King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, designated Hanyang (what is now Seoul) as the seat of the government, had fortress walls built around Hanyang, and put 4 gates in the East, West, South and North of Hanyang, with the gate in the South being called “Sungnyemun.” The gate in the South was the symbolic, primary gate through which people gained entry in and out of the capital city. Sungnyemun had both the symbolic significance of this kind, as well as the ordinary function of a gate.In addition, Sungnyemun was also a historic site where the nation’s major events were held, such as the rain-calling as well as sun-calling ceremonies.
Started to be built in the 5th year of King Taejo’s Reign (in 1396) and completed in the 7th year (in 1398), Sungnyemun is one of Korea’s oldest castle gates and at the same time, one of the oldest wooden structures left in Seoul.
Sungnyemun is composed of the masonry made by stacked-up stones, and the two-storied pavilion which is a wooden superstructure. Sungnyemun went through a major repair work in the 30th year of the reign of King Sejong (in 1448) and in the 10th year of the reign of King Seongjong (in 1479), with the stone walls on both sides of the gate being pulled down by the Japanese from 1907 to 1909, right before the Japanese colonial period. During the Korean War, the front side of the masonry and the pavilion were damaged. Consequently, a part of the masonry and the entire pavilion were dismantled and repaired from 1961 to 1963. On Feb. 10, 2008, due to a fire, most of the second story of the pavilion and a part of its first story were destroyed.
Sungnyemun, Korea’s No.1 National Treasure boasting a 600-year-old history came back to our bosom through a 5-year-long restoration work. Sungnyemun was restored to its original condition according to the traditional techniques employed by the best artisans who participated in the restoration work, with its left and right stone walls, which were demolished by Japanese imperialists, also restored to the way it looked in the second half of the Joseon Dynasty. Hoping that Sungnyemun which has come back to us will be with us forever, a commemorative stamp is issued.
Date of Issue-10 May 2013,Denomination-270 Won,Design-Sungnyemun gate,Printing process-offset,4 colors,size-36mmx26mm,Perforation-13,Designer-SHIN Jaeyong,Printer- Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation