The Trends of Arts and Sciences among Noble Families in Seoul in the 19th Century and the Trends of Thought in the Late Ming Dynasty
The late Ming Dynasty is a very remarkable period in the history of Chinese thoughts and arts and sciences. Contemporary Chinese aesthetician Cheng Fu-wang divided the streams of Chinese thoughts into Confucianism, Taoism,Buddhism and Qu Yuan, and added the thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty as another stream, identifying five mainstreams. Including Qu Yuan in Confucianism and Buddhism in Taoism, Chang Fa viewed Chinese thoughts as three lines, namely, Confucianism, Taoism and the thoughts in the late Ming Dynasty.
New interests in the thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty are found also in research on Chinese literature in Korea. Recently, research is being conducted actively on the relation between Chinese literature in the late Chosun Dynasty and the Gongan School in the late Ming Dynasty. Expanding the viewpoint further, this study examined how the thoughts in the late Ming Dynasty were understood and received in Korean arts and sciences during the 19th century.
Shishuoshinyu appeared in the period of Wei-Jin, but was spotlighted and reinterpreted during the late Ming Dynasty, and is considered the prelude of thoughts in the late Ming Dynasty. Along with Lee Tak-oh, Won Goeing-do,Tang Hyeon-jo, Seo Wi, Pung Mong-ryong, etc., Jin Gye-yu is a literary man representing the thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty. From the results of search using two keywords ‘Shishuoshinyu’ and ‘Jin Gye-yu’s writings,’ we found that noble families in Seoul in the 19th century such as Hong Seok-ju, Hong Gil-ju,Lee Yu-won and Jeong Won-yong, and literati like Jang Hon, Jo Hee-ryong and Lee Gyu-gyeong who associated with such families digested the thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty from a large variety of angles.
The thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty penetrated through the late Chosun Dynasty from Heo Gyun and Shin Heum to Park Ji-won and Lee Ok in the 18th century, Hong Gil-ju and Jo Hee-ryong in the 19th century, and Hwang Hyeon in the early 20th century, and influenced their arts and sciences. In the arts and sciences of the late Chosun Dynasty, the thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty were important elements comparable with evidential studies and Western learning in the Qing Dynasty. During the 19th century characterized by the death of King Jeongjo who opposed So-pum-mun(miscellaneous writings)and the suppression of Western learning under Sedo politics (politics dominated by a few influential clans), noble families in Seoul received and enjoyed the thoughts of the late Ming Dynasty like Jin Gye-yu’s very deeply.