Chugugi, Supyo, and Punggi

Meteorological instruments of the 15th century in Korea


  • Youngsin Chun Korean Meteorological Research Institute
  • Sang-woon Jeon Sungshin Women’s University


Meteorology in Korea in modern sense had its start in the 15th century when scientific devices were invented for the measurement of rainfall, flood levels, and wind direction. These inventions were part of the effort to control and understand nature’s influence on agricultural production. This fact is described in detail in volume 93 and 96 of the Sejong sillok (Annals of King Sejong; CE 1418~1450). About 300 years later, another record in volume 114 of the Yongjo sillok (Annals of King Yongjo; CE 1724~1776) also supports this invention. The historical sillok were translated into the modern Korean language in 1994 and were subsequently digitized.1 In this study, sillok, which is a veritable record, will be used together with secondary sources in order to explain the invention of the rain gauge in Korea and describe its background and purpose. Two other meteorological devices invented in Korea in the 15th century, the watermark and wind anemoscope, will also be introduced.