Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Woman to appear on South Korean banknote for first time

A woman will appear on South Korean banknotes for the first time, with the issuance of a new 50,000-won ($36) bill, the central bank announced Tuesday.

The front of the bill — South Korea's largest-denominated note — will show artwork by and a portrait of Shin Saim-dang, a well-known artist who died in 1551. Shin was the mother of Yi I, a famous Confucian scholar, and is popularly referred to as a symbol of a "wise mother and good wife."

Some of Shin's artwork already appears on the back of the 5,000-won note; the front of the bill is adorned with a portrait of Yi, known by his pen name Yulgok.

Shin was one of the most respected female figures in Korea's Joseon Dynasty, which ruled from 1392 to 1910.

An official with the Bank of Korea said the choice of Shin was significant because it marks the first time a woman will be featured on the banknotes of South Korea, a traditionally male-dominated society.

The new note has strengthened anti-forgery technologies and will debut before June, said the official who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to media.

The note will be the country's highest-denominated bill followed by the 10,000 won.

The bank decided last week not to issue a 100,000-won (about $70) bill at the government's request.


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