of the highest class. -- Newspapers. The Seoul Press, a daily (morning) newspaper (edited and published by Mr. Isoh Yamagata) in the English language (20 sen a copy), contains Associated Press matter and local news, etc., of interest to travelers. There are a number of Japanese newspapers printed in the capital, and 20 or more in the peninsula. -- Physicians and Dentists. For the permanent addresses of these consult the advertisements in the Seoul Press. The American hospital, opposite the Nandaimon rly. station, sells foreign medicines, etc. -- The Korea Branch of the Japan Tourist Bureau is located at Yongsan, in the Railway Bureau.
Seoul (pronounced sowl, or sow-ohl), an elliptical walled city (pop. 300,000) on the N. side (2 M. distant) of the swift Han River (120 ft. above it and 35 M. from its mouth), in the heart (Kyong-kwi Province) of the ancient Kingdom of Korea (lat. 37° 35' N., and long. 127° 0' E. from Greenwich), is one of the most picturesque and romantically situated mediaeval capitals of Eastern Asia. It was founded (in 1392) by the Emperor Yo Taijo under the name of Han-yang ('Fortress on the Han'), but it is generally known as Seoul ('capital'), the Japanese equivalent for which is Keijou. As the political, intellectual, educational, and commercial center of the country, with (so-called) palaces, art, and industrial museums, libraries, botanical and zoölogical gardens, colleges, banks, electric lights, street-cars, and telephones, and many additional adjuncts of a modern and progressive metropolis, it is Korea to must foreigners, since it represents in the large everything Korean; much as Tokyo represents N. Japan. For upward of 8 centuries it was the home of the concubine-loving Korean sovereigns, and few cities have seen more maladministration, cruelty, rioting, and bloodshed. For almost that length of time it was a sort of cancerous growth that choked the national ambition and sapped the life-blood of the people -- a poisonous blight on all progress and civilization. To-day it is the center whence all benefits and reforms radiate. The Japanese Governor-General dwells here, and from the Residency the affairs of the nation are administered. The situation of the old capital (2 by 2 M.), in a broad valley (5 M. long by 3 broad) surrounded by rugged hills that tower in somber grandeur above it, is very attractive. From the highest of these (N.) hills, the San-kak-san, or Three-peaked Mountain (2,270 ft.), -- which foreigners know as the Cock's Comb, -- one may enjoy a magnificent panorama of the wide city with its mushroom-like houses and the lordly Han flowing broadly to the sea. From a military viewpoint the city is considered strong both in itself and in its stern outposts. Arid and forbidding as the hills look in winter, spng and summer find them clothed in delicate green enlivened here and there by great blotches of heliotrope, azalea, fragrant honeysuckle, and (in season) the beautiful blossoms of the plum, the peach, and the cherry. Many poplar trees, Chinese pines (Pinus sinensis), and flowing shrubs thrive in the warm pockets of the hills -- invisible to the eye until one approaches closely -- while at their feet the lotus-pools (in Aug.) are worth going far to see. The mt. to the S. of the capital, Mok-mie-san, long served as a signal-station on which bonfire messages were received from the southern provinces.
For purposes of civic administration the city is divided into five quarters: Toshou (East), Seishou (West), Hokushou (North), Nanshou (South), and Chushou (Middle). The 56,000 or more Japanese who add life, energy, and color, and the 2100 Chinese who impart on odor not strictly one of sanctity, dwell in the Honmachi district (the Chinkokai of the Koreans) in the S. quarter. The legation Quarter (Chong-dong) with its many trees, its ugly hybrid houses, its park-like gardens, and elevated sites, stands at the W. extremity of the city, inside the wall, near the W. Gate and the Seidaimon Station; many of the 300 or more foreign residents dwell here and just outside the wall, beyond which the country drops away abruptly and affords pleasing and far-reaching views over the deep and wide intervening valley. Around the city proper, inclosing intramural Seoul, climbing up and down the precipitous slopes and laying its brown, weather-beaten, and sinuous lengths over the hills like some great dragon, is the battlemented wall described hereinafter. A long, wide (100 ft.) street, Chon-no (pron. Chong-no) or BIG BELL ST. (Jap. Shourou), divides the city practically in halves and leads from the E. to the W. Gate, then far into the country, through extra-mural Seoul at either side. It is essentially the main street of Korea, for here one may study the natives and their ways to the best advantage. Scattered along a length are some of the chief 'sights' and the best of the Korean shops, most of the latter mean and tawdry and out of keeping with the width of the thoroughfare. The majority of the shops are dedicated to a trivial commerce in ironware as crude as that which Vulcan forged, in junk of various kinds; horn and tortoise-shell goggles much affected by the alleged literati and official class; coarse earthenwire; cheap native-made knives and pipes; paper-goods and matting; tin lamps and candle-sticks; cumbersome saddles with green and red leather flaps embossed with brass rosettes; and imported textiles whose colors maintain a perpetual warfare. Up and odown this brilliant, sunlit metropolitan thoroughfare flows a steady and kaleidoscopic stream of native life which contrasts stnagely with the modern electric street-cars and other evidences of Western progress. Tall, top-knotted Koreans with goatees, fly-trap hats, baggy clothes, and clogs like miniature dog-outs; lazing Yang-bans strolling or being carried in palanquins of a type 3 centuries old; olive-skinned and oftentimes bare-breasted women clad in the costume peculiar to the capital; huge creaking wooden carts filled with brushwood or produce and as antiquated as those which Noah used, -- these and a host of queer things attract the eye and make the street highly interesting to strangers. The houses are poor and monotonous, but the surging procession of begoggles officials and sweating coolies, slobbering bulls and squealing ponies, wrangling dogs and dirty children, redeem them and impart to the street a strange blend of gayety and sobriety, of modernity and mediaevalism, of the Orient and the Occident.
