Chapter 1

"Eternal the Eastern Fief, Serving the Great with Utmost Sincerity": Diplomatic Memorials and the Imperial Tradition

For over a millennium, Korean rulers regularly presented diplomatic memorials, known as p'yomun, literally "documents of expression" (Ch. biaowen 表文), to the emperors of China. The documents, composed in the ornate style of four-six parallel prose (四六駢文), arrived at the courts of the Tang 唐 (618--907), Liao 遼 (907--1125), Northern Song 北宋 (960--1127), and Jin 金 (1115--1234) emperors. The practice continued through the Mongol-Yuan 蒙元 (1206--1368), the Ming 明 (1368--1644), and the Qing 清 (1644--1911) periods. These documents provided valuable symbolic capital for these rulers, because imperial discourse treated "presenting memorials" as a gesture of "declaring [oneself] a vassal" (Ch. fengbiao chengchen 奉表稱臣), an act of political submission. Dynastic chronicles described the recognition of imperial legitimacy by foreign rulers and local leaders alike in these terms.1

The emperor's court counted on its officials to provide effusive encomia to its virtue, but it could not control the presentation of diplomatic missives from polities beyond its rule. Herein lies a fundamental tension, one which scholars of "traditional Chinese foreign relations" have long pointed out.2 The imperial court desired foreign contact as a demonstration of its superiority, but foreign rulers were not always eager to play the role of a political inferior. In theory, memorial presentation and submission were inseparable; in practice, the two did not always go hand in hand. A so-called memorial of submission from a foreign ruler could intimate rather different notions of relational hierarchy. When the Yamato court of Japan first established ties with the Sui dynasty (隋 581--618), its state letter offended Emperor Yangdi (隋煬帝 r. 569-618) for having greeted him as the "son-of-heaven where the sun sets."3 The potential for diplomatic encounters to challenge its authority gave the imperial court good reason to manipulate such encounters to project an image of power it desired. As the Qianlong emperor (乾隆 r. 1711--1799) famously did for the return of the Torghuts to Qing rule, an emperor could deploy the vast cultural apparatus of the imperial state to portray the arrival of guests from afar as "submission."4 Moments of interaction with those beyond the pale became a site to proclaim desired relational hierarchies.

The desired gestures of submission required foreign contact, but the volatility of such relations presented a challenge to the imperial court. Its frontier officials had incentives to minimize volatility. Mismanaging a border conflict could cost them their career prospects, and even their lives. At times, border officials even manipulated frontier interactions to suit the ideological desires of the imperial court.5 The court's own Translators Institute (Siyiguan 四譯館, or 四夷館), responsible for translating documents from unfamiliar, foreign scripts into literary Chinese, was also complicit in this process of equivocation.6 Translation could ensure that letters conformed to the discursive conventions of imperial rhetoric. Although original documents do not survive from the Ming or earlier, examples of original Burmese, Thai, and Laotian "diplomatic memorials" in Qing archives exhibit this manufactured conformity.7 The messages of such "memorials" were rewritten considerably to avert any possibility of offense. After concluding a war with the Qing, the Burmese ruler addressed the Qing emperor as equals in his original letter, but the translated version exhibits deference coded in the language of "the tributary system."8 What appears on the page in the imperial chronicles need not have matched the intent of the letter-giver or the substance of his missive.

Korea was, in fact, a remarkable exception to the rule. Its documents never had to undergo translation, because its documents were already in the literary language of the imperial court.9 Korean rulers, unlike their counterparts from Japan and Vietnam whose idioms of authority were also legible to the Sinitic imperial tradition and relied on literacy in classical Chinese, seldom infringed on imperial prerogatives.10 Korean rulers portrayed themselves as kings and acknowledged the cosmic authority of the emperor.11

Korean memorial drafters not only wrote in the language of the empire, but also did so with full knowledge of their symbolic significance for the imperial court. This mastery of classical Chinese meant that Korean documents were wrought by Korean hands and were not fictions of imperial conceit manufactured by wily translators; thus they appeared to represent genuine sentiment. With a paper trail of declaring submission for over a millennium, it seems, as imperial accounts often suggested, that Korea was indeed the empire's most "loyal vassal state."12 The apparent confirmation of this long-standing stereotype, however, depends on locating Korean sincerity in literary mastery, a line of reasoning that contains the seeds of its own contradiction. If Korean competence was adequate to the symbolic construction of empire, what prevented a Korean author from manipulating those symbols?

Recognition of Korean literary mastery did lead imperial readers to suspect Korean authors of such manipulation. The first emperor of the Ming dynasty, Taizu (明太祖 r. 1368--1398) once described a memorial written by Yi Sung'in 李崇仁 (1347--1392) as "crafted and pointed in diction"(表辭精切).13 Only a few years later, in 1396, the Ming emperor accused Korean memorial drafters of hiding insults in ornate allusions. Since Korean literati mastered the art of composition, any perceived flaw in diction or rhyme, not to mention suspicious homophones and miswritten characters, alerted to possible irreverence.14 The sincerity of Korean memorials hinged on Korean literary mastery, but the very same mastery of language enabled subversion.

When emperors and their officials scrutinized Korean documents, they were mostly over-reading genuine gestures of friendship, not actual attempts to subvert the imperial order.15 As one Chosŏn official lamented for the 1396 controversy, the emperor was "blowing away hair to look for blemishes," searching for instances of lèse-majesté where none was present.16 Such suspicions, however, were not unwarranted. What was at work was simply not the subversion of petty insults or coded insinuations, but something much more subtle, sophisticated, and powerful. These letters, composed by Korea's most talented writers, interfaced with the literary enterprise of empire to insist on Korea's prerogative in the discursive construction of imperial order. In other words, Korean communications with the imperial court did not so much challenge empire as perform a subtler sort of subversion by shaping and guiding it.

Understanding this process of construction requires resisting the temptation to read the literary devices of the diplomatic memorial as "mere rhetoric." Admittedly repetitive use of consistent themes across time in these texts certainly lends to an air of disconnection from the world beyond the text. Yet, it is precisely this temporal stability and endurance that caution against such a reductive view. For if they were ossified gestures, their stakes, shown both in the enormous energies Korean courts devoted to composing them and their sensitive reception by imperial audiences, become difficult to explain. As Joshua Van Lieu has argued in the only serious treatment of this genre in English to date, the literary devices in these texts possessed an illocutionary force that maintained and reenacted the terms of the relationship. Coined by language theorist J.L. Austin, illocutionary force points to the power of a speech-act that moves either the speaker or the audience to future action, even if such demands are not made explicit in the grammar or diction of the statement.17 Paeans of empire in these memorials spoke of benevolent rule, literary and civil virtue, universal sovereignty, and reciprocity not as fanciful description, but as appeals exhorting action according to these principles. This chapter argues that by investing illoctuionary force in its memorials, the Korean court did not only negotiate with individual imperial regimes. They were framing the terms of empire itself.

The endurance of the diplomatic memorial in Korea as both a genre and practice raises several questions. How should this remarkable continuity across dynastic time be understood? Should the tropes and rhetorical strategies they employ be read in terms of generic qualities or situated in the specific, historical contexts of their composition? As this chapter will show, these texts were in dialogue with both scales of time, situating the moment in relation to the broader imperial tradition.

Fifteenth century Chosŏn court compilations preserved Koryŏ and early Chosŏn memorials. They allow an approach to these questions from the perspective of knowledge production. The memorial was both an object of knowledge and a component of knowledge production, a dual existence that makes explicit the dialogic relationship between the two scales of time. On the one hand, these compilations preserved these memorials as examples of literary and rhetorical expertise so they could be consulted in the future. On the other, the memorials themselves produced a timeless image of Korea for imperial consumption.

Treating the memorial as an object of knowledge makes salient that two features of the genre, its putative "eternity" and the "sincerity" of its expression, were both rhetorical devices of the genre itself. Its "eternity," visible in the memorial's consistent use over a millennium, resonates with its performative use of a rhetoric of timelessness, fashioning Korea's relations with empire into one that transcended dynastic time, and for all intents and purposes, an eternal and therefore inevitable political order. These declarations depended on the memorial's "sincerity." Both its exhortative rhetoric and utility for imperial propaganda rest on the assurance of authentic representation, that the memorial indeed expressed genuine feelings.

These two tropes have featured prominently not only in the memorials themselves, but also in the appraisals of later scholars and observers, who have called Korea imperial China's "model tributary." This stereotyped image itself, however, emerged from Korean self-representation. It was an artifact crafted for the memorial, one element in the grander construct of empire. Eternity and sincerity, far from stable notions, and were by far the qualities most volatile in the genre itself and most suspected in the course of diplomacy. For these very reasons, they were the things their drafters most emphasized.

Diplomatic Memorials: The Genre

By the Chosŏn period, the diplomatic memorial already had a long history in Korea. After the fifteenth century, whenever Chosŏn memorial drafters prepared a new document for an embassy to the Ming, they could consult a repertoire of precedents documented in several compilations. Although superficially similar to Chinese antecedents, their organization in these compilations reveals stark differences from earlier examples. These compilations, as both a reflection of past practices and a guide for future ones, granted the Korean memorial a stability of genre and form and codified the diplomatic memorial as an object of knowledge.

