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The property inheritance practices of the Jeon'eui Yi Family(全義李氏家) of the Gwangju/光州 area during the latter half period of the Joseon dynasty

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2010, (99), pp.111-146
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

김경숙 1

1조선대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Analyzed in this article, are the property distribution documents that were produced by the Jeon'eui Yi Family members who resided in the Gwangju area for generations during the latter half period of the Joseon dynasty. Such task is attempted that we could examine how the civilian properties of the Joseon houses were distributed and inherited to the next generation, and how those practices actually changed over the years. General practices of such sort did change, from the habit of distributing the property equally to all offsprings("均分"), to the habit of distributing them 'unequally,' and then eventually to the habit of providing only the eldest with all of the property, based upon the 'determination to observe the Clan code'(宗法意識). Yet the actual process of such transformation showed differences from region to region, and from houses to houses. The titular Yi house went through such transformation in the latter half of the 17th century and the early half of the 18th. In a document of property distribution issued in the year 1697, the daughters were exempted(actually excluded) from the duty of holding memorial services for the ancestors, and in the document of 1748 it was dictated to provide all the properties from the ancestors to the eldest son alone, and only distribute the properties acquired or obtained by the parent(財主) to the other children. Then, on the other hand, the Mun'hwa Yu house, which was the in-law house of the Yi house at this time, was still observing the principle of 'equal distribution' that had been dictated in the Joseon dynastic law code 『Gyeong'guk Daejeon』. We can see that even when both houses were connected to each other through a marital relationship, the Yi house was more adamant in observing the Clan code than the Yu house was. The practice of inheriting the property only to the eldest son, was to provide him with necessary amount of financial power that would help him meet the duty and obligation to hold memorial services for the ancestors and also continue management of the family mountain where the graves of the ancestors were located. And such practice was also promoted in order to prevent the whole amount of properties(that had been established for decades) from actually shrinking, which could have happened when properties were equally distributed among children.

Citation status

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