Chapter 44

Korea -- Chau Ju Kua's Works Simplified

January 8, 2022
Activity Method
Trade Barter using rice

The Koreans (Sinlo) descend from the Pien-han.

Korea rises opposite to the sea entrance to Canton. But, from the popular superstition on what geomancers call the relation between north and south, traders going to Korea must first go to Ssi-ming, and then go out to sea again. Others say that the water current of Canton gradually lessens, which makes it necessary to pass by Ssi-ming.

There are two great clans called the Kin and the Po. From 618-627, Chonkin (true Kin) was appointed Prince of Lo (or Yo)-lang. His descendants have always been princes.

From 681-682, they sent a mission to ask for the T’ang Ceremonial and their request was complied with.

Their houses, utensils and implements, mode of dressing and their methods of administration are more or less copies of what we have in China.

Their people are ruled by severe laws. This causes offences to be rare. The idea of theft is so foreign to them that the people that they do not even pick up things dropped on the road.

When contracting marriage, they do not send presents.

The people can write and are fond of learning. Even the menial classes are given to studious pursuits.

In the villages they have colleges, called public halls in the inscriptions over their doors.

In these their unmarried sons and younger brothers are placed in order to study literature and to practice archery.

They have:

  • a triennial examination for the degree of Kujon
  • an examination for the degree of Tsinshi, with the several faculties, as exact sciences, etc.

This is why Korea is called Kun-tzi-kuo (The Country of Gentlemen)

Its soil is well adapted to the growing of rice. There are no camels or buffalo. They use no cash, but merely barter with rice.

Their household vessels and other implements are all made of copper. They have two kinds of music called ku music and the hiang music.

In 713—742, Hing Shou was sent on a mission of condolence to the Korean Court. In 923—926 and 930—934, they sent tribute missions to the Court of China to perfect the ceremonial.

Under the present Song dynasty in 961 they sent tribute which was repeated in 977.

The Koreans believe in Yin and Yang, good and evil spirits, and are very superstitious.

When Chinese envoys arrive, they must first select a lucky day before they can properly receive the Imperial commands. Whenever such a message has been received, an address of thanks is not devoid of elegance in style. is written by them to the Emperor

Their products are:

  • ginseng
  • pine-cones
  • lihanotis root
  • fuling
  • cotton cloth
  • mau-shi cloth
  • bronze temple hells
  • porcelain
  • straw mats
  • writing brushes made of rats’ hair
  • hazel-nuts
  • haliotis shells
  • paifutzi
  • musk
  • pine-seeds

Trading ships barter for these with:

  • coloured silk piece-goods
  • calendars
  • books


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