[KS] Samguk Yusa readership during Joseon - response

Andrew zatouichi at gmail.com
Sat Sep 15 08:03:20 EDT 2012

Dear all,

Apologies for my slow response but thank-you for the very useful and
detailed replies concerning my query on the readership of the Samguk-yusa.
 I read them all with great interest.

I've decided the quotes Yu Deuk-gong took from the Samguk-yusa for his
poetry cycle were likely added in the 1792 revision after he had access to
Gyujanggak library.  There are existing editions of the earlier version
(one at Beijing University, one at Sunkyunkwan University and one at the
National Library), so in theory it would be possible to confirm.  The total
quoted prose passages of the cycle are taken from some 43 sources, 20 of
which are Korean.  The Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), Samguk-sagi and Munheon-bigo
(文獻備考) are cited most often: 46, 32 and 20 times respectively compared to
the Samguk-yusa only twice.

Despite this, I still suspect, if he had read it early on, the Samguk-yusa
may have influenced the conception and selection of topics, even if he then
turned to more reliable and detailed sources for their citation.  This is
what prompted my curiosity about the availability and readership of the
Samguk-yusa during the late 18th century.

Just out of interest then, below is a list of the topics which occur in
both the Samguk-yusa and Yu's 21 Capital Hoegosi cycle.  There is, still, a
greater proportion of topics not mentioned in the Samguk-yusa, and Yu was
extremely well read so ultimately it may not have influenced his choice of
topics at all.

This list excepts the early foundation myths and pre-dynastic orthodox
historiography (Dan'gun, Gi Ja, Wi Man) which is of course also attested in
the Samguk-yusa.  The first number refers to the chapter number of the Ha
Tae-Hung and Mintz translation; the poem number to Yu's cycle (which has 43
poems in total).

26: poem 23: King Soji of Silla's shooting his queen and slave through a
geomungo case.
33: poem 22: Jaemae-gok valley (財買谷), named after Kim Yushin's wife (or
daughter 宗女??) and the Songhwabang (松花房).
34: poem 27: The Silla royal provision of three *mal* (斗) of rice and nine
pheasants (九雉), in the context of Myeongju (溟州).
34: poem 17: King Uija of Baekje failing to heed his loyal vassal
Seongchung's (成忠) warning of imminent invasion.
34: poem 17: King Uija believing that the Baekma-gang (白馬江) river dragon
would be adequate defense.
34: poem 13: The Nakhwa-am (落花巖) rock from which Baekje palace ladies
committed suicide.
37: poem 21: The magical and all powerful manman-papa (萬萬波波) flute.
44: poem 27: Kim Juwon (周元) prevented from becoming the Silla king, and
enfeoffed as king of Myeongju instead.
54: poem 26: Gyeon Hwon of Later Baekje attacking the Silla court at the
Poseok-jeong (鮑石亭) pavilion.
55: poem 20: Biryu attempting to establish a kingdom at
Michuhol (彌鄒忽) whilst his brother Onjo is more successful.
55: poem 17: Su Dingfang using a white to catch the river dragon in the
Baekma-gang (白馬江) before crossing into Baekje.
55: poem 16: The Jaondae (自溫臺) rock which King Uija of Baekje enjoyed
sitting on.
57: poem 33: Gyeon Hwon of Later Baekje receiving titles from the Later
Tang emperor.
57: poem 33: Prophecy of a blue horse from Jeolyeong Island (絶影驄) given by
Gyeong Hwon to Wang Geon.
57: poem 26: second mention of Gyeon Hwon attacking the Silla court at the
Poseok-jeong (鮑石亭) pavilion.
57: poem 33: Gyeon Hwon later dying on an abscess bursting on his back.
58: poem 28: Foundation egg myth of Geumgwan (金官) Gaya.
58: poem 28: Empress Heo (許皇后) arriving from Ayodhya (阿踰陀國) in a red sailed
ship and offering her silk trousers at the mountain spirit shrine.
64: poem 13: Goguryeo warlord Gaesomun (蓋蘇文) being made *mangniji* (莫離支).
64: poem 14: Prince Ansun/Anseung (安勝/安舜) of Goguryeo defecting to Silla.
68: poem 28: Pasatap (婆娑塔) pagoda brought on the ship of Empress Heo.

One final, separate question, regarding the authorship which has been
touched upon.  I have in places read, and formed the impression that the
Samguk-yusa was consciously written as an alternative to the Samguk-sagi
which was too orthodox Confucian and generally ignored Buddhism.  But
reading the English translation of the Samguk-yusa, I couldn't detect this,
and the Samguk-sagi is even referenced.  The first two more historical
sections, don't seem especially different to the historiography of the
Samguk-sagi (just less detailed) and considering this, they likely both
relied on similar earlier sources, such as the Gu-samguk-sa.  Is there
evidence then, that the author(s) of the Samguk-yusa were expressly
critical of Kim Bu-sik and the Samguk-sagi, or is this a later

sincerely to all,
Andrew Logie
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