Paralleling Chon-no on the S. are the ruins of a sometime crystal brook, now defiled in a loathsome manner and spanned by a number of archaic stone bridges, one known as the Chicken Bridge, because the chicken-market is held near it. On the banks of this fetid stream scores of the native women work out their destiny by washing their lords' frowsy and voluminous clothes; pounding the hard bundles with wooden rollers on stones until a fine gloss like that of mercerized cotton is produced. They are characteristic features not only of Seoul but of all Korea, for wherever there is a runnel or a festering pool there women drudges foregather, ladle up the malodorous water, roll the yellowish-white garments into sizable bundles, then batter them into cleanliness. The sound of their tapping clubs is a familiar one in the 'Land of the Morning Calm.' A little farther to the S. stretches one of the chief Japanese thoroughfares, the Honcho-douri (Main St.; also called Honmachi), narrower, busier, cleaner, more cheerful and inviting than the Korean street, but less interesting because more modern. It curves gracefully round the base of a small bit of transplanted Tokyo called Nam-san (Nam Hill), on which stand several imposing governmental buildings, conspicuous among them the Sotokufu, or Residency General. Here there is a pretty public garden, and hereabout Japan blazes forth in all its riot of color and picturesqueness. In no quarter of Seoul is the stress of Occidental civilization and progress so apparent as here, and from daylight until dusk long lines of busy people, postmen on bicycles, delivery carts being pedaled along by bareheaded boys, straining bulls, foreigners, Japanese, Koreans, Manchus, and Cantonese pulse through its restricted channel. The most objectionable and savagely noisy segments of the daily procession are the strapped, muzzled, and contumacious Korean ponies, against which the traveler should always be on his guard. They rarely lose a chance to bite the unsuspecting stranger and they are equally diligent with their hells or fore feet.
The Korean Pony (prototype of the Japanese pony) is one of the most salient features of Korea. ' The breed is peculiar to it. The animals used for burdens are all stallions, from 10 to 12 hands high, well formed, and singularly strong, carrying from 160 to 200 lbs. 30 M. a day, week after week, on sorry food. They are most desperate; sqeualing and trumpeting on all occasions, attacking every pony they meet on the road, never becoming reconciled to each other even on a long journey, and in their fury ignoring their loads, which are often smashed to pieces. Their savagery makes it necessary to have a mapu for every pony. At the inn stables they are not only chained down to the troughs by chains short enough to prevent them from raising their heads, but are partially slung at night to the heavy beams of the roof.Even under these restricted circumstances their cordial hatred finds vent in hyena-like yells, bortive snaps, and attempts to swing their hind legs round. They are never allowed to lie down, and very rarely to drink water, and then only when freely salted. Their nostrils are all slit in an attempt to improve upon nature and give them better wind. They are fed three times a day on brown slush as hot as they can drink it, composed of beans, chopped millet-stalks, rice-husks, and bran, with the water in which they have been boiled. Every attempt at friendliness is resented with teeth and heels. When descending a steep hill the mapus hold the ponies by their tails!'
HONCHO-DOURI is as innocent of sidewalks as a country lane, but facing it, beside the many branch stores from Okasa and Tokyo, are the sub-offices of two of the greatest corporations of the world: The Standard Oil Co. of New York, and the Mitsui Bussan Kaisha of Tokyo. At its junction with Nandaimon-douri stands the costly (2 million yen) and imposing Chosen Ginkou (Bank of Korea), completed in 1912 and forming, with its splendidly massive gray granite walls and glistening copper-sheathed domes, a landmark in the vicinity. It is the newest and finest of all the city banks, and once within its spacious and elaborate interior the visitor finds it difficult to convince himself that he is not in New York. The immediate neighborhood is the liveliest in the city, and the huckstars who trot along the street uttering their strange cries add to the universal din. here the Japanese demonstrate their right to be the ruling race by intelligence and progress, and many Koreans cluster as near as possible to them for the protection they feel is assured them.