The Chosŏn court and its offices compiled diplomatic memorials as part of other projects. The Chosŏn Office of Diplomatic Correspondence18 kept copies of past memorials in the Recorded Notes of the Pagoda Tree Hall (Kwewŏn tŭngnok 槐院謄錄), a selected collation of the bureau's documents.19 Various dynastic histories provided scattered examples antedating the Chosŏn. Court officials gathered these documents in one place when they included them a larger compilation, the Literary Selections of the East (Tongmunsŏn 東文選) in the middle of the fifteenth century.20 This anthology also collected a range of other diplomatic epistles, such as official rescripts to imperial agencies (as opposed to memorials to the emperor) and personal letters from Korean rulers to imperial officials in addition to p'yomun. The documentary record of pre-Chosŏn Korean diplomacy largely owes their survival to these fifteenth-century compilations.21

The name, Literary Selections of the East, echoed that of the anthology compiled by the Liang (梁 502--557) prince Xiao Tong 蕭統 (501-530), The Literary Selections (Wenxuan 文選). The compilers of the Korean anthology deliberately hearkened back to the older title as way of creating a literary canon of the "East" (i.e. Korea) that was not only distinct from, but also on par with that of China. One of the leading compilers and the preface writer for the anthology, the Chosŏn official Sŏ Kŏjŏng 徐居正 (1420--1488), wrote that it collected "neither the literature (mun) of the Song and Yuan nor the literature of the Han and Tang, but the literature of Our country." The compilation finally "place[d] it on alongside the literature of the ages," so that it could be transmitted to posterity.22

Xiao's Selections and the Chosŏn Selections of the East share organizational similarities. Both offer a comprehensive view of literary genres and styles. The Selections of the East also reproduced Xiao's order, maintaining the precedence accorded to poetry over prose. It treated differently the two classical generic categories to which the diplomatic memorial belonged, the biao (Kr: p'yo 表) and the jian (Kr: chŏn 箋).23 Whereas Xiao Tong only included three examples of biao and jian in total, a minuscule proportion of the entire collection, p'yo and chŏn together occupy fourteen out of one-hundred and thirty fascicles (roughly one-tenth) of the Korean anthology. The shared nomenclature of Korean memorials and the Chinese genre is misleading, for these documents of the same name had an entirely different existence in Korea.

The Korean p'yojŏn, like the classical biao and jian, addressed rulers. In the Ming context, the former was used for personal correspondences with the emperor while the latter addressed other members of the imperial family. They were reserved only for highly formal occasions and became formulaic as conventional documents of congratulations by the late imperial period.24 The Chosŏn king also presented such documents for imperial celebrations. The Selections of the East include memorials presenting felicitations to emperors on the New Year (hajŏng p'yo 賀正表) or other important ritual events such as the investiture of a crown prince or empress.25 These celebratory memorials could also address specific events, such as the successful conclusion of an imperial military campaign.26 Memorials such as these, written for specific occasions are thus more varied in content and can often be found in other sources, such as the literary anthologies of their authors or official histories. Korean letters also expressed gratitude for imperial gifts (saŭn p'yo 謝恩表). These, and the "expression memorial" (chinchŏngp'yo 陳情表) or the "request memorial" (chuch'ŏng p'yo 奏請表), tended to be less formulaic because they usually addressed specific diplomatic issues.27

The nomenclature gives no hint of their function as diplomatic documents, since memorials by the same name could also be presented by the Ming officials and nobility.28 At work was a conceptual framework of political hierarchy distinct from that which bound a Ming official to his emperor. Korean monarchs ruled a domain beyond de facto imperial control, a distinction carefully preserved in the language of these memorials. They represented the Korean ruler as the master of his own people (min 民), ancestral shrines (chongmyo 宗廟) and altars of state and grain (sajik 社稷). Nevertheless, by reserving p'yo for the emperor, Koryŏ and Chosŏn monarchs deferred to Yuan or Ming rulers as universal, cosmic rulers. This arrangement placed the Korean ruler on par with imperial officials; both were imperial subjects (sin/chen 臣). Korean rulers, by receiving only chŏn from their own subjects, occupied a position of parity with imperial princes, consistent with their treatment in Ming ritual hierarchy.29

Here we have a tension between two competing and overlapping operative logics. From the vantage of the Ming court, Korean memorial presentation was a ritual practice legible to the integrative logic of imperial rule, as it was coherent and compatible with its own institutions. This logic obliterated any distinction between what was "internal" (nae/nei 內) and "external" (oe/wai 外) as the Chosŏn monarch and his kingdom were but one of many such entities in the imperial fold. The other, from the perspective of the Korean court, was their diplomatic function. These memorials represented Korea as a state to an outside power.30 These two modes, in practice, worked together; the rhetoric of any given memorial had to satisfy both sets of demands.

The organization of the Selections of the East reflects an attention to rhetorical function. The compilers arranged the letters first according to occasion, before arraying them in chronological order. Attention to discursive function, highlighting rhetorical form and style thus superseded historicist concerns, reflecting the decidedly literary emphasis of the anthology. The Selections of the East could thus provide convenient models for future composers.

