'Ye(禮)' is the core concept in understanding Choseon society. Although 'Ye' or Ye study became to have negative connotation in later period of time, it is an essential means to understand not only Confucian culture and thoughts but also the society an ...
'Ye(禮)' is the core concept in understanding Choseon society. Although 'Ye' or Ye study became to have negative connotation in later period of time, it is an essential means to understand not only Confucian culture and thoughts but also the society and the era of which it had been practiced. Ye was a norm or a form which was materialized in daily life containing the Confucian thoughts and system and the substance of the culture.
In order to understand the late period of Choseon society at micro level such as day-to-day life, this article examines how Ye discourse was articulated and practiced in regards to family(家門), hyangchon(鄕村), and women in 18th century. The focus was given to ga-moon, hyang-chon, and women because Choseon society was organized around ga-moon and thus categories of Ye was also demarcated through ga-rae(‘家’禮). Given that, this article also puts ga-moon) at the center and divides inside and outside of it; the order of hyang-chon which is linked to ga-moon is related to the outside rule, ip-hu(立後), seung-jung(承重), and control of women which are linked to sustenance of ga-moon is related to the inside, which was the actual points of debate at the time.
Ye study had been usually seen to be at its peak in 16-17 century and was relatively neglected in 18 century. More attention should be given to the trend of Ye study in late Choseon in order to grasp how and in what way the Ju-ja customary formalities of family was established since it had been introduced in the late period of Goryeo. This study sets forth as a premise that the trend of Ye study in 17 century was continued throughout 18 century. It pays attention to which Ye study was modified or newly stood out in 18 century and attempts to find out the meaning it had in regards to cultural history of 18 century and to development of Ye.
Main characteristics of Ye in 18C are as follows: firstly, ga-rae was not only introduced to sa-dae-bu, the gentry but also to ordinary people in general and settled as a daily etiquette; secondly, interest in byeollye(變禮) as well as sangnye(常禮) became increased; thirdly, while ga-rea was spreaded into the low class people, songnye(俗禮) was introduced to sa-dae-bu, the gentry etiquette; fourthly, ye-seo, books dealig with Ye(禮) was actively published for each household. 18 century was a period of such external change and debate on the true nature of Ye. One of the debates which has to be given attention to is that there was an attempt to overcome Ju-ja customary formalities of family, which was initially found in the Ye theory of Sung-ho Yi-Ik. In other words, 18 century was the time when ga-rea expanded its coverage, diverse customs and geographical characteristics were accepted, and serious probe into the substance of Ye was made in the aim of introducing it as a rational norms of daily life.
This article focuses on Ye-seo to find out how the ceremonial occasions such as ceremonies of coming of age, marriage, funeral and ancestral worship were dealt with in regards to ga-moon, hyang-chon, and women. For example, it concretely examined how the funeral of mothers including biological mother and concubine mother was organized when father was yet alive, how sang-rae linked to succeeding lineage was dealt with and so on.
The research results will be useful to understand how each position of mother, son succeeding lineage, and daughters married out was differently organized; how order of Ye was constructed in hyang-chon; and how women were educated for the sake of the order of ga-moon.
This research does not intend to generalize its findings to the whole period of 18 century but rather aims to reveal differences made by region, ga-moon and sects of school at that time. It is believed that it would enrich understanding of Choseon society in more concrete manners.