From each of the two great arteries mentioned there radiates a labyrinth of narrow, tortuous streets flanked by Korean, Japanese, and Chinese shops and factories. Not a few of the city byways are still unpaved, dirty alleys whose emphatic quality during the dry season is dust, and during and after the rainy season sticky mud. Most of them are concrete illustrations of the fact that when left to themselves the Koreans become very soiled children of the soil, and dwell in a general abominableness repulsive to Westerners. The slimy and fetid runlets which ooze past their rickety doors and the microbic refuse-heaps piled high beneath the low straw eaves speak no language to them. -- The broad, well-paved street which goes past the Nandaimon Gate and Station, and connects the city with the new Japanese suburb of Ryuuzan (linked also by rly. and trolley), is Furuichi-chou; cityward from the gate to its intersection with Honcho-douri, and later with Chon-no, it is called Nandaimon-douri. It has been recently widened and paved, and it is significant of what the chief thoroughfares of the metropolis will be a few years hence.
The Legation Quarter (Pl. B, 3) is perhaps the healthiest of the city -- a blend of town and country. Most of the houses stand back in fine spacious gardens reached through lanes between high and massive walls. In spring and summer one is awakened early by the strident chattering and wrangling of magpies; the melodious call of the cuckoo; the incessant twittering and chirping of small birds and insects; the hoarse calling of geese; the trowing of a myriad cockerels; and not unfrequently by the grunting or squealing of the young bears of which the manager of the Sontag Hotel is fond and which he captures and chains up in the hotel yard. The entires section is embowered in beautiful flowers and poplars, Paulownia imperialis, pines, and other trees, and the freshness and beauty of the early mornings are inspiring.
The Walls and Gates. Few objects in the Far East are more impressive or more distinctively mediaeval than the crumbling, crenelated wall (Korean, song; Jap. heki), which is 25-40 ft. high and which runs for 14 M. like a gardle about the inner city. No less picturesque are the eight huge pavilioned gateways which pierce it, and the great arches that span the streams crossed in its course. The Emperor Yi Taijo caused it to be built soon after he fixed his new capital here in 1392, and history records that 200,000 men were drawn in from the different provinces to work on it. Like the Great Wall of China (from which it manifestly was copied) it stops not at mts., but climbs them sturdily (to a height of 1130 ft. at the N.), coiling about them like some sinuous and sinister dragon; following the irregularities of the ridges before dipping into some deep valley or disappearing behind some spur later to reappear on a higher, projecting ridge. Small sections have been demolished to make way for the expansion of the modern city, others are falling inward, and still others are used as foot-paths or planted with flowers and vegetables by those whose houses back up against it; but the remainder is preserved in its pristine crudity. What it has lost in strength it has gained in picturesqueness, for long stretches are almost covered with clinging ivy, and where the accumulated moss of centuries spots its sides it makes a striking feature in a striking landscape. From below it looks like a solid and formidable mass of cyclopean masonry, for numerous direct and oblique embrasures pierce it and recall the time when bold archers trod its high parapets and launched feathered shafts and javelins over the ramparts at advancing foes. Through these loopholes one gets entrancing views of distant valleys and mts. and from the top still wider ones. The wall proper is 12-15 ft. through and consists of a bank of earth faced with masonry, of varying heights. The stones which form the outer veneer are about 3 ft. sq. and 15 in. thick, and are crowned by cut granite blocks or coping-stones grooved in the center, set on a slight incline, and measuring approximately 5 ft. wide, 12-15 ft. long, and from 6 to 36 in. thick. The traveler with time to spare will not regret an early morning stroll along the crest of this ancient fortification built a hundred yrs. before Columbus discovered America. That part near the W. Gate, 5 min. from the hotel, is easily accessible. Ascend between the gate and the police-box at the right. There are none to question or to demand fees.
The GATES (Korean, moon, Jap. mon) are huge, cumbersome affairs, heavily bossed and strengthened with massive and badly rusted iron sheathing, strips, and bolts, swung on huge pivots let into soffits above and bolew, -- after the manner of old Spanish-Moorish seignorial houses, -- and set in solid arches of cut gray granite blocks, some of them 10 ft. long and almost as thick. They are interesting specimens of the crude workmanship of the early Chosenese -- more picturesque than handsome, and in this progressive 20th cent. more ornamental than useful. Surmounting the arches are massive, two-stories, quadrilateral, temple-like structures, with uptiled tiled roofs, enriched with a maze of faded compound brackets and dingy polychromatic decorations -- conspicuous among which in white and black, is the Life Principle already referred to. Anciently they were used for the barbaric dramas enacted by masked musicians, sorcerers, and the like whenever the Emperor went abroad or visited extra-mural Seoul. Certain of the gates have grandiloquent titles that accord illy with their dilapidated appearance; as, 'Benevolence,' 'Bright Amiability,' 'Exalted Politeness', 'Gate of Elevated Humanity,' and the like.
The NANDAIMON (Korean, Nam Tai Moon), or S. Gate, near the rly. station of the same name (Pl. B, 3), is the most attractive and the best preserved. Like certain others it is reserved for pedestrians only, and one will scarcely see a more picturesque sight than the stream of variegated humanity that pulses through it on a bright day, -- Korean men in white, and women in green garments; Chinese in blue gowns; Japanese in sundry vivid colors and conventional black; and native children in their brown 'birthday' suits. -- The archway is immensely solid (39 ft. deep; 16 wide and 20 high), iron-studded and with the ear-marks of great antiquity. The lower stone wall, the electric light shafts, and the parterres are modern. The superstructure is in only tolerable repair and is inacessible to visitors. Those interested in seeing one of the pavilions are recommended to the
SEIDAIMON (Su Tai Moon), or W. Gate (Pl. B, 2), for centuries the entrance to the capital for travelers from Chemulpo. The huge swinging gates (smaller and more time-stained than the Nandaimon) ore good examples of early Korean workmanship, and the painted, winged tiger below the arch expresses the native idea of decorative art. By passing between the gateway and the policeman's box at the right, then ascending and bearing round to the left, one quickly reaches the ramshackle superstructure, with its faded decorations and general uncleanliness. The view from the parapet of the wall is extensive. Not very long ago, when the Big Bell sounded the requiem of the setting sun, all the city gates were closed, and he dilatory and luckless wight who reached one of them a minute late might beat on their knurled surfaces until his knuckles bled and the tigers came and carried him off, for nary a soul would open them as much as an inch. At that period the wall was intact, but despite this tigers and leopards leaped it and frequently took a nightly quote from among the trembling citizens of the inclosure.
The North Palace (Kyong-pok Koong), in the N.W. quarter (Pl. B, 2) at the foot of the frowning Pook Han Hill, comprises a group of over-decorated and practically deserted buildings (said to date from the 15th cent.) in an immense neglected walled inclosure 5 min. walk N. of Chon-no St.(W. of the big bell) and 15 min. from the Sontag Hotel. The entrance is at the top of the wide, unpaved Kokamon-douri, 1/5 M. from Chon-no. A line of barracks flanks it on the left, and several new administration buildings on the right. A guide is unnecessary and no fees are demanded beyond the ticket (5 sen), which must be purchased at the office at the left of the gate and given up there on leaving. The crude, inartistic, crumbling structures are of little interest to whosoever has seen architecture of a similar but much superior style in Japan. The badly mutilated and hideous Dogs of Fo (gifts from a Chinese Emperor) which stand on pedestals near the outer gate were evidently fashioned with dull tools by an unimaginative workman. The wide Kokamon Gate is of grandoise proportions and is pierced by triple stone arches each with massive, heavily-studded doors almost covered with iron and bronze. The crude iron looks are the only things worth looking at. The mythological phoenixes (fung-wang) on the wood ceiling of the central arch are Korean emblems of peace and good government. -- The Main Palace stands at the foot of a succession of wide, grass-grown, flagged inclosures marked by faded gates and indifferently carved stone balustrades. The stone animals in the act of peering into the verduce-choked runnel of the second compound are curious. The 3d gate gives ingress to an inclosure with a two-storied ancestral temple rising from a double plinth encircled by sculptured stone fences showing traces of art. The compound brackets of the eaves, the huge sloping roof, and the general exterior decorations are mediocre. A vacant shrine stands within. The tall Indian-red pillars support a ceiling smudged by the incense of ages and covered with tawdry decorations. Passing through two more inclosures, each with its deserted shrines, then through a low gateway at the left, we cross a stone bridge flung across a lily- and lotus-flecked moat to
The KEIKAROU, known variously as the Summer Pavilion, Hall of Congratulations, and Audience Hall, a draughty, quadrilateral, dilapidated structure supported by 8 rows of 6 each square and round gray granite columns with metal sheaths instead of capitals. A beautiful lotus-pond stretches beyond to a pine-clad strip with many flowering trees and shrubs. Water completely surrounds the edifice, like certain of the floating palaces of India, ad granite steps lead down to the lakelet on which royal boats once floated. The supports of the carefully chiseled stone balustrade girdling the building carry lotus-leaf designs. many bird notes fill the air, and a gentle melancholy broods above the place. Here the palace ladies formerly loved to congregate and to enjoy the reflection of the myriad latuses which waved and nodded above the rippleless pool. -- A deserted garden, now choked with underbrush, stretches away to the rear of the palace buildings, and near the back gate, on a spot then covered with a small hut since destroyed, a cruel tragedy was enacted before dawn on Oct. 8, 1895.
