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Daily Life and Personal Relationship of Min Sapyung, a Nobleman during the Late Goryeo Dynasty

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2017, (128), pp.147-178
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

KIM NANOK 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Min Sapyung was a member of Yeoheung Min family, a prestigious jaesangjijong (a family that produced generations of high-ranking officials) from the late Goryeo dynasty, and was born to Min Jeok and the granddaughter of Kim Banggyeong. He was bereaved of his mother when young, raised by the grandfather Min Jongyu, and married the daughter of Kim Ryun when he was 20. Min Jongyu and Kim Ryun both strongly opposed to enthroning of King Shimyang; they came from prestigious families that shared a similar political view. The daughter of Min Sapyung lived with her parents throughout her life, and her daughter also grew up in the grandparents’ house. Solseohon (matrilocal residence) was widespread during the Goryeo dynasty whereby families forged a strong bond with relatives on mothers' side, as is shown in the case of Min Sapyung’s family as well. When he died, he was buried at a cemetery for his wife’s family, and this indicates that jokbun (family graveyard) was not centered around the paternal line in the late Goryeo dynasty. The non-paternal oriented characteristics of that period are also observed in that the terms that indicated Min Sapyung’s families on mother's or wife's side were not different from those that indicated his families on father’s side. After passing a state examination in the second year of King Chungsuk’s reign, Min Sapyung devoted himself to academic learning. Then he began his career as a government official when he was appointed as jwajeongeon (左正言) after King Chungsuk was released from the capital city of Yuan Dynasty and returned to Goryeo. During the reign of King Chungsuk and the reign of the reinstated King Chunghye, Min Sapyung was promoted and appointed at important posts termed cheongyojik (淸要職). He was acknowledged as a mentor to King Chungjeong, and he took positions of docheomeuichamri (都僉議叅理) and chanseongsa (贊成事). After King Gongmin was enthroned, Min Sapyung left the government as people close to King Chungjeong were excluded from key positions. His poems and proses describe daily life of noblemen in late Goryeo Dynasty in detail. Exchanges with dongnyun (同年) and jwaju (座主), close relationships with the wife's family are well observed. His writing also illustrates his relationship with various other people, characteristics of different regions and lives of people. Since passing the state examination, Min Sapyung had a successful political career between the reign of King Chungsuk and King Chungjeong without much frustration except for the period of King Gongmin. Primarily, he could lead a respected life in both personal realm and political career as government official due to his outstanding academic knowledge and capabilities, but his background as having come from a prestigious family and a consequent strong human network also played an important part.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.