본문 바로가기
  • Home

Kwon Sang-il's Market Contact and Monetary Economy Life in the 18th Century: Based on His Diary “Cheongdae Ilgi”

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2011, (104), pp.37-81
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Jung Su-Hwan 1

1한국학중앙연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Based on Kwon Sang-il(權相一)'s diary titled “Cheongdae Ilgi(淸臺日記)”,this study investigated the historical development of Joseon's domestic market in 18th century, Kwon's observations and approaches to market from the viewpoint of an intellectual person, and changes of personal monetary economy life under the influence of coin circulation in market. Kwon emphasized independent household management based on agricultural activities. In the same context with feedbacks from his contemporary fellow scholars including Yi Ik(李瀷), Kwon pointed up his contemporary extravagant social atmosphere owing to commercial development and took critical positions about it. Kwon positively rolled out his economic activities while he lived in Geunam-ri(近嵓里), Sangju-mok(尙州牧), Gyeongsang(京畿) province. This region was characterized by local market developed owing to land routes as well as water transport permitted around Nakdong(洛東) River. Kwon used a herd of local markets distributed within a radius of 10 kilometers such as Sanyang Market(山陽市, in vicinity of Geunam-ri), or collected information on market. Kwon originally took a negative position about commercial activities, but tried to steadily observe and monitor his contemporary trends of local markets around his neighborhood in reality. On the regular basis, he surveyed trends of merchants crowding in local markets depending upon some variables such as market release time(of cereals, fishes and more) and weather. In local markets, he recorded cereals pricing based consistently on 1 Nyang(兩, an old Korean monetary unit), but paid attentions to variations of cereals pricing depending on crop(good harvest or bad harvest). Kwon considered price variation factors such as pricing manipulation initiated by merchants or variation of coin circulation. Records about gifts given and taken in kind accounted for significant part of Kwon's diary. Kwon's acquaintances including central and local government officials gave him(as a local noble who served as a series of high-ranking government posts) gifts like folding paper fan(節扇) and letter paper(簡紙)among others. When Kwon became aged over 60, he began to receive more food presents like cereals and fishes from his acquaintances. But he felt that they were excessive and burdensome beyond simple return presents. Notably, he used coins as a means of present and congratulatory or condolence gift for his acquaintances at remote sites. This phenomenon was a forerunner of gradual turnover from spot goods to coin economy. Contrary to Joseon's economic activities largely based upon cereals and cotton cloth(木棉, textile) before the 17th century, Kwon's “Cheongdae Ilgi”contained historical facts about turnover of economic focus from spots to coin in the early 18th century. Kwon traded in herbal medicine, fishes, land property and horse and used coins as a means of payment for the trade. In his contemporary days, coin became a crucial foundation for interpersonal creditor and debtor relations as well as fund-raising of local bodies like private school and Donghoe(洞會, local community self-governing bodies). Kwon valued the independent economy based on agricultural activities, but didn't leave any more detailed records about his experiences in economic life under the influence of developing market and activated coin circulation. Nevertheless, his diary records confirm that his economic life is based on coin rather than spots, or he revealed sensitive responses to even market trends in vicinity of his neighborhood. These records demonstrate results from changing economic environment such as coin circulation and market activation throughout the 18th century.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.