(Translation) 1801年 李希誠 衿給文記

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Introduction

Original Script

Classical Chinese English

嘉慶六年辛酉十二月十五日宗子岦處許與文

右文爲許與事 昔在辛酉年間 吾與故奴日先次奉禾里同等十名相議 刱出四石租谷爲設契 而二石吾出之 二石奴輩出之 因之曰奴主契 多年貨殖者 保奴屬爲宗家計也 宗家坦檣修毁之日 及其他雜役使喚之時 皆出契谷 以爲要用是遣 又値年荒 則契中出用分給者 已多年數矣 中間契穀[1] 或食或逃亡者 或食身死者 則全不收捧 閪失頗多 故更議買畓 每名各給二斗落[2]次知耕食 而傳子傳孫 永爲規例矣 目今奴屬中 或有無去處逃亡者 或有身死後無後者 又或娶良女所生者 及娶他婢所生者 不肯使喚 自退契中 還納同畓 則無歸屬處 故上典次知自有前例 此後段 汝亦次知 永爲宗家保用之地是旀 且無前戶首處劃給四斗落段 自刱而自罷 則誰禁而誰咎乎 曾有奴輩中 不得參分畓時遺漏者二名 而龍世時同處均給爲㫆 其餘三斗落段 契中次知要用是旀 奴輩處各耕食畓庫果 字號卜數後錄成給爲去乎 永永次次 傳給以爲遵奉吾意事

通政大夫僉知中樞府事 父 (着名署押)


(後錄 -생략)


(translation)

李希誠 奴主契 許與文 (1801)

嘉慶六年辛酉十二月十五日宗子岦處許與文

The document of property distribution to the legitimate son, Rip, on the fifth day of the twelfth month the year sinyu [1801], the sixth year of the Jiaqing era.


右文爲許與事

The document mentioned on the right is to bequeath my property as follows:


昔在辛酉年間 吾與故奴日先次奉禾里同等十名相議 刱出四石租穀(谷)爲設契

Earlier, in the year sinyu [1741], I and ten slaves, including the late slaves Ilseon, Chabong, and Hwaridong, had a discussion to pool four seok of rice and established a gye (“compact”).


而二石吾出之 二石奴輩出之 因之曰奴主契

I pooled two seok and a group of slaves pooled the other two seok, thereby we named it Noju gye (“slave-master compact”).


多年貨殖者 保奴屬爲宗家計也

For many years we increased profits to protect slaves and to do good head family.


宗家垣牆修毁之日 及其他雜役使喚之時 皆出契穀(谷) 以爲要用是遣

[For example,] when the family had to renovate the fences and thus slaves were employed to do the miscellaneous menial work, all of us could take grain out of the compact granary for the necessary purposes.


又値年荒 則契中出用分給者 已多年數矣

Also encountering a drought, we have taken grain from the compact and distributed evenly amongst us.


中間契穀 或食或逃亡者 或食身死者 則全不收捧 閪失頗多

Meanwhile, some ate grain and ran away, and others ate and then died, so we could not recollect them and such losses were huge.


故更議買畓 每名各給二斗落 次知耕食 而傳子傳孫 永爲規例矣

Therefore, we discussed again and bought rice paddies. I distributed two durak of the paddies to each to live on them, and I made it a lasting ordinance to pass them down to descendants.

  • Durak 斗落 (Majigi in vernacular Korean) is the amount of land on which one mal (eighteen liters) could be planted as seed. The size of land has varied in different regions. It is approximately 150-300 pyeong (495-990 square meters) for rice paddies and 100 pyeong (330 square meters) for dry fields (Palais, 1996, 364; 1188).


目今奴屬中 或有無去處逃亡者 或有身死後無後者 又或娶良女所生者 及娶他婢所生者

Now, there are slaves as follows: who ran away without any permanent place; who died without leaving any descendants; who married to a commoner woman and their children became commoners; who took another master’s slave as a wife and their children belonged to the master.


不肯使喚 自退契中 還納同畓 則無歸屬處 故上典次知自有前例

All of them would not work for this family, backed out of the compact, and returned the paddies. But since there was no place to return, the owner was supposed to take charge of them according to a precedent.


此後段 汝亦次知 永爲宗家保用之地是旀

From now on, you [my son] will be in charge of them and make them a permanent property of this main house.


且無前戶首處劃給四斗落段 自刱而自罷 則誰禁而誰咎乎

In addition, as for the four durak given to heads of households who were not present before, they were voluntarily pooled and given up, so who could be forbidden and who could be blamed?


曾有奴輩中 不得參分畓時遺漏者二名 而龍世時同處均給爲㫆 *爲㫆: 하며

Earlier there were two slaves who did not take part in the paddy distribution and were left out. They are Yongse and Sidong to whom you ought to distribute the land evenly.


其餘三斗落段 契中次知要用是旀

As for the rest, three durak, they shall belong to the compact land and be used for its need.


奴輩處各耕食畓庫果 字號卜數後錄成給爲去乎

As for the paddies distributed to slaves, I will state their location and yields in the postscript.


