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.