The anthology did not just provide models for diplomatic missives. Early Koryŏ period memorials did not always formally distinguish Korean rulers from their erstwhile overlords, the Liao, Jin, and Song emperors.31 From the fourteenth century onward, during the period of Mongol domination, Koryŏ officials no longer addressed their own monarchs with p'yo, but only with chŏn, a reflection of the Korean monarchy's demoted status vis-a-vis their imperial suzerains.32 Taxonomic distinctions notwithstanding, these documents differed little in form and style either from diplomatic missives or their earlier Koryŏ predecessors. Modes of imperial adulation easily transferred to Korean rulers and vice versa. Although chŏn carefully avoided obvious imperial titles, the rhetorical paraphernalia of Korean kingship did violate imperial prerogatives. One early Chosŏn memorial, for instance, lauded the Korean king for "succeeding heaven's [mandate] and ascending to a supreme [position]," and "inaugurating [his own] inheritance of a new august throne" (繼天立極 誕膺景祚之新) in celebration of a royal sacrifice.33 The "august throne" (景祚), "heaven's [mandate]" and the "supreme position" were unmistakably imperial pretensions.34 Chosŏn memorial writers used such turns of phrase liberally to describe the Ming emperor in diplomatic memorials, but described the Korean ruler in these terms only in documents for domestic consumption.

The legitimation of rulership in both the Chosŏn and the Ming relied on a common classical idiom, so the lexical overlap comes as no surprise. Another Korean memorial, for example, celebrated the Chosŏn king's fulfillment of "the lessons of the Great Plan [of Yu]" (講洪範之訓辭), the same classical text that was the foundation of both classical rulership and provided the link to antiquity required for imperial legitimacy.35 A congratulatory memorial for a royal birthday traced the Korean king's legitimacy to his personal virtue and heaven's will, manifested in his "careful devotion to the emperor" (小心於事帝) and his "dutiful observance of envoy missions" to China (叨領使華). Even so, all this was nested in his "reverence of Tang dynasty's models" (慕唐朝之典) and "sharing the ceremonies of the Han palace" (同漢殿之儀). Even as these domestic memorials avoided challenging imperial authority, and acknowledged its superiority, they nonetheless appealed to the models of legitimate monarchy offered by a common imperial tradition. The drafters of these memorials walked a narrow tightrope between an appealing to a shared tradition and infringing on imperial prerogatives.36

Inheriting a shared political tradition did not automatically translate into good relations, because it also implied rival claims on an imperial transmission that was in theory indivisible. In the Koryŏ period, one Yuan official who visited the Korean court protested how similar its ceremonies, "the grand meetings, royal canopies, dragon screens, and retinues," were to those of the emperor's court. Officials even called aloud to wish the ruler long-life and performed kowtows, which he declared a "gross usurpation" of imperial prerogatives.37 Cognizant of these issues, the Chosŏn court deigned to share with Ming envoys the details of its government institutions, for fear that similarity to Ming ones would be taken as an affront to the imperial court.38

Korean diplomatic memorials, thus mutually constitutive and ideologically interdependent with their domestic counterparts, point to a larger set of issues. Together they are part of a broader story of appropriation, in which Korean statecraft had long adapted imperial practices. The institutional parallels that emerged of which the use (of the memorial is only one example) fostered legibility between Korean and imperial practices, but it also meant Korean claims of authority were always in implicit contest with imperial ones. The avoidance of obvious affronts to imperial claims, such as the use of a separate calendar, illustrates the delicateness of diplomatic representation. That Korean rulers and their officials tailored their correspondences in this manner demands acknowledging the strong possibility for deliberate representation in such political performances and cautions against reading them simply as genuine expressions of some general truth about the nature of Chosŏn-Ming relations. Diplomatic memorials, p'yomun, cannot be taken literally as transparent "documents of expression."

The crux of the matter is a tension between competing sovereign claims. How does the diplomatic memorial manage this tension? Addressing this question requires examining the diplomatic memorial as a genre diachronically. The memorial bound Korea to the imperial tradition, and so its history must be understood in conjunction with the history of empire.

A Genealogy of Empire

Compilations like the Literary Selections of the East gave diplomatic memorials a generic coherence, constructed through their accumulation of tangible examples. Their compilers transformed a repository of inert documents by bringing them together collectively as a device of knowledge. Through them, the rhetorical strategies for engaging with empire became a craft that could be mastered. Reading diplomatic memorials as a form of knowledge is crucial to understanding their significance in Korean diplomacy. In his preface to the Selections of the East, Sŏ Kŏjŏng writes the following of Korea's literary achievement.

When the [Northern and Southern] Song contended with the Liao and Jin, [we] avoided national calamity over and over by dint of literary writing. In the time of the Yuan, [our scholars] arrived as foreign guests in their civil service exams and met as equals the talented men of the Central Plains [i.e. China].39

The first achievement was strategic. Sŏ credited memorials and other diplomatic missives for saving Korea from destruction during times of upheaval, a time period where multiple contenders and claimed imperial status. The second accomplishment was its ability to demonstrate cultural parity with China. This second claim did not address diplomatic writing per se, but its assertion of cultural parity was ultimately inseparable from Korea's strategic encoding of its relations with empire.

