Korean traditional gardens as earthly paradise

W. K. Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Garden makers in history have been intent on creating earthly paradise. In addition, the garden has been a place of symbolism and representation of major philosophical questions. The first record of Korean gardens appeared in 391 CE at Samkuksaki. The palace building was heavily repaired, and a pond was dug for mounding to raise rare birds and exotic plants. Afterwards the ultimate goal of Korean traditional gardens was to transform the symbolic immortal world to an earthly paradise. Some representative remains exist such as Kungnamji in 634 at Buye City, Anapji in 674 at Kyungju City, Kyungbokgoong Palace in 1393, Changdukgoong Palace in 1401 at Seoul City and Kwanghaloo in 1420 at Namwon City. The idea of a fairyland was a main theme of gardens and for that purpose replicas of legendary immortal islets were constructed in ponds or symbolic patterns of longevity were decorated on the garden furniture such as stone basins chimneys and walls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalActa Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Fairyland
  • Imaginary environment
  • Landscape architecture
  • Symbolism
  • Taoism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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