Among the three cardinal human relations in Confucian morality, filiality stands out as the only one with the potential of being universally applicable. While chastity fell upon women and loyalty was meaningful for elite men, all human beings were children of some parents. This paper will investigate filiality in early Choso˘n Korea through one relatively obscure figure, Kim Sawo˘l. Severing her finger and feeding it to her ailing mother, Kim’s remarkable act of filial devotion earned the recognition of the Choso˘n court. Though not the only finger severer in Choso˘n, a fact of geography propelled her to renown among the generations of Ming envoys who passed by her hometown, many of whom left poems in her honor. Both the Ming envoys and the Choso˘ n court, however, had to grapple with the potentially heterodox implications of her cannibalistic filial act. Not only did finger severing have resonances with Buddhist notions, local religious traditions, and fringe medical lore, but it directly contradicted classical Confucian injunctions against “self-harm.” The resolution of this problem, in both the envoy poetry and the Choso˘n social context, involved reinterpretations and rewritings that converted a problematic category of behavior into symbols of a Confucian civilizing project by emphasizing the affective power of sincere filial emotion. This mechanism of conversion and accommodation may partly explain how local differences and alternative cosmologies persisted in the context of Confucian hegemony in Choso˘n Korea.
Finger Severing and Filial Cannibalism in Regional Perspective
Filial Cannibalism and Orthodoxy in Ming Envoy Poetry
Gender and Empire
- 발행기관 : 서울대학교 규장각 한국학연구원(서울저널)
- 자료유형 : 전자저널 논문
- 등재정보 : SSCI
- 작성언어 : 영어
- 파일형식 : Text PDF
URL : http://www.dbpia.co.kr/Article/3078369
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