The Literary Selections of the East was not an inert repository. At the outset, it was a result of a selective rendering of a genre. Its compilers had culled a particular set of documents from extant materials. Although they predated the Chosŏn, these texts were meant to inform later compositions, so they are as much objects of the Chosŏn as they are of earlier historical moments. Their retrospective accounting of Korea's interactions with past empires also offers a genealogical reading of the past, a window into its compilers' understanding of how Korea's history had come to constitute the Chosŏn present. The immediate task here then is to read "along the grain," to discover the strategic work they were intended to do.40

Although a form of encomium, the diplomatic memorial was appropriated for strategic use from its inception. The earliest examples were not congratulatory memorials or declarations of fealty, but missives that sought to enlist imperial authority and commandeer its power. One, sent by the P'aekche (百濟 trad. 18 BCE--660 CE) ruler to the Northern Wei (北魏 386--534) emperor, was a request for military aid, hoping to draw imperial intervention against the rival kingdom of Koguryŏ (高句麗).41 Another, sent by the Silla for Tang Gaozong (唐高宗 r. 628--683), was the memorial that spurred on the Tang invasions of P'aekche, which precipitated the unification of the Korean peninsula under Silla.42 Although these early memorials adopted the language of vassalage, they were not unequivocal paeans to imperial power. They were instead tools designed by their anonymous composers who used them to glorify imperial power only to turn it to their own ends.

The diplomatic memorial appears as a bona fide genre only with the work of the Silla literatus Ch'oe Ch'iwŏn 崔致遠 (857--951), whom Sŏ credited as the "originator of Korea's literary tradition" (吾東方文章之本始也). Ch'oe's life was in many ways a shorthand for the cultural dynamics of appropriation between the peninsula and the continent at the time. He was a representative example of the many individuals who traveled west to China and returned home with the fruits of their experience.43 Ch'oe left Silla at a young age for the Tang capital Chang'an to pursue his studies. There, he passed the civil service examinations and served as a Tang official until he returned to Silla in 884.44 In his homeland he promoted literary Chinese and argued in particular for the importance of literary craft to the conduct of diplomacy.45 He applied his craft in this capacity, as the the first diplomatic memorial to receive an attribution of authorship in the Selections of the East was one Ch'oe wrote to present felicitations to the Tang court.46

After a long period of selective appropriation, elements of Tang court practice had become an established part of Korea's cultural landscape. The use of the p'yo-memorial in diplomacy was no exception. The majority of the extant documents date from the Koryŏ period, though a significant portion are from after the Mongol invasions.47 The pre-Mongol memorials addressed the Liao, Jin, and Song courts, who all claimed to be legitimate successors of the Tang's once unified empire by adapting and reinventing its ritual and rhetorical technologies in the process.48 Rival claimants to unified empire competed for Koryŏ's recognition. In the meantime, as Michael C. Rogers described it, Koryŏ relied on "its considerable diplomatic skills, with a keen awareness of the distinction between rhetoric and reality" as it negotiated with these three courts at different junctures in the "post universalistic world" after the Tang's demise.49 The use of the p'yo-memorial, then, was a signature practice of Korean diplomacy; just as no one emperor monopolized the imperial tradition, no one imperial dynasty exclusively enjoyed Koryŏ's tribute missions or its declarations of fealty. These documents are poignant reminders that the imperial tradition was not coterminous with an ethnocentric idea of "China." For the greater duration of this period, Koryŏ sent these memorials, not to the Chinese-ruled Song, but to the "multiethnic" empires of the Khitan Liao and the Jurchen Jin.50 The "diplomatic memorial" and the practices surrounding it developed through a line of dynastic transmission that mainly circumvented the Song, and passed through the northern dynasties of the Liao and Jin, and finally to be inherited by the Mongol Yuan.51

In this context, a Korean diplomatic memorial acquired additional symbolic importance for these rival imperial states. Korean envoys bearing these missives arrived at least annually to the Liao and Jin courts, but their presence in the Song was a rare cause for celebration. The reign of Emperor Huizong (徽宗 r. 1100--1126) saw a flurry of renewed diplomatic activity with Koryŏ. Huizong, hoping to isolate the Khitan Liao who had occupied the "lost" sixteen prefectures in northern China for generations, sought to kindle an alliance with the Koryŏ against them.52

