Joseon Dynasty

It’s not often that the one-time parent organisation the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch (est 1900) puts on an event that is anything to do with Korea. But the upcoming talk at the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (est 1823) looks well worth the wait. Humour and Eighteenth-Century Korean Art RAS STUDENT […]

{ 0 comments }

Pak Chiwon’s Jehol Diary: An amiable bore abroad

by Philip Gowman 30 March 2015
Thumbnail image for Pak Chiwon’s Jehol Diary: An amiable bore abroad

Pak Chiwon: The Jehol Diary Translated with notes by Yang Hi Choe-Wall Global Oriental 2010, 208pp The Jehol Diary is a contemporary account of one of the regular journeys from Joseon Korea to Qing China bearing tribute to the emperor. The journey described in this diary took place in 1780, and was ordered by King Jeongjo […]

Read the full article →

Global Oriental title on Joseon dynasty wins American Library Association award

by Philip Gowman 21 February 2015
Thumbnail image for Global Oriental title on Joseon dynasty wins American Library Association award

Congratulations to Brill / Global Oriental books, whose Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea was in Choice Magazine’s list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014. The book, edited by Cambridge University’s Michael Shin, is a collection of features on various aspects of life in the Joseon Dynasty: Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea shows how the momentous […]

Read the full article →

Theatre on video: a screening of Oh Tae-seok’s The Life Cord

by Philip Gowman 31 January 2015
Thumbnail image for Theatre on video: a screening of Oh Tae-seok’s The Life Cord

Oh Tae-seok’s plays are always worth watching, and coming up this month is a screening of a live performance by the National Drama Company of Korea. The play covers a troubled period of Joseon dynasty history: the struggles for the throne in the years following the death of King Sejong. The story of the deposed […]

Read the full article →

Seduced by Yi Seong-gye: the first volumes in the Sillok are translated

by Philip Gowman 18 October 2014
Thumbnail image for Seduced by Yi Seong-gye: the first volumes in the Sillok are translated

The Annals of King T’aejo, Found of Korea’s Choson Dynasty Translated and annotated by Choi Byonghyon Harvard University Press, 2014, 1,028 pp I wandered into the University bookshop last night for a browse. I’d just been to see Andrew Killick talk about Hwang Byungki at SOAS, and thought I might try to pick up his […]

Read the full article →

Latest UNESCO listings break the stereotypes

by Philip Gowman 19 July 2014
Thumbnail image for Latest UNESCO listings break the stereotypes

A famine-ridden state that spends all its money on its army and its nukes; and a country that builds a green city and restores its rivers… Those are the stereotypes. Yet it’s the North that has just had a biosphere reserve registered at UNESCO, while the South’s latest registration is an impressive piece of military […]

Read the full article →

Namhansanseong joins Suwon fortress on UNESCO World Heritage list

by Philip Gowman 30 June 2014
Thumbnail image for Namhansanseong joins Suwon fortress on UNESCO World Heritage list

South Korea’s eleventh listing on the UNESCO World Heritage list is Namhansanseong. It was added to the list at the end of a 10 day meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at Doha on 25 June. According to the summary on the UNESCO website: Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson dynasty […]

Read the full article →

2014 Travel Diary day 7: the concubine, the eunuchs and the gisaeng

by Philip Gowman 12 June 2014
Thumbnail image for 2014 Travel Diary day 7: the concubine, the eunuchs and the gisaeng

Another literary lunch and a visit to the tombs of the trusted palace servants. Eulji-ro, Seoul, Thursday 12 June, 9am. I decide to take it easy today, and have a bit of a lie in. I pop outside to the subway station to pick up a coffee and pastry, and then pay a quick visit to […]

Read the full article →

The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types

by Philip Gowman 5 April 2014
Thumbnail image for The Art of Printing:  Korea’s Evolving Printing Types

Organised to coincide with the London Book Fair, this exhibition at the KCC is curated by the Korean Publishers Association: The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types Exhibition Dates: 07 April 2014 – 14 June 2014 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK The World’s Oldest Wooden and Metal Printing Technologies – Korea’s Printing Culture presented […]

