The Seal of Emperor Gojong of the Korean Empire("Hwangjejibo") and two of the state seals have recently been designated as National Treasures of Korea. These seals were used by the Korean emperor as a symbol of his imperial authority.
A Seal of the State is a national symbol and official seal used on documents produced in accordance with the King's orders. 2017 marks the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of the Korean Empire. For that reason, the designation of the Seal of the Emperor, a Seal of the State of the Korean Empire which symbolizes the nation's independence, as a national treasure is even more meaningful.
One of the two featured a turtle-shaped handle(龜紐), while the other featured a dragon-shaped handle (龍鈕). Of the three different types of Seals of the Emperor, the one in possession of the National Palace Museum of Korea is a jade seal with a dragon-shaped handle. It even features a hole in the middle of the dragon for attaching a lanyard.
As the Korean Empire was established, the shapes of the Seals of the State also changed. The Seal of the Emperor is one of the artifacts that well-reflects this important characteristic. The most significant change is that the shape of the handle changes from a turtle to a dragon which symbolizes the Emperor.
Changes continued in the typeface on the stamping surface of the Seals of the State. While a Joseon-era Royal Seal filled the entirety of a seal surface with twisting perpendicular strokes in a typographical style known as Gucheopjeon(九疊篆), a Seal of the State of the Korean Empire featured a large amount of negative space in a style known as Sojeon(小篆).
As a symbol of the independent nation of the Korean Empire established 120 years ago, the Seal of the Emperor not only a seal that declares Gojong as Emperor, but an important national treasure that must be preserved long into the future. The Seal of the Emperor is currently being exhibited with other seals returned in 2014 in the first "Kings of the Joseon Dynasty" permanent exhibition hall at the National Palace Museum of Korea.
NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM OF KOREA