The Song court celebrated the arrival of Koryŏ embassies by holding special civil service examinations for the Erudite Degree,53 where examinees wrote mock diplomatic memorials in the voice of the Koryŏ king. Huizong held one such examination in 1114. On this occasion, examinees wrote as the Koryŏ king showing thanks for a bestowal of musical instruments.54 Why the Song asked its examinees to write in the voice of the Koryŏ king requires explanation. The test could have measured literary versatility, a desirable quality for a court composer. Since the Song court dispatched diplomatic letters of its own to rival imperial states, a mock Koryŏ letter could have also served as a model. Or, it could have been a template for "translating" letters from other foreigners into a language suitable for presentation to an imperial audience.Perhaps the rhetorical niceties considered appropriate to this context could be recycled to suit the ideological needs of the court. Regardless of their purpose, comparing these mock memorials to actual Korean memorials reveal stark differences. It amounts to the difference between an imperial fantasy's clichéd projection of what a Koryŏ memorial should be and what an actual Koryŏ strategy of self-representation was. Korean memorials defied these imperial expectations, but they also exceeded them. They offered something far more valuable than what the imperial court initially hoped for, but not before claiming a piece of the imperial tradition for themselves.

The top examination passer for the 1114 Erudite exams was Sun Di 孫覿 (1081--1169). The editor of the Southern Song Compass to Composition (Cixue zhinan 詞學指南), Wang Yingling (王應麟 1223--1296) found Sun's response worthy of inclusion as a model essay.55 He lauded Sun's essay for its effective use of diction:

If in the opening phrases, one spoke only words such as "favor extending to distant countries," like a second-rate writer would, it would be weak and without power. And so, [Sun Di] took the meaning of these words and transformed them. [The phrases] "[You] granted the letters [of investiture] and for a myriad leagues culture is all unified" are what [I mean]. One has only to read these two phrases to see the big picture.56

The structure of the essay was equally important:

He first speaks of how the distant barbarians are not worthy enough to know elegant music and then narrates the splendor of the musical performance and the favor of bestowal. One can use this as a model for any memorial [expressing thanks] for receiving gifts as one of the four barbarians.57

The memorial not only proclaimed the universal claims of imperial rule, but also demonstrated the humility of the "barbarian" ruler, who once ignorant of civilized ways, was now basking in the transforming glory of "elegant music." Weaving these tropes together with appropriate classical allusions in the proper parallel prose made for a good memorial.58

Huizong may have been thinking of the Dashengyue (大晟樂) when he held the special round of civil service exams in 1114. Completed in 1105, the Dashengyue project was a new repertoire of court ceremonial music designed to restore the musical standards of the Sage Kings. The creation of the new music coincided with other cultural and political projects that meant to augment the prestige of the Song imperial house. In this period of renewed imperial activism, the Dashengyue was thus intimately connected with an irredentist war against the Khitan Liao, which ultimately precipitated the Northern Song's destruction.59 When Huizong bequeathed the instruments and scores of his new music to Koryŏ in 1116,60 he also made relations with Koryŏ an integral element in the plan to restore Song imperial splendor.61

One need only read the actual Koryŏ letter Huizong received to see how different it was from the mock memorial. The actual Koryŏ letter thanking Huizong for this gift of music differed in essential ways from the Song mock memorial, matching neither its structure nor its rhetorical flow. Instead of humble barbarians professing their ignorance in the face of the civilizing imperial knowledge of Song, we find the following:

Your Servant has heard that when Xuanyuan [the Yellow Thearch, Huangdi] created the Xianchi and Yu [the Sage King] completed the Daxia, they used their own body for their measures and forged tripods to test their sounds.62 Before the Zhou, all followed their rules. [Those] from the Han on failed in their transmission. The [corrupt sounds] of the Zheng and Wei burgeoned, and the Airs and Elegantiae [i.e. the proper music of the Book of Songs] were long broken.63 The various scholars could not construct them, and the generations that followed could not develop them. [But] the Way was not enacted in vain, and Principle had something to it. Now, Your Majesty the Emperor, wise and sagely, brilliant through sincerity, took up the remonstrance of recluses, absolved the confusion of measurements, and followed the legacy of the ancient kings. And so, [You] achieved the balance of the Yellow Bell,64 adorning it with the five modes, disseminating it in the eight instruments. Promulgating them in the altars and shrines, the various spirits submit; and proclaiming them in the imperial court, the commoners and officials are harmonious. [With this you] illuminated the achievements of an age, and revived the fallen paragons of antiquity.65

The Koryŏ letter exhibited a mastery of classical diction and rhymeprose equal to that of the Song court composer. This mastery allowed the Koryŏ to represent its own interpretation of the Dashengyue as a project of cultural revival. No less an encomium to imperial virtue, praises of Huizong for matching the achievements of sage rulers show that the Koryŏ recipient could appreciate as a connoisseur and not as a mere consumer. He is not simply overawed by the music's splendor, but can hear the resonances of its classical tunes. He recognized its accomplishment because he was not an ignorant barbarian, but a cultivated listener knowledgeable of the classical past. Their culture hailing from the same tradition, the Koryŏ approached the Song as cultural equals.

