[KS] Korean Tea Ceremony and other wonders

Werner Sasse werner_sasse at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 13 21:40:10 EDT 2012


(草廬三間) >"I think the 
> term ch'oryŏ samgan, other than ch'oga samgan, is a rather unusual one, 
> but also referring to a native Korean measurement--that is kan, ca. 
> 1.82 meters times 1.82 meters. "3 kan" therefore comes to about 30 
> square meters--that's what, the size of a student's studio?  Yes, but in this case "3 rooms", 間 is also "room" (in Chin. too). 나 한 간, 달 한 간에 청풍(淸風) 한 간 맛져두고 I also like the sequence I, moon, wind . Years ago someone told me, Koreans avoid "I". Well, definitely not in Sijo. I think it was the late Chŏng Pyŏnguk who did some statistics about Sijo and the highest frequency had "I"....
 >This is therefore *not* an example for poetry in 
> the context of "garden culture" (and garden architecture) but more so 
> of the sort of gardens (and possibly related buildings) that Werner 
> described, and that again is something I would see as proof for the 
> absence of garden culture. … Yes, it is not about garden at all, it is about 풍류, and therefore >but more so 
> of the sort of gardens (and possibly related buildings) that Werner 
> described, and that again is something I would see as proof for the 
> absence of garden culture. …is beside the point, right? BestWerner  > Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 21:41:15 -0700
> From: hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
> To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> Subject: Re: [KS] Korean Tea Ceremony and other wonders
> 
> 
>   十年을 經營하야 草廬三間지어내니
> 
> Translated as:
> 
>   It took ten years to build / my little thatched hut.
> 
> What about the kyŏngyŏng-haya part?
> That just seems so essential. Isn't he saying that it took 10 years of 
> his life to plan that hut (not to actually build a small house), and is 
> that not just a poetic way to say he needed an awful long time to get 
> his life straight, to understand what all is about, what's important 
> and what not? Reminds me a lot of Tang period poetry, clearly informed 
> by Buddhist thought. I like how you translate the third and last line 
> ending in -porira, kind of really reflects the a fresh and imposing, 
> early Korean Buddhist spirit (that somehow disappeared during Chosŏn 
> times) while being very contemporary in feeling.
> 
> The late Richard Rutt, whom I very much admire for his translations, 
> rendered the poem as follows:
> 
>   At the end of ten years’ work
>         I have a hut with a straw roof.
>   The clear wind lives in one half,
>         and the bright moon in the other.
>   There’s no space to invite the hills--
>         they will have to stay outside.
> 
> I like the translation of the first line, for it seems to reflect the 
> meaning of kyŏngyŏng more pointedly, and "hut with a straw roof" seems 
> not to be so overly cute than "little thatched hut" also. But your 
> ending, on the other hand, that seems far more Korean in spirit (almost 
> pre-Chosŏn Buddhist) than the all too passive ending by Rutt. 
> 
> Beautiful, absolutely beautiful this spirit! No family, no social life, 
> no responsibilities, just an old man enjoying himself and his endless 
> wisdom. Today you have to be a Facebook executive, sell your stock 
> portfolio early enough, and get a house in the Berkeley Hills to enjoy 
> this kind of life. Also gives you some hints as to why there were 
> peasant unrests in Korea almost every single year all through the 
> Chosŏn period--they just did not achieve the same yangban wisdom, did 
> not invest into the right portfolio to relax the same way Mr. Song Sun 
> was privileged to. 
> 
> Let's return to garden culture and garden architecture: A "hut" is 
> little by definition. The phrase "little thatched hut" (in the 
> translation) is an often used phrase in English, and familiarity with 
> phrases is good for translations, maybe. But, and since this comes up 
> within the context of garden culture (and architecture), I think the 
> term ch'oryŏ samgan, other than ch'oga samgan, is a rather unusual one, 
> but also referring to a native Korean measurement--that is kan, ca. 
> 1.82 meters times 1.82 meters. "3 kan" therefore comes to about 30 
> square meters--that's what, the size of a student's studio? The 
> standard Korean house was in traditional times more around five kan 
> large. Of course, there were all kinds of variations, regional ones and 
> by status. A poor peasant family house could have well been only three 
> kan large. In any case, this is "just" poetry: we may simply take this 
> to mean a reference to a smaller house "in the hills" (or mountains), 
> which COULD be a kind of pavilion but also just a standard 
> Korean-style, smaller house--not the normal yangban residence. Now, 
> that is for sure a classical poetic setting in both China and Korea. 
> But please note how very 'loose' and non-pointed the references to 
> nature are, pretty much in line with what Werner described. There are 
> no specific references to specific locations (e.g. specific mountains 
> and rivers, as so often in landscape painting, for example, and other 
> poems, usually referring to places in China, at least until the 
> mid-Chosŏn period). This is therefore *not* an example for poetry in 
> the context of "garden culture" (and garden architecture) but more so 
> of the sort of gardens (and possibly related buildings) that Werner 
> described, and that again is something I would see as proof for the 
> absence of garden culture. … A single short poem, of course, is by no 
> means sufficient to proof anything. 
> 
> Maybe Dr. Kim-Renaud could kindly summarize how the mentioned 
> conference paper by In-Souk Cho interprets this particular poem in 
> relation to Korean architecture? I'd again fear the worst here. That 
> MIGHT then be a great example of exactly the kind of manipulative 
> writing I was referring to (or it might not). 
> 
> 
> Best,
> Frank
> 
> 
> 
> --------------------------------------
> Frank Hoffmann
> http://koreaweb.ws
>  
 		 	   		  
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