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Taegeuk: South Korea’s flag

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Each country proudly carries its flag, as it represents something very valuable and important, years of history. For this reason, we want to talk about Taegeukgi, the flag of South Korea, whose meaning is based on the Taoist concept of duality Yin (음, 陰) – Yang (양, 陽).

Translation by Laura Fino, Angie Salavarria and Sara Varon.

The flag contains four colors: in the background the color white, which represents peace. The Taegeuk center (태극, 太極) symbolizes the origin of things in the universe, representing the positive cosmic forces of the Yang, as well as the heat and light in the color red. At the bottom, representing the negative cosmic forces of the Yin, and cold and dark, there is the color blue. Both complementary opposing forces are in infinite motion and become one, thus representing balance and harmony.

The black color is found in the trigrams around it called Gwae (괘, 卦); ☰ Geon (건; 乾) = Sky (天) in the upper left corner; ☲ Ri (이; 離)) = Fire (火) in the lower left corner, ☵ Gam (감; 坎) = Water (水) in the upper right corner and finally ☷ Gon (곤; 坤)) = Earth ( 地) in the lower right corner.

The Korean flag was created during the Joseon Dynasty (조선, 朝鮮). The creator remains an unsolved mystery, although the author is speculated to be the enlightenment activist and diplomat Park Young-hyo, the date of its creation is also completely unknown. 

Recently, the first known national flag of Korea was discovered in the book “National Maritime Flags”. It has red and blue colors in the center and trigrams in each corner. The book was published in July 1882. Park Young-hyo used this flag during his diplomatic mission to Japan between August and September 1882, so the flag in the book was published at least four months earlier.

According to Jin Moonmo (김원모), an honorary professor at Dankook University, the flag found in the book may be the same as that used during the Joseon Dynasty when the Treaty of Chemulpo (제물포조약) was signed with the United States in May 1882.

In March 1883, the flag of Taegeukgi was officially adopted as the flag of Korea.

De Tcfc2349 - Tomado de: wikipedia.org
De Lumia1234 - Tomado de: wikipedia.org
De Elevatorrailfan - Tomado de: wikipedia.org
Flag of the Provisional People Committee for North Korea
Flag of South Korea (1949–1984)
Flag of South Korea.
Flag of South Korea.
Ordinance Act of the Law concerning the National Flag of the Republic of Korea, Construction and color guidelines.

Written by: María Pertuz

Edited by: Andrea Avendaño

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