[KS] Percival Lowell

Best, Jonathan jbest at wesleyan.edu
Wed Apr 22 09:33:28 EDT 2015

Sincere thanks to Martina. Clearly the Chosŏn elite not only collected but preserved things important to their Neo-Confucianesque construction of their social identity. As such, may I assume now that their practice had a parallel in Ming and Ch'ing China? If so, then it would seem that there exists an intriguing contrast between the seemingly more restricted range of things that members of the Korean elite, and possibly the Chinese elite as well, typically chose to preserve on one side and the seemingly the rather broader range of things that members of the Japanese elite chose to preserve—presumably also reflective of their sense of social identity—on the other. There's probably an interesting dissertation topic or two somewhere in all this.

From: Koreanstudies [koreanstudies-bounces at koreanstudies.com] on behalf of Martina Deuchler [martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch]
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 4:34 AM
To: Korean Studies Discussion List
Subject: Re: [KS] Percival Lowell

Dear List Members,

The elite did indeed collect--not necessarily art (in the widest sense), but items related to their ancestors, such as ancestral portraits, writings (munjip), calligraphy and paintings, genealogies, examination certificates, written documents of all kinds (so-called komunso), official attires and personal items, etc. Such family treasures were typically preserved in the domestic ancestral shrines or in special containers stored in the taech'ong, tarak, or sadang.

In recent times, elite families have constructed their own store houses, such as the Unjanggak (containing items pertaining to Kim Song-il) in Kumgye or the Yongmogak (containing items pertaining to Yu Song-nyong) in Hahoe.

Thanks to the dedication of the descendants of famous and less famous ancestors, thousands of komunso have been preserved (despite the wars) and are now being published by the Academy of Korean Studies. These documents constitute an invaluable source of historical knowledge.

Martina  Deuchler

Prof. Dr. Martina Deuchler, FBA
Schoorenstr. 48
CH-8802 Kilchberg ZH
Tel. +41-(0)43-377 53 31
martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch<mailto:martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch>

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