Soswaewon Garden epitomizes the literati gardens of the mid-Joseon Dynasty.
Nature and artificial elements are carefully harmonized in this woodland garden, which embodies the upright mind and restrained aestheticism of ancient Korean scholars.
Yang San-bo (1503-1557), a young scholar born in Damyang, built this garden after returning to his hometown and giving up his worldly ambitions when his teacher, Jo Gwang-jo, was sent to exile as part of a literati purge.
The garden is a wooded estate spanning approximately 4,060 square meters in the form of a trapezoid, with a stream gorge running through the center.
It is divided into several areas depending on the spatial features and functions: area around Aeyangdan Terrace, area around Ogongmun Gate, area around Jewoldang Hall, and area around Gwangpunggak Pavilion.
The woods have various trees including bamboo, pine, zelkova, and maple trees.
Main structures like pavilions, gates, and walls bear signs engraved on stone or wooden plates, such as Aeyangdan, Ogongmun, or Soswae Cheosa Yanggong Jiryeo (Free Man with Pure Mind; The Hut of Lord Yang).
A woodblock print of the garden, dated 1755, the 31st year of the reign of King Yeongjo, shows the garden in its original form.