Because of her unusual intelligence and her skill in placing members of her own family in nearly all the offices of State, the Korean Queen was a thorn in the side of certain Court intriguers, particularly Tai Won Kun (the King's father; died 1898) who ruled with excessive vigor for 10 yrs., put 2000 Korean Catholics to death in 1868, and won the title of a 'man with bowels of iron and a heart of stone.' By unscrupulous ability and rapaciousness he gained the support of certain unpatriotic Japanese, and on the morning in question, at the head of a mixed band of miscreants, he suddenly stormed the palace, intimidated the King, and by mistreating certain of the palace ladies, made them disclose the hiding-place of their royal mistress. 'In the upper story the Crown Princess was found with several ladies, and she was dragged by the hair, cut with a sword, beaten, and thrown downstairs. The Queen, flying from the assassins, was overtaken and stabbed, falling down as if dead; some on then jumped on her breast and stabbed her through and through with a sword. She was then carried to a grove of pines in the adjacent park, kerosene oil was poured over the body, which was surrounded by fagots and burned, only a few small bones escaping destruction. This perished, at the age of forty-four, by the hands of assassins, the clever, ambitious, intriguing, fascinating, and in many respects lovable Queen of Korea.' What remained of the poor stricken body was gathered up and later buried beneath the tomb mentioned hereinafter.
The Big Bell (chong or chon) stands at the intersection of the Nndaimon-douri and the Chon-no (Pl. B, 2) in a rude, slatted, and time-stained pavilion called the Chong-kak. It is of cast bronze, 10 ft. high by 8 wide (weight unknown), and is said to be the 3rd largest in the world -- which is doubtful. It is easily the largest in Korea, and it bears the following inscription: "Sye Cho the Great, 12th year Man cha and moon, the 4th year of the great Ming Emperor Hsilan-hua, the head of the bureau of Royal despatches, Sye Ko Chyeng, bearing the title Sa Ka Chyeng, had this pavilion erected and this bell hung.' According to an authority it was cast in 1396 and hung in its present place in 1468. The metal of which it was cast failed to fuse until a living child had been tossed into the molten mass, from which circumstance the Koreans claim that the wailing of a child can always be detected it its notes. Its dull, heavy boom is heard in all parts of the city, and its warning tones have been the signal for the opening and closing of the gates during five centuries. Formerly at 8 or 9 o'clock, when darkness had fallen, this great curfew was rung as a signal t all the men that they must hurry home, seclude themselves, and give the women a chance to come out and amuse themselves. Drastic punishment was the reward for failure to obey; the custo fell into disuse when Europeans came to live in the capital. The spot on which the bell kiosk stands is regarded as the center of the old city. The inclosed MONUMENT somewhat to the W. of the big bell, on the Chon-no (N. side), was erected by Tai Won Kun in 1866, after the Korean repulse of a feeble attempt made by the French to get satisfaction for the murder of French missionaries. The inscription is significant of the tyrant: 'Whosoever pronounces even the name of a European is a traitor to his country.'
The Marble Pagoda (Pl. C, 2) in Pagoda Park, 5 min. walk E. from the big bell, stands on the N. side of Chon-no St. in a pretty park with attractive iron gates. If these are closed, entrance can be gained through the wooden gate at the left. The custodian's house (no fees) is just within. The pagoda, a curious Buddhist relic in the Dravidian style modified by Chinese sculptors, is said to have been presented to a Korean King by a Chinese empor in the 13th cent. Originally 11 stories high, it is now in a lamentable state of decay; the topmost sections have fallen and lie near the base. The sculptures in low relief represent Buddhist votaries traveling toward nirvana, surrounded by tigers, dragons, and many figures of the Buddhist pantheon. Time and the elements have dealt less kindly with this curious relic of Indian-Chinese art than with the huge stone tortoise hard by, the chiseled lotus leaf on the back of which proclaims its Buddhistic significance. It is 14 ft. long by 9 ft. broad, and it rests in a sunken space 18 by 15 ft.; rising from its back in a stone shaft capped by a sculptured entanglement of writhing dragons in bold design. It is evidently a tomb, as the tortoise forms the material for a number of pleasing superstitions peculiarly acceptable to the Korean habit of thought.
