THE MUSIC PERFORMED FOR THE SACRIFICIAL RITE AT THE ROYAL ANCESTRAL SHRINE OF THE CHOSŎN DYNASTY (1392–1910): INDIVIDUAL AGENCY AND DISCOURSE ON MUSIC EXPRESSED IN THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY KOREAN ENCYCLOPEDIA _TONGGUK MUNHŎN PIGO_ (1770)
Law, Bing Kuen Anthony
Provine, Robert C.
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In 1964, the South Korean government designated the music for the sacrificial rite at the Royal Ancestral Shrine (Chongmyo) as Intangible Cultural Property No. 1, and in 2001 UNESCO awarded the rite and music a place in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Royal Ancestral Shine sacrificial rite and music together have long been an admired symbol of Korean cultural history, and they are currently performed annually and publicly in an abridged form. While the significance of the modern version of the music mainly rests on the claimed authenticity and continuity of the tradition since the fifteenth century, scholarly inquiry sheds further light on contextual issues such as nationalism, identity, and modernity in the post-colonial era (after 1945), as well as providing additional insights into the music. This dissertation focuses on the Royal Ancestral Shrine’s musical past as reflected in documentary sources, especially those compiled in the eighteenth century during the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910). In particular, the substantial music section of an encyclopedic work, Tongguk Munhŏn pigo (Encyclopedia of Documents and Institutions of the East Kingdom, 1770), mainly compiled by a government official, Sŏ Myŏngŭng (1716–1787), provides a considerable amount of information on not only the music and sacrificial rite program, but also on eighteenth-century and earlier concerns about them, as discussed by the kings and ministers at the Chosŏn royal court. After detailed examination of various relevant documentary sources on the historical, social and political contexts, I investigate the various discourses on music and ritual practices. I then focus on Sŏ Myŏngŭng’s familial background, his writings on music prior to the compilation of the encyclopedia, and the corresponding content in the encyclopedia. I argue that Sŏ successfully converted the music section of the encyclopedia from a straightforward scholarly reference work to a space for publishing his own research on and interpretation of the musical past, illustrating what he considered to be the inappropriateness of the existing music for the sacrificial rite at the Royal Ancestral Shrine in the later eighteenth century.