[KS] Buddhism in Korea

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Fri Aug 2 19:48:46 EDT 2013

Viet Nam? … we do not need to go quite that far. This must very likely 
be a reference to the famous Kuch'ŏn-gak (九天閣, location: 함경남도, 함
흥시, 동흥산) that goes back to the year 1108 under Koryŏ--a 
strategically situated military outpost, belonging to a castle (咸興邑城
); it is not in today's Hamhŭng City itself but right next to it, on a 
hill from where you have a great view over the city and all the 
surrounding landscape. Kuch'ŏn-gak, in English Kuch'ŏn Pavilion, is 
North Korea's National Treasure No. 108:
More here, including photo of how Kuch'ŏn-gak looks like:

But really nice is this description with the Chosŏn period map, 
explaining the history and its strategic importance:
--> On the first historic map here you will find >>Kuch'ŏn-gak<< top 
center, as a kind of northern gate of the fortification. (Click on map 
to enlarge it.) Keep in mind that this is a late Chosŏn period map … 
the fortification looked somewhat different at Koryŏ times. Please 
consult North Korean publications for details. 


On Fri, 2 Aug 2013 13:53:57 -0700 (PDT), Bill Streifer wrote:
> In a 1946 U.S. intelligence report concerning Hamhung, North Korea, 
> there's a reference to a religious statue or monument known as the 
> Tower of the Nine Heavens. 
> The only reference I found to a monument by that name was a Buddhist 
> structure in Vietnam, also known as "Cuu Thien." But, as I've just 
> said, this one was in North Korea in 1946 on Mt. Pannyong which is 
> adjacent to the residential city of Hamhung. 
> Is anyone familiar with a Buddhist civilization in that area at that 
> time? Or can anyone describe or have a photograph of the "The Tower 
> of the Nine Heavens," either in Korea or in Vietnam? If so, please 
> let me know.
> Thank you.
> Bill Streifer

Frank Hoffmann

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