The letter amplified the cultural significance of Huizong project, but did so while underscoring Koryŏ's qualifications as a participant in this project. The letter closes with the assurance that with "the enduring echoes of the bells and chimes," the Koryŏ too will "use the ocarina and flute to set straight the sounds," and replicate the musical standards the Song promulgated. By participating jointly in the spread of the Dashengyue, the Koryŏ well help bring "great peace that flows in unison with heaven and earth" for "transmissions [lasting] a hundred generations," and celebrate the "mutual joy of ruler and subject."66 Koryŏ was not grateful for this piece of Song civilization, but to the Song for contributing to the civilizing project as a whole.

The Koryŏ letter also exceeded Song expectations for praise, even where it echoed them. The actual and mock memorials did share some features. Phrases such as "flowing in unison with heaven and earth" (天地同流) and "the mutual joy of ruler and subject" (君臣相悅) find their way into both. Since both Song and Koryŏ writers drew from a common classical repertoire, identical allusions were sometimes unavoidable. In this case, a passage in the Mencius that saw harmonious resonance between the human and natural worlds to parallel good relations between ruler and subject served as an apt referent.67

Indeed, the revival of ancient music was also to produce these harmonious correspondences. Ritually correct music could not only regulate the empire, but also acquire the cooperation of barbarian peoples and supernatural beings alike. To this effect, Sun Di likened imperial music to the "the dance of shields" performed by the sage ruler Shun 舜. In its locus classicus, the "Counsels of Great Yu," the dance represented the ruler's moral influence, which succeeded in moving his enemies, the Miao barbarians, to "submit after seventy days."68 The Koryŏ memorial alluded to the same passage and adapted it to the wording of Huizong promulgation of the Dashengyue. Though the Song edict only described the performance of this music as a way to "honor the deities and spirits," the Koryŏ memorial claimed that the performance of music brought even "spirits to submission."69 Here, we have a correspondence not of emotional resonance, but of literary fashioning. By acknowledging Song claims in writing, the Koryŏ achieved the same sonorous harmony sagely music was to achieve. Like musical harmony, both correspondences in text and in diplomatic practice required mutual action for their effect.

The resulting intertextual harmony was not a spontaneous response to the moral virtue of the Song. Even though both the mock and actual memorials referred to the power of music as moral influence, the harmony of both text and action resulted from deliberate orchestration, as both the Koryŏ and the Song worked together to construct Huizong's sagely image. The question remains whether such orchestrations occurred at the behest of the imperial court or if Koryŏ had responded to the Song on its own terms. Behind these issues is a tension fundamental to this genre. On one hand rested imperial desire to control these representations and on the other lay the need to preserve Korean agency, because only "spontaneous" (read: not coerced) responses could serve as adequate testimony to imperial virtue.

By using mock memorials in its civil service examinations, the Song showed its interest in establishing norms and expectations for this genre of writing. The intended audience of these exemplary exam answers was not likely the Koryŏ court. Thousands of leagues away, the Koryŏ produced a memorial with stark deviations from Song expectations. Furthermore, Koryŏ court composers had their own models to consult. During this period, Koryŏ's court composers had already honed their rhetorical craft in their dealings with the Liao court. By Huizong's reign, the Song were interlopers in a preexisting tradition, one that for over a century the Koryŏ had developed with the Liao without Song participation.

Korean memorial writers anticipated the imperial gaze, ever cognizant of the symbolic value these memorial presentations had for the imperial court. Emperors expressed their displeasure, if a Korean memorial did not somehow fit their expectations. Sŏ Kŏjŏng noted, for example, a Jin emperor who thought that a classical allusion in a Koryŏ memorial had insinuated the less-than-glorious way in which he came to the throne.70 Yuan regulations prohibited certain words from such memorials. Such a rule was intended for Yuan officials, but it also applied to memorials from the Koryŏ court.71 Most famously, the Ming founder, the Hongwu emperor (Taizu 明太祖 r. 1368--1398), prohibited words that reminded him of his humble past. Scholars who violated these regulations were severely punished, including Korean memorial drafters.72 The early Ming "memorial incidents" (p'yochŏn sagŏn 表箋事件) caused considerable consternation at the Chosŏn court and led to the detainment, exile, and execution of Korean ambassadors.73 Amid all this, the Chosŏn court still insisted on sending these memorials, even after the Ming emperor had demanded it desist.74

Ming Taizu's intervention in the matter of diction and literary craft, however dramatic, was unusual.75 Later Ming emperors and officials mostly lauded Korean memorials for their prose and diction. The Yongle emperor was said to have "sighed in praise without end" after reading Korean memorials.76 The Ming grand secretary Yan Song 嚴嵩 (1480--1567) once compared Korean missives favorably to other "memorials from the four quarters," which he dismissed collectively as "inappropriately worded for the most part." Literary mastery allowed the Korean memorial to navigate the rhetorical fine line between vague platitudes and indecorousness. The memorial that impressed Yan Song had "congratulated" the Jiajing emperor for narrowly escaping an assassination attempt by his palace ladies. Yan praised it for managing to avoid "[laying] bare the details of the matter," while still preserving "the facts" of the matter, thus balancing the demands of decorum without losing a sense of relevance.77 To gain recognition as pieces of "literary" writing and its style already required a through expertise, but the requisite knowledge for writing these memorials went beyond conventions, tropes, and prosody. It required a mastery of rhetorical strategies and, most of all, an understanding of the political concerns of its audience.

