Item ID: 9430 Munmyo hyangsarok 文廟享祀錄 [Record of the Sacrifices at the Confucian Temple]. King of Korea YŎNGJO 英祖, or YEONGJO.

Worshipping the Sages & Worthies in Chosŏn Korea

Munmyo hyangsarok 文廟享祀錄 [Record of the Sacrifices at the Confucian Temple]

Four leaves of illus. 30 folding leaves. Large 8vo (305 x 208 mm.), orig. yellow semi-stiff wrappers (upper wrappers somewhat soiled, both wrappers with some worming), new stitching. [Korea]: 1765.

First edition of this book published on royal command by King Yŏngjo of Chosŏn. The book was compiled by Kim Kwi-ju 金龜柱 (1740-86), the older brother of Queen Consort Chŏngsun (1745-1805). The royal Preface is furthermore written in Kim’s standard script calligraphy. Years after the compilation of this book, factional intrigue under Yŏngjo’s successor, Chŏngjo, led to Kim being exiled, after which he soon died.

Our book outlines sacrifices at the Confucian temple in Seoul, including the Kyesŏng 啓聖祠 and Songjŏl 崇節祠 shrines. The Kyesŏng shrine, built in 1669, was the site of sacrifices to the fathers of several Confucian sages, including Confucius and Mencius. At the temple as a whole, a number of Chinese and Korean Confucian sages and worthies were worshipped. The book contains illustrations outlining the layout of the shrines, with the placement of the tablets for the various Confucian scholars marked with their names.

The royal Preface is dated 1765. Ordering the compilation of a record of past exemplars apparently made the king reflect on his own character and actions. He wrote, “when I with my shallow learning recite the writings of the sages and worthies, but remain unable to learn the Way of the sages and worthies, and when I admire the deeds of the sages and worthies, but cannot act in their manner, it is like knowing what something tastes like but not get to eat it, or like knowing the road but being unable to follow it. Even though I might laugh at people of the past, why would people of the future not laugh at me too?”

Minor worming, mostly marginal, towards end. See WorldCat 855527023 for a digital copy.

Price: $4,950.00

Item ID: 9430