Read the full article →

Crime and Punishment in Chosŏn Korea

by Philip Gowman 24 September 2013
Thumbnail image for Crime and Punishment in Chosŏn Korea

Three years ago SOAS held a conference entitled Historians, clerks and accountants: Methodological issues in the use of sources on Chosŏn History. One of the more interesting elements of that day was a consideration of court records of criminal trials and a discussion of Joseon dynasty autopsy techniques. The speaker, Kim Ho, returns this Friday […]

Read the full article →

2013 Travel Diary #34: The Gods of Land and Grain

by Philip Gowman 15 September 2013
Thumbnail image for 2013 Travel Diary #34: The Gods of Land and Grain

Deoksugung, Jung-gu, Seoul, Sunday 15 September, 10:45am.  By the time I reach the Deoksu Palace at 10:45am I’m already perspiring. I was wearing sunblock, but should have been wearing a sunhat and some shorts. It was going to be a hot day. This morning’s activity is a guided walk following the Sajik Daeje procession from […]

Read the full article →

Bought for £10 from a Parisian cheese merchant, Lady Hyegyong’s Uigwe is now digitised

by Philip Gowman 9 June 2013
Thumbnail image for Bought for £10 from a Parisian cheese merchant, Lady Hyegyong’s Uigwe is now digitised

The Joseon court knew how to document things. And one of those court records, recently digitised and put online by the British Library, shows they also knew how to celebrate. The Uigwe – The Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty – were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2006. In its […]

Read the full article →

Kim Young-ha: Black Flower – an imaginative re-telling of a fascinating byway of Korean history

by Philip Gowman 13 March 2013
Thumbnail image for Kim Young-ha: Black Flower – an imaginative re-telling of a fascinating byway of Korean history

Kim Young-ha: Black Flower Originally published in Korean in 2003 This edition Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012, 305pp, Translated by Charles La Shure Black Flower tells the fascinating story of a thousand or so Korean emigrants who sailed from Jemulpo (now Incheon) in 1905 in search of jobs in Mexico, and ended up founding a short-lived […]

Read the full article →

Happy 150th Birthday, James Scarth Gale

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2013
Thumbnail image for Happy 150th Birthday, James Scarth Gale

James Scarth Gale – missionary, translator, and one of the founders of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch – was born 150 years ago on 19 February 1863. His birthday has been marked by an upgraded Wikipedia page, a special page with photos on Brother Anthony’s site, and a memorial service at Yeondong Church (which […]

Read the full article →

SOAS Seminar: Korean Cannibalism

by Philip Gowman 17 January 2013
Thumbnail image for SOAS Seminar: Korean Cannibalism

SOAS kicks off its Spring term of evening seminars with an unusual subject: Korean Cannibalism: Production of Transgression in a Climate of Social Ills Dr Se-Woong Koo (Center for Korean Studies) École des Hautes Études Date: 18 January 2013 Time: 5:15 – 7:00 PM Venue: Russell Square, College Buildings, Room G50 Abstract The Chosǒn Dynasty […]

Read the full article →

2012 Travel Diary #22: The Burial Grounds of the Royal Joseon Placentas, and why underfloor heating is not always good for you

by Philip Gowman 3 December 2012
Thumbnail image for 2012 Travel Diary #22: The Burial Grounds of the Royal Joseon Placentas, and why underfloor heating is not always good for you

1 April 2012. Yes, it’s 1 April, and no, this article is not an April Fool’s joke. Sunday in Sancheong town, and the National Assembly election campaign is in full swing. All along the main street, the ppongtchak trucks are parked nose to tail, probably about eight of them. All of them blare out loud […]

Read the full article →

Vladimir Tikhonov at SOAS: “Heroes” in Qing China and Korea late C19 / early C20

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2012
Thumbnail image for Vladimir Tikhonov at SOAS: “Heroes” in Qing China and Korea late C19 / early C20

The second of the autumn series of Korean studies seminars at SOAS: “Heroes” in Qing China and Korea in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century Vladimir Tikhonov (Oslo University) Date: 19 October 2012 Time: 5:15 PM Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50 Abstract Both Liang Qichao (1873-1929) and Sin Ch’aeho (1880-1936) were instrumental […]

Read the full article →