Despite their visibility as a genre in the Selections of the East, neither the memorials' literary quality nor the rhetorical strategies they embed have been substantively addressed in existing scholarship. Its diction has seldom been addressed beyond its symbolic significance as a gesture of submission.78 Neither do these texts enter literary histories.79 The lack of attention to their literary quality is perhaps a result of a combination of factors. Their explicit ceremonial use makes their rhetorical goals seemingly self-evident, while their highly allusive rococo prose seems to serve nothing more than to ornament straightforward messages of political fealty and praise. The importance Sŏ Kŏjŏng and other early Chosŏn scholar-officials placed on the genre and its prominence in the Literary Selections of the East, however, should alert us to the inadequacy of dismissing them as mere rhetoric. At the very least, their inclusion in a literary canon signifies their importance for a fifteenth-century Korean world-view that has yet to be properly appreciated. This monumental task is beyond the scope of this chapter; what instead follows is a deconstruction of two central rhetorical tropes in all these memorials: sincerity---that Koreans were genuinely loyal to the empire, and eternity---that they would always be so.

Constructing Authenticity: Sincerity and the Imperializing Mode

At the Ming court, the symbolic significance of the Korean memorials depended on their sincerity. The Ming court mandated the presentation of congratulatory memorials (hebiao 賀表) from its officials for imperial birthdays and other important occasions. They could not have directly coerced foreign groups, such as the Koreans, Vietnamese, Ryūkyūans and the like, to do so.80 For one winter solstice in 1543, the Ming Jiajing emperor (嘉靖 1521--1567) expressed his dismay that very few foreign rulers sent their felicitations. The emperor lauded Chosŏn for being one among the few. He also asked the Ming Board of Rites to "encourage" the Chosŏn ruler to come to the Ming to pay his personal respects, which the Chosŏn refused.81 The imperial court could not control memorial presentations or their contents, but it was precisely that lack of control that granted them symbolic power. Couched in a rhetoric of sincerity, these letters were supposed to express spontaneous, willing submission. Autonomous acknowledgment of imperial authority thereby demonstrated its moral attraction. All hinged on the letter's lyrical authenticity--- that is to say whether the emotions they expressed were genuine.

For a memorial to be "sincere" (sŏng/cheng 誠) did not only mean that the sentiments were genuine. In a ritualized context, what authenticated these sentiments was the regularity and consistency of their performance. In other words, the reliability of performance was in itself a demonstration of its sincerity. Therefore, that a particular sentiment was deliberately performed did not necessarily gainsay its authenticity. Moreover, the transformative power ascribed to ritual performance in premodern East Asian ritual thinking meant that repeated demonstration on its own had the potential to alter even disingenuous sentiments. Ritual was supposed to be performative, in that the repeated performance of sentiments also transformed the performer.

However, this also means those who performed rituals were also aware of their performative power and could use them strategically. Repeated performance of ritual, then, could be the very mechanism the performer used to show his audience that he had indeed been transformed in the manner desired by his audience.82 The literary and ritual demonstration of sincerity in the diplomatic memorial itself could thus be a site of potential intercession. Korean diplomats and memorial writers used a rhetoric of sentimental authenticity and performed ritual consistency to construct sincerity as a central tenet of Korean diplomacy for an imperial audience. In doing so, they brought their gestures of sincere submission into a moral economy of empire that exhorted imperial action in terms of principled obligations.

Memorials invariably assumed the voice of the Korean ruler. As missives from the Korean king to the emperor, these documents were to express the authentic sentiments of an embodied sovereignty: kingship personified as an incarnation of a state and its people. The irony was that it was always a fictive, disembodied royal voice. A Korean king never wrote these letters himself; the task of fashioning his royal voice for the imperial ear fell on his court composers. Whereas historical records rarely include names of memorial drafters, treating them as state level communications, both the Literary Selections of the East and the Recorded Notes of the Pagoda Tree Hall ascribe authorship to specific individuals.83 These included the foremost literary officials of the day. From the period of the Mongol invasions until the early 1400s, memorial writers included figures such as Yi Kyubo 李奎報 (1168--1241), Kim Ku 金坵 (1211--1278), Yi Chehyŏn 李齊賢 (1297--1367), Yi Kok 李榖 (1298--1351) and his son Yi Saek 李穡 (1328--1396), Yi Sung'in 李崇仁 (1347--1392), Chŏng Tojŏn 鄭道傳 (1