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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Old and Historic Trees on South Korean Stamps

This is the third installment of the "Old and Historic Trees of Korea" series.

The stamps illustrate a group of Japanese black pines at Sancheondan, Jeju. It is said that during the tenure of King Seongjong of the Joseon Dynasty, Lee Yak-Dong, an altar was built around the Japanese black pines, where the religious rituals dedicated to the mountain spirit had been held. The Japanese black pine is also called sea pine because it grows near the beach. With an average height of 29.7m, the pines live about 500-600 years. The Legend tells that when God came down to the human world, he took a rest near such big tree and this belief led the Japanese black pines to be regarded as being sacred and thus protected.

Ginkgo tree at Yogwang-ri, Geumsan, is also illustrated in the series. Many years ago the governor of Jeolla Province built a pavilion under this ginkgo tree, and named it "the gingko tree pavilion". After the pavilion became dilapidated, the village inhabitants built a new, hexagonal pavilion. This ginkgo tree is about 1,000 years old, 24m high and 12.93m in circumference. With its broken branches, the village inhabitants made dining tables and 37 coffins.