Eobo, the official seal of the king

Eobo is produced for ceremonial purposes at the time of the coronation ceremony of the king and queen, in praise of the virtuous deeds and/or to convey the significance of integrated re-evaluation of the governance by the king. Such Eobo is then enshrined with the ancestral tablet of the king or queen in royal ancestral shrine after their death to symbolize the continuity of the dynasty and legitimacy of the royal family. In addition, if it is used to symbolize the nation and succeeding of the throne, and actually used in state affairs including affixing of foreign diplomatic documents, it was specifically referred to as the Guksae (state seal). Accordingly, process of production, types and usages of Eobo are explained below.

Eobo in ancient documents

Eobo affixed on the ancient documents held by the National Library of Korea can also be found mostly on the documents of the king for administrative uses such as written orders of the king that correspond to written command of today, Hongpae and Baekpae, which are the certificate of passing the state examination for recruitment of high-ranking government officials, and Yuseo, written command handed down to the regional government officials, etc. Such documents also include [Shimyeongbo] and the most frequently found [Shimyeongjibo] as well as [Gwageojibo] and [Yuseojibo] in the early period of Joseon, and [Jegojibo], [Chikmyeongjibo] and [Daewonsubo], etc. during the time of Korean Empire. In addition, it is possible to find the [seal of crown prince] on rare written command issued by the crown prince under governance as proxy by the king on behalf of the king.

Eobo in ancient literatures

Guksae (state seal) used in foreign diplomacy documents among the ancient documents held by the National Library of Korea can be found affixed on commercial treaties, Guksae (state seal) for handing down of literatures is affixed on the internal copy of the literatures handed down by the king, and affixing of personal Eobo can be found in Gyomyeong, Okchaekmun and Eocheop handed down to corresponding persons at the time of various ceremonies including installation and dedication of eulogistic posthumous title to royal family members.

Guksae (state seal) of ‘Daejoseongukdaegunjubo’ and ‘Daehanguksae (state seal of Korea)’ used for government documents was produced and used for commercial treaties, and Guksae (state seal) for practical uses such as ‘Seonasjigi’, ‘Gyujangjibo’ and ‘Juncheoljibo’, etc. were produced and used for documents handed down by the king.

It is also possible to find the ‘Wangbijibo’, ‘Wangsejain’ and ‘Wangsejabinjiin’ engraved and used at the time of installation of queen and crown prince, and ‘Hwangtaejabo’ engraved and used during the Korea Empire, as well as Shihobo and Jonhobo manufactured for ceremonial purposes by engraving the contents of dedication of posthumous title, eulogistic posthumous title and eulogistic posthumous title for the queen, etc.