Ecosystem and Illustrated Eassy │ The Three Plum Blossoms of Sancheong County __ Lee Ho-sin

The Three Plum Blossoms of  Sancheong County
Lee Ho-sin | Korean Folk Artist
Jeongdangmae Plum
60cm×47cm, Korean ink drawing on Korean paper
February has gone and March is arriving,
Memories of spring come back into my dream,
Yet not able to return to the time of the good old memories 
No matter how much fortune one possesses,
Who keeps the ripened wine at home as a single flower in bloom?
– Yio Jeong (鄭以吾, 1347~1434)
Spring wind blows a spell over the locals, signaling another season of looking for plum blossoms. At nearby Mt. Jirisan ‘Sancheong three plum blossoms (梅)’ attracts many tourists with its striking fresh aroma of plum blossoms around this time every year.  Sancheong County is not known as a plum-producing region, but for many years has been famously renowned for its striking aroma. The fragrance of the area has been distinguished in historic anecdotes and the stories over plum blossoms travel far back into the ancient times that annotated it as a metaphor of an ‘Icy-clear soul’
To begin the florets’ journey, ‘Wonjeongmae (元正梅); the earliest plum blossoms’ welcomes people as the first aroma as the folk town pathways of Namsayeadam folk village. It is primarily known as the area of original plum blossoms that stems back from the time of the Goryeo kingdom. 
The first-planted trees were by a scholar, honorable Hajeup (河楫, 1303~1380), who originally initiated the plum blossom tree plantings in the area. The historic event of blooming continues its aromatic legacy over 650 years later. 
The trees are still blossoming, despite their old age yet the new baby roots grew stronger, so it luckily continues to be alive. A poem narrates a story of plum blossom scent written on the plaque at the village, as if it proves the beauty of living scent. 
Wonjengmae Plum
47cm×60cm, Korean ink drawing on Korean paper
Nammyungmae Plum
58cm×94cm, Korean ink drawing on Korean paper
The next plum blossom site is ‘Jeongdangmae (政堂梅); the central plum blossoms’ located at Dansoksaji (斷俗寺址) which is the back of the village of Uneree (雲里). The person who created the central blossoms was the solo grandson of scholar honorable Hajeup, the creator of ‘Wonjeongmae (元正梅); the earliest plum blossoms’.
Gang, Hui-Baek (姜淮伯, 1357~1402) was one of the government officers of Literacy and his grandson, Gang, Hui-An, illustrated his grandfather’s poem in the edition of ‘Short Journal of Flower Blossoms (養花小錄)’. 
After a while, the great grandson of Gang, Hui-Baek, Gang, Yong-Hyu, ended up re-transplanting the trees, yet the plaque at the backyard of plum blossoms still remains as the original. Even more, the plaque states the history of ‘Jeongdangmae; the Central Aroma’ at the spot. 
The hitherto sad reality is that they are poorly maintained and losing blossoms ever since all the descendants of the Gang family departed the area. Many branches of the trees are getting cut or hurt by the people who mismanaged them. Now a lot of trees are either damaged or very wilted, thus the blossoms are not as prolific as they once were. The situation is dire and it does need encouragement of spiritual reinforcement to maintain cultural assets.
Not like the others explained above, the next flora introduced is ‘Nammyungmae (南冥梅); the southern plum blossoms’. They are fairly vigorously budding everywhere every year. The trees were planted by Nammyung (南冥) Joshik (曺植, 1501~1572), who annotated ‘Sancheonjae (山川齋); a ceremony to pay homage to the god of mountains and creeks’, was nestled around Sancheonjae  near  Mt. Deoksan  on the way to  Mt. Jirisan. 
Ten thousands years later, the divinity of the mountain peak placed close to the sky stirs the spirit of plum blossoms early every spring. The mountain aroma disperses into the sky as if the scholars devoted their entire lifetimes to the literacy and educations at the Hill of Deokcheon River. 
The kind soul, honorable Nammyung reinvigorates the lifespan of the Sancheonjae ceremony on his verse couplet put on a pillar. 
Where does not have grasses like floras in the time of spring mountains?
The energy of the mountain peak wants to stroke heaven from the sky.
With what to fill my stomach, as I was born to this world with empty hands?
Drinking ten thousand miles of Milky Way away,
Yet  the infinite Milky Ways  never run out.  

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