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Jikji Korea festival to wrap up three-week run Sunday

Jikji Korea International Festival, an annual cultural event in honor of the world's oldest extant book printed with movable metal type, will conclude its 21-day run in the central South Korean city of Cheongju on Sunday.

Printed at the Heungdeok Temple in Cheongju in 1377, "Jikji" is the abbreviated title of "Jikjisimcheyojeol," a book on the Zen teachings of great Buddhist priests. In that year, two disciples of Ven. Baegun completed the publication of the book written by him using movable metal type.

UNESCO confirmed "Jikji" as the world's oldest metal-printed book in 2001 and included it in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme that year.


The city has held the Jikji Festival since 2003 as part of efforts to promote the valuable cultural heritage of Korea.

Hundreds of people, including Cheongju Mayor and the festival's chief organizer, Han Beum-deuk, and the city assembly's head, Ha Jae-sung, are expected to take part in the closing ceremony at the Cheongju Arts Hall.

A chamber orchestra is to give a concert with the theme "Balance and Harmony," to be followed by the tolling of the Millennium Bell three times to herald the start of the closing ceremony.

The bell ringing carries meaning that is perceived as expressing gratitude for the staging of a successful festival to the heaven, the earth and humankind.

A media facade will come next to reiterate the festival's message about the spirit and the wisdom of 'Jikji' that has been highlighted as the first book ever printed with movable metal type.

A video will be shown to highlight major events in the entire process of the festival.

During the closing ceremony, organizers will hold a fashion show on the clothing of the 918-1392 Goryeo Dynasty in cooperation with the Hanbok Advancement Center, an industrial body on the traditional Korean attire "hanbok."

About 20 models are expected to strut along the runway to show off 35 pieces of the replicas of Goryeo clothes made by three renowned designers: Mun Ssang-hu, Hwang Seon-tae and Moon Kye-ok.

The fashion show will present a glimpse into the clothing culture of the dynasty that covers official uniforms of the noble class and ordinary people's apparel, as well as court dresses of the royal family, an official on the organizing committee said.

At the end of the fashion show, model Park Byeol will show off the replica of a dress worn by priestess Myodeok, who is said to have offered a donation to the printing of Jikji. (Yonhap)