The *East Palace (Chang-tok Koong) stands in the N.E. quarter of the city, immediately S. of the Museum (Pl. C, 2) at the top of a short street (Yokamon-douri) which leads N. from Chon-no a short distance beyond (E.) the Marble Pagoda. The palace and grounds are closed to the general public, but a card of admission can be obtained through one's consul or upon application to the Resident General. One hour is sufficient for an inspection of the buildings and grounds -- which are worth seeing. Fees are refused by the palace guide and should not be proffered. Travelers usually indicate beforehand the hour of their arrival and the (English-speaking) guide will be found in readiness just within the gate, near the new administration building -- the guards of which challenge visitors unsupplied with the necessary permit. The main building dates from the 17th cent. but has been frequently repaired and recently re-decorated. The exterior is profusely adorned in clashing colors. The tiled roof with deep eaves has elaborately painted carved beams carrying terminal enrichments showing the 5-petal plum blossom -- the old dynastic emblem. The detached building at the rear of the main structure, an excellent example of first-class Korean workmanship, has strikingly decorative peacock-blue tiles, and formerly was the home of the Emperor. When not in the New Palace in the Legation Quarter, he is supposed to abide in the low house at the right. The prevailing tones of the interior decorations are red, gray, and black; the structure is erected around a hollow square, similar to the old imperial buildings at Kyoto. Save for a stone foundain the central patio is bare. The long hall into which the visitor is conducted first is carpeted with imported linoleum; from this one usually enters a public dining-room, decorated in tawdry and doubtful taste. The low waiting-room is a poly-chromatic maze of bewildering colors, not very subdued, but relieved here and there by sculptured phoenixes and plum-blossom crests. From it one proceeds to the vast and lofty THRONE ROOM, 60 or more ft. high, embellished in many colors. Fourteen immense wood columns 2 ft. in diameter, and many pilasters, all painted a ich Indian red, support the coffered ceiling, each panel of which is adorned with a painted phoenix; the wide central sunken panel displays two gorgeous gold phoenixes in high relief, surrounded by wave patterns in poly-chrome tints. This design is duplicated in a richer and more decorous way in the fine panel above the throne. The extra-ordinarily fine hangings are of rich yellow and gold brocade woven on Kyoto looms. At the back are two large phoenixes (one with a peacock's outspread tail) painted in pleasing colors on a gold-lacqered panel 20 by 20 ft. Beneath are four curious wood panels ornamented in colors with mythological phoenixes, dragons, and tortoises. The imperial insignia worked in relief on the silk curtains in gold are striking. The beautiful gold peacock screen at the left is worh noting. The massive and graceful chair which forms the throne is of rich yellow silk-velvet and gold, with imperial plum blossoms worked in gold on the arms and legs, and the Yang and Yin of the Chinese. The exquisite dark-blue cloisonné vases at the right and left, portraying white flowers and birds, were presented by the late Prince Ito. Singularly out of place amid the luxurious fitments of the room are the 14 brass gas-heaters of foreign provenience. The hardwood floor is polished to a high degree of luster and slipperiness. The medley of wall-decoration is not in the best taste.
Adjoining the Throne Room is the smaller, similarly decorated AUDIENCE ROOM, with some rich and costly screens and some sprindly, upholstered French furniture. Th escreen in front of the yellow silk hangings at the lift cost Y2000 and is a marvel of richness; the panel at the right, with the cock and hen, plum blossoms, and camellias, symbolizes Spring. That with the wistaria, lilies, and cranes is emblematic of Summer. Autumn is represented by autumn leaves, chrysanthemums, and pheasants fashioned with marvelous fidelity to nature. The dissolution of the summer glories and the advent of Winter is represented by a panel displaying ducks, winter berries, and flowers. The base of the screen is beautifully inlaid with rich yellow gold and madreperl, and egred with chased gold filigree. The dominant ground note of all the panels is a delicate pearl gray. The other screen, displaying strikingly handsome Japanese cranes on a mauve ground, cost Y1500. -- Traversing a long hall in which there are several excellent old Chinese and Japanese screens, we come to
the RECEPTION HALL, with some more costly screens and a noteworthy peacock panel suspended against the wall; the fastenings of the windows and partitions are fine Korean brasswork. The bronze statuette on its pedestal (said to be over a thousand yrs. old) was a gift from the Emperor of Italy to the ex-Emperor of Korea for his consideration toward certain Italian subjects. The long screen behind it, adorned with apricot blossoms, is of Korean make. -- Leaving the palace we bear to the left and proceed to the IMPERIAL SUMMER HOUSE, in the spacious, flower-decked garden. In spring the place is redolent of fragrance and beautiful with blossoming cherries; in summer lilies and lotuses impart their special charm, and in autumn the reddening maples are of a gorgeousness difficult to portray. The grounds are very extensive, and fine walks lead to and fro across them. In one of the little houses silk-worms were formerly reared by the Emperor; at the far end of the park is a special summer-house where the Crown Prince used to receive the ministers and nobles. The visitor is conducted finally to a charmingly reposeful little sexagonal summer-house overlooking a lovely pond spanned by a quaint bridge -- a flower-decked retreat in strange contrast to the baldness of the Korean streets. To this spot a special aromatic tea accompanied by cakes is brought from an adjacent house, and served on spotless linen spread upon a Western table. Far back of the tea-house, at the end of a secluded walk which winds through forest glades and maple groves, is a pretty dell with a running brook near it -- the special retiring place of His Majesty. If the guide is complacent he will lead the visitor through a gateway to the grounds of the museum and the botanical garden before conducting him to the entrance.
