To mark the return of the last of the Oegyujanggak royal archive books from France, a traditional court banquet was held on June 11 at Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul.

The large-scale royal ceremony was first held on Ganghwa Island in the morning and again in Seoul in the afternoon.

The ceremony began with a royal march led by a palanquin loaded with the returned royal books, followed by some 500 royal guards, civil and military officials, court musicians and dancers in the traditional clothing

of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

A palanquin containing the returned royal archive books, accompanied by royal guards, civil and military officials and costumed court musicians and dancers at Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Yonhap News)

After the arrival of the royal books, a traditional ritual with court dances and music was held to announce the return of Oegyujanggak books.

Nearly 800 people attended the ceremony, including President Lee Myung-bak, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choung Byoung-gug, Kim Sung-hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Dr. Park Byeng-sen, who found the books in the National Library of France and was crucial to efforts to have the books returned.

In his congratulatory speech, President Lee urged the nation to make efforts for the return of Korean cultural heritage from overseas.

The National Museum of Korea will hold a special exhibition on the returned books

 for two months from July 19.

By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer