[KS] Choson Dynasty Sexuality

J.Scott Burgeson jsburgeson at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 4 21:56:10 EST 2008

--- Frank Hoffmann <hoffmann at koreaweb.ws> wrote:

> Scott, it seems to me you are mixing issues and 
> topics here. High and Low art --  sure, but the 
> thing is that these are copies of Manchu art work.
> There are those copies, and that's that. There 
> are no further developments in this direction, no 
> documented interest. What we have are those much 
> more sophisticated, non-explicit works ... also 
> showing desire, also producing an erotic setting, 
> etc., but not showing genitals. 

Frank, let me make a final comment here and clarify my
usage of "high art" versus "low art" in this
discussion. Of course, within the dominant
Neo-Confucian ideology of Chosun, graphic or explicit
ch'unhwa would have been considered "low art" but I am
talking about how such works are viewed and judged
aesthetically today. For example, in the above latter
quote you again associate "non-explicit" with "more
sophisticated" but from my own perspecitve I do not
see such a clear-cut division and see much more of a
continuity in terms of the quality of, say, Hyewon's
explicit and non-explicit works. I presume you are
referring to documented historical evidence that
Hyewon was specifically copying Manchu works and if so
I would be happy to know the source so that I can look
at it myself.

A final comment about the "apparent" lack of a
political subtext in these Korean ch'unhwa: As I
mentioned above, the Neo-Confucian literati elite
would have, at least officially, considered these
works low-brow or vulgar because sex itself was not
considered worthy of discussion within Neo-Confucian
metaphysics. However, it is for this very reason that
explicit ch'unhwa COULD be considered subversive and
therefore carry an implicit political charge which is,
again, why I would be curious to hear more about the
specifics of Hyewon's being expelled from the royal
painting institue if any sholars on the List have more
information on this particular incident.

 --Scott Bug

Never miss a thing.  Make Yahoo your home page. 

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list