Geum Yi

Royal seal returns to South Korea from Seattle for the first time in 70 years

April 1, 2015
The royal seal of Deokjong (Yonhap)

The royal seal of Deokjong (Yonhap)

A treasured Korean artifact, the royal seal of Deokjong — most recently in the hands of the Seattle Art Museum — has returned home for the first time in about 70 years.

The Cultural Heritage Administration held a ceremony inside the National Palace Museum of Korea Wednesday, attended by SAM Director Kimerly Rorschach and CHA Chief Na Sun-hwa, Yonhap reported.

Standing 9.2 centimeters tall in the shape of a turtle, the seal was commissioned by King Seongjong in 1459 to honor his dead father, Prince Deokjong.

Records say it was kept inside the Jongmyo shrine until 1943; it is unknown how it came to be bought by Thomas Stimson in 1962 and given to SAM in 1963.