The *Seoul Art Museum (Hakubutsukwan), the Botanical Garden (Shokubutsuen), and the Zoölogical Garden (Doubutsu-en) are all in one wide inclosure just N. of the East Palace garden (Pl. C, 2), and are reached through a short street (the Genkwa-mon-douri) which leads N. (tram-cars) from Chon-no St. (5 min. walk) at a point a short way E. of Pagoda Park and the E. Palace entrance; they were established in 1908 and are open daily (admission, 10 sen) from 9 to 4p The entrance to the museum grounds is on the left side of the st., and when one stands within the gateway the museum is straight ahead, the botanical garden is at the right, and the Zoo at the left; all are in a state of development and change. The museum exhibits at present displayed in the rather shabby detached buildings are destined later to be assembled and united in one or more larger and more commodious structures. No effort is here made to describe the collection in detail; it is decidedly inferior to the customary splendid ancient and modern art objects one usually sees in the museums of Japan. There are strangely few antiquities of artistic or intrinsic worth, despite the oft-repeated assertion that Korea was the fountain-head whence the wonderful artisans of Old Japan drew their inspiration. Few of them are comparable to the early achievements of the Nipponese. Most of the specimens of old work date from periods between the 9th and 14th centuries. There are some attractive bits of gold, bronze, brass, and lacquer inlaid with madreperl, conspicuous among the latter, several chests, trays, and what-not strikingly like certain of the pieces in the Nara and Tokyo museums. The bronze mirrors are chiefly of Chinese origin and are unequivocally the prototypes of those so prominent in Japan in the pre-Meiji era. The hall in which the small but interesting collection of old Buddhas (many of Indian origin) are kept is worth looking into, as it contains also a display of early jewelry. Certain of the old monochrome and polychrome pictures, chiefly in makemono and kakumono form, are scarcely distinguishable, to the casual eye, from the Japanese and Chinese work. Certain of the court scenes, landscapes, portraits of Buddhist priests and sages, and the like, are noteworthy in conception and technic and show the work of true artists on their ancient surfaces. The collection of palanquins, singularly crude vehicles, arms, and royal trappings is more picturesque than artistic. The mineral specimens and stuffed birds, animals, and fishes need not detain one. The numerous glass cases containing early pottery, porcelain, and stoneware are not without interest. Certain of the rare celadon pieces are grim relics of an era when it was customary to fill them with food and water and plice them in tombs or mounds where aged or inrfirm persons had been left to die a lingering death. The gray Mishimade-ware is so called because the stripes resemble those of the Mishima Almanac published anciently by the Mishima Myoujin Temple (in Japan). All the pieces are immeasurably superior to present-day productions. The fictitious value placed upon some of these old Korean bits by Japanese enthusiasts was exemplified at a recent auction sale in Osaka, when a mound-bowl, once the property of a Korean emperor, and with an intrinsic value of perhaps 15 yen, sold for Y90,000! -- The blue-and-white porcelain of the Ri Dynasty is interesting. Most of the specimens of white glazed stoneware were taken from tombs dating from A.D. 900 to 1400. -- The buildings on a low terrace at the upper end date from 1911.
The BOTANICAL GARDEN is load out in the formal Japanese style, with lakelets, artistic bridges, etc., and is being stocked gradually with rare plants. The fine glassed-in greenhouse contains a number of beautiful orchids. The cherry blooms in April and the maple leaves in Nov. attract many persons. -- The Zoo contains the usual assortment of animals from rodents to elephants, besides some splendid Korean tigers, leopards, and bears. -- The IMPERIAL LIBRARY in course of construction will contain, among other things, some rare Korean and Chinese manuscripts from the monasteries on Diamond mt.
The Queens' Tomb (Seisyouri), about 1 M. N.E. of the To-daimon (Tong Tai Moon) Gate (Pl. D, 2) at the E. outskirt of the city, can be reached easily and quickly (tram-car in 20 min,; fare 15 sen; 2 hrs. should be allowed for the round trip) by boarding a car on Chon-no and proceeding to a point near the terminus, outside the gate. It stands on the terraced slope of a high hill 20 min. walk (over a straight road) to the left of the car-track, behind a group of shrines. Encircling it is a row of crudely chiseled grotesque figures of Chinese sages, lions, ponies, sheep, etc. A slab of finely sculptured granite 2 ft. thick, 6 ft. wide, and 12 ft. long stands before the mound and rests upon 4 stone drums. The general effect is bizarre and puerile. The caretaker expects a small fee (10-20 sen is ample). -- The dilapidated and uninteresting Temple of the Chinese God of War just outside the Todaimon Gate is not worth wasting time over. -- The so-called TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, a worthless structure in the W. quarter of the city (Pl. B, 3), played its part during the old régime and fell into decay along with it.
The New Imperial Palace (Kyong Kyuu) stands in the Legation Quarter (Pl. B, 3) in a wide compound entered through several massive gateways which recall certain of the Buddhist temple gates of Japan. The florid decorations are in atrocious taste and are less interesting than the many involved brackets whose salient members suggest exaggerated calipers and attest their Buddhist origin. The left (side) gate has recently been painted in colors so flamboyant that even the brilliant Koren sun seems unable to tame them. The palace proper, a pretentious gray granite Ionicized structure (dating from 1906), two-stories, with lines of fluted columns on three sides and Greek vases on the low roof, stands far back from the street, behind high masonry walls, and is not open to the public. It occupies the site of an original detached Korean-style edifice erected soon after the flight of the Emperor to the Russian Legation (in 1895) and burned in 1904; the interior fitments were furnished by Maple & Co. of London, and cost about 3 million yen. In the back yard is a striking shaft adorned with a group of bronze dragons. The English Consulate stands just back of the palace inclosure, and the American at the left of it.
