Phoenix Throne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Phoenix Throne
The central features of the throne room in Gyeongbokgung is the elevated Phoenix throne.
Korean name
Hangul 어좌 / 옥좌 / 보좌
Hanja / /
Revised Romanization Eojwa / Okjwa / Bojwa
McCune–Reischauer Ŏjwa / Okchwa / Pojwa

The Phoenix Throne (eojwa) is the English term used to identify the throne of the hereditary monarchs of Korea. In an abstract sense, the Phoenix Throne also refers rhetorically to the head of state of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897) and the Empire of Korea (1897–1910).

The Phoenix motif [1] symbolizes the king's supreme authority.[2] The phoenix has a long association with Korean royalty — for example, in Goguryeo tomb murals like that of the Middle Gangseo Tumulus where the painted image of a phoenix is featured.[3]


The portrait of Emperor Gojong enthroned. Lithograph by Joseph de la Nezière, 1903.

Enthronement ceremonies and the throne itself has evolved across the span of Korean history. For example, from 1399–1549, seven of twelve kings were enthroned in the royal throne hall (Geunjeong-jeon) at Gyeongbokgung Palace. In other words, Jeongjong, Sejong, Danjong, Sejo, Seongjong, Jungjong, and Myeongjong ascended the Phoenix Throne in the same royal location.[4]

Rhetorical usage[edit]

This flexible English term is also a rhetorical trope. Depending on context, the Phoenix Throne can be construed as a metonymy, which is a rhetorical device for an allusion relying on proximity or correspondence, as for example referring to actions of the monarch or as "actions of the Phoenix Throne."

The Phoenix Throne is also understood as a synecdoche, which is related to metonymy and metaphor in suggesting a play on words by identifying a closely related conceptualization, e.g.,

  • referring to the whole with the name of a part, such as "Phoenix Throne" for the serial symbols and ceremonies of enthronement
  • referring to the general with the specific, such as "Phoenix Throne" for kingship—as in:
  • "... T'aejo mounted the phoenix throne in Kaesǒng as the first ruler of Chosǒn."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The connection with Korea's history was acknowledged when the phoenix was incorporated in the modern State Seal of the Republic of Korea (guksae 국새, 國璽)-- see "Three-Legged Bird to Replace Phoenix on State Seal," Chosun Ilbo (Seoul). January 16, 2006.
  2. ^ Korean Ministry of Culture and Information. (1978). A Handbook of Korea, p. 189.
  3. ^ Korea Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), The Culture and Customs of Goguryeo
  4. ^ Life in Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Keunjeong-jeon
  5. ^ Korea History Project, Choson
  6. ^ Find-a-Grave, Prince Sado
  7. ^ Henthorn, William E. (1971). A History of Korea, p. 136.


  • Henthorn, William E. (1971). A History of Korea. New York: Free Press. OCLC 186869329
  • Korean Ministry of Culture and Information . (1978). A Handbook of Korea. Seoul: Korean Overseas Information Service, OCLC 6719067

External links[edit]