永永次次 傳給以爲遵奉吾意事

You shall respect my will by transmitting them for generation after generation, forever.


通政大夫僉知中樞府事 父 (着名署押)

Tongjeong daebu (senior third-rank title) and Fifth Minister at the Office of Ministers-without-Portfolio, Father 【signature】


後錄 -생략 The postscript is omitted.


Discussion Questions


Further Readings


References

  1. ‘契谷’은 契員이 出資한 곡식으로서 ‘契穀’이 맞으나 음가가 같으므로 ‘谷’자로도 흔히 사용하였다.
  2. 畓二斗落=600坪(1斗落=300坪, 1坪 =3.3058㎡)=1,983.48㎡=0.49ac(1ac=4,047㎡)

Translation

(sample) : Jaeyoon Song


  • Discussion Questions:


Student 1 : (Write your name)


old document, slavery-slave compact, economic and social status of slaves , property distribution

  • Discussion Questions:

Is all these documents written by the owner of the slaves themselves or by someone at a specific position? How are they going to ensure the legality of these compact?

Student 2 : (Write your name)


key words: slaves, master, compact, land, property, descendants social history, social mobility, tenant farmers,

  • Discussion Questions:

What were the significances of the abolishment of 從賤法 and establishment of 從良法?

Student 3 : Hu JIng


  • key words: yangban-nobi relation, economic life in Joseon, compact, social mobility in Joseon
  • Discussion Questions:

1. What can we learn from this document with regard to the relation between the yangban and nobi in Joseon dynasty, particularly when thinking of that the slavery system was under transition at the point?

Student 4 : Martin


Inheritance Practices, Transformation of Korean slavery system

  • Discussion Questions:

1. What does the document tell about the economical costs and value of slavery?

2. Following the contents of the document describing the inheritance of the compact between slaves and master, who actually benefited from the establishment of the contract?

Student 5 : Inho Choi


Master-Slave compact, Inheritance, Choson Slavery, Choson social history, Social Mobility

  • Discussion Questions:

Is 契 a financial arrangement, a legal document, or both. Is 契 a exclusively private arrangement, or does government somehow guarantee its effect and helps its enforcement? Is there any shift in the meaning of 奴 in the early 19th century that allows them to make a compact with their master?

Student 6 : Kanghun Ahn


Choson social history, inheritance, property distribution, Korean slavery,

  • Discussion Questions: How many 奴主契 documents can be found from the Choson dynasty? Was it kind of a common practice? And what sort of sociopolitical significance (or implication) does it have on Choson social history as a whole?

Student 7 : King Kwong Wong


  • Keywords:

economic and social relationship between master and slaves, changing social condition, hereditary status of slaves

  • Discussion Questions:
  1. How does this document reveal the relationship between master and slaves?
  2. How does this document tell about the status of slaves during the Joseon period?
  3. For what purposes, do both parties have this kind of agreement?
  4. What does this document tell us about the social condition of the time?

Student 8 : Younès M'Ghari


  • Key Concepts:

Chosôn, social history, legacy transmission, contract between slaves and the master


  • Discussion Questions:

Could the clauses of this contract be in conflict with the ones of the former slave contracts (there is no mention of "this contract hereby cancels the previous contract")? How would the author of this contract avoid such issues?

How would the slaves understand the contract if it is written in Korean Literary Sinitic language?

Student 9 : (Mengheng Lee)


  • keyword:

slavery, the social status system, and social mobility in Chosŏn Korea, slave-master compact, and documents of distribution of property.

  • Discussion Questions:

1. To what extent could we say that this document shows the upward social mobility in Chosŏn Korea?

2. What is the nature of slave-master compact that we can conceptualize from this document?

3. What's the historical significance of this document?

Student 10 : (Ji-Hyun Lee)


奴主契 slave-master compact,

奴婢 slavery

宗家 head-family

分財記 inheritance document

land and property distribution

Chosŏn contract


  • Discussion Questions:

1. How would the inheritance of the 2 durak be changed in case of the demographic changes among the slaves, ex. more children in one slave's house whereas no children in the other's?

2. From where did the slaves employ the substitute laborers to fix the walls and to be paid?

3. How are the slaves in Korea different from serfs or peasants in European feudalism?

Student 11 : Lee Goeun


  • Discussion Questions: Since when such compact between master and slaves began to appear in Joseon? Was this common in the society? Was there a regional difference or tendency?
  • Key Concepts: Changing social strata in the turn to 19c Joseon

Student 12 : Sanghoon Na


  • Discussion Questions:

How does Yi Huiseong rationalize/justify his distributing property to only his son?

How does the matrilineal rule for slaves 奴婢從母法 in the seventh year of King Yeongjo's reign(1731) affect this document issued in 1801?

  • Key Concepts: Slave-master compact, mutual discussion 相議

Student 13 : (Write your name)


  • Discussion Questions:


Student 14 : (Write your name)


  • Discussion Questions: