Cultural Heritage Designation

Korean cultural heritages are designated by the Cultural Heritage Administration broadly into two types:

  1. State-designated (national level) (국가지정)
  2. City/Province-designated (local level) (시도지정)

Within these broad designations are sub-designations as follow.

For state-designated heritages there are:

  1. National Treasures (국보)
  2. Treasures (보물)
  3. Historic Sites (사적)
  4. Scenic Sites (명승)
  5. Natural Monument (천연기념물)
  6. National Intangible Cultural Heritage (국가무형문화재)
  7. Important Folklore Cultural Heritage (중요민속문화재)

For city/province-designated heritages there are:

  1. Tangible Cultural Heritage (유형문화재)
  2. Intangible Cultural Heritage (무형문화재)
  3. Monument (기념물)
  4. Folklore Heritage (민속문화재)

Apart from these state- or city/province-designated heritages are:

  1. Cultural Heritage Material (문화재자료)
  2. Registered Cultural Heritage (등록문화재)
  3. Undesignated Cultural Heritage (비지정문화재)

These designations reflect the general type of heritage as well as the relative importance of the heritage. However, regardless of designation, the heritages are usually managed by  local governments, museums, or other heritage institutions (for example, the organization in charge of the palaces in Seoul).

More information on exactly what kind of heritages fall into these categories can be found on the CHA site here.

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