Walks and Excursions. The environs of Seoul possess a wildness peculiarly pleasing to the stranger; within an hour's walk of the capital, one finds districts as primitive as though they were a thousand miles from civilization. The people are gentle and kindly disposed, though usually ignorant of any English word. Many of the old customs prevail, and if the foreigner addresses a woman, in all probability she will turn and flee from him as if he were the 'Old Scratch' in person; the scrawnier and more uncomely the woman, the shyer and more timid she usually appears! Strangers who knock at house doors or cross land to seek information from unattended females are apt to wound the susceptibilities of the people. Albeit the country is safe, foreign ladies who object to rude curiosity should go attended by some one -- if only a coolie or a jinriiki-man from the hotel. The fortresses which crown the summits of certain of th environing mts. are picturesque relics of the old days, but are scarcely worth visiting.
Independence Arch, and the White Buddha. The former stands on the Peking Road in extra-mural Seul, 15 min. walk beyond the W. Gate (Pl. A, 2). The walk to the latter is one of the most interesting in the environs, since it affords a good glimpse of Korean country and (on the return) a magnificent view over the city from the heights behind it. -- From the gate the road slopes sharply into the valley to (5 min.) a wide unpaved street leading to the right. Several of the consulates are hereabout, and near them are pretty flower-embowered villas of foreign residents. The primitive houses which flank the Peking Road are scarcely better than the homes of the contemptible little black pigs for which Korea is known. The curious establishments where the huge draft bulls are trussed and shod, resemble primitive bear-traps; half a dozen men are required to manage the unwieldy animals. The wares in some of the shops are kept in pottery jars as big as those in which the 'Forty Thieves' were boiled in oil. Korean ineptitude is curiously manifest in certain of the processes of daily life, and the leisurely traveler finds much to interest him hereabout.
The ARCH is a somewhat tawdry affair of gray granite with a commemorative tablet and design of the Korean flag. It was erected in 1895 to symbolize the assumption of independence by Korea, on the site of an ancient structure called the 'Gate of Gratitude.' Near it formerly stood a pavilion in which newly appointed sovereigns received the investiture brought by a special envoy from Peking. Only the stone supports of the old gate remain. -- The rambling structure near the base of the hill at the left is the Seoul Prison. The region roundabout was formerly used as an Execution Ground, and a decade or so age it was not unusual to see headless bodies stretched by the roadside, as reminders that the ferocious Tong-haks, or the scarcely less cruel Government, were busy. -- Beyond the arch, the road winds up through a rocky defile, then leads countryward between bald hills. The city wall high above on the craggy heights is picturesque. The highway soon descends into a wild and arid gorge. About 1/2 M. from the arch the side trail to the White Buddha turns off at the right, and winds first to the left, then to the right across a lonely and forbidding country. An open stretch leads between hills to a shallow river, a 5 min. walk up which brings one to Inouye's stone quarry (frequent blasting). Opposite this, on the left bank of the stream, near the superintendent's house, is a temple-like pavilion above a monolithic fragment of granite at the foot of a hill.
The White Buddha, sometimes called Miriok' (from the Chinese Mi-le, or Buddha), is one of many similar sculptured figures (in low relief) scattered throughout Korean, and is supposed to be an early relig of Buddhism. The setting of the figure is romantic and picturesque, with the shallow stream prattling at its feet and the lofty hills rising behind. The body of the seated image is pinted white; the heavy, chiseled features show little of the calm Buddhistic spirit characteristic of certain Buddhas in Japan, and the bizarre head-dress and gaudy enrichments accentuate its cheapness. There is no custodian, and no fees are demanded. -- The return to Seoul should be varied by continuing upstream through the wild and striking region to a point where the city wall fings itself across the gorge and forms a mediaeval five-arched bridge. At a point 5 min. beyond the gateway (through the wall) a lateral arm of the stream comes in at right angles. This should be followed past the small group of native huts flanking one side of the gorge. In spring the wild flowers are varied and beautiful, and in autumn the splendid tints are accentuated by numerous coppices of red haw bushes. I the warm and sheltered rift in the hills, vegetation flourishes with semi-tropical luburiance. Lines of laden bulls, ponies, and coolies descend the gorge and add to its picturesqueness. A 25 min. walk from the Buddhas, along a well-defined path, brings one to the summit of the ridge and the antique Pook Han Gate, formerly closed and reserved for the King should he attempt to escape to one of the several fortresses in the hills. A Japanese sentry now guards it. -- The road dips hence into a second gorge choked with willows, poplars, and scrub pines, then emerges on a height whence a fine panorama of the city and the hills behind unfolds itself. Hence a 30 min. walk down through the outskirts (follow the wide road and turn up at the left with it) brings one to the side wall and gate of the N. Palace.