The Korean Flag

Post date: Jul 12, 2016 9:00:39 AM

Flag elements

The flag of South Korea, also known as the Taegeukgi, literally "Taeguk flag", has three parts: a white rectangular background, a red and blue Taeguk in the center that symbolizes a balance, and four black trigrams, which are selected from the original eight, on each corner of the flag.

The flag's background is white, which is a traditional Korean color, common to the daily attire of 19th century Koreans and the color is also use for a traditional Korean wear (hanbok). It represents peace and purity. The circle in the middle is derived from the philosophy of um-yang and represents the balance of the universe. The blue section represents the negative cosmic forces, and the red section represents the opposing positive cosmic forces. The trigrams together represent the principle of movement and harmony. Each trigram (hangeul: 괘 [gwae]; hanja: 卦) represents one of the four classical elements in the I Ching book and old Chinese philosophy.

☰ geon (건 / 乾) represents Heaven (천 / 天)

☲ ri (리 / 離) represents fire (화 / 火)

☵ gam (감 / 坎) represents water (수 / 水)

☷ gon (곤 / 坤) represents earth (토 / 土)

In Chinese philosophy the universe consists of heaven and earth. The five major planets are associated with and even named after the elements: Jupiter 木星 is Wood (木), Mars 火星 is Fire (火), Saturn 土星 is Earth (土), Venus 金星 is Metal (金), and Mercury 水星 is Water (水). Also, the Moon represents Yin (陰), and the Sun 太陽 represents Yang (陽). Yin, Yang, and the five elements are associated with themes in the I Ching, the oldest of Chinese classical texts which describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy. The five elements also play an important part in Chinese astrology and the Chinese form of geomancy known as Feng shui.

The doctrine of five phases describes two cycles of balance, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle and an overcoming or destruction (克/剋, kè) cycle of interactions between the phases.

Generating

Wood feeds fire;

Fire creates earth (ash);

Earth bears metal;

Metal collects water;

Water nourishes wood.

Overcoming

Wood parts earth;

Earth absorbs water;

Water quenches fire;

Fire melts metal;

Metal chops wood.

There are also two cycles of imbalance, an overacting cycle (cheng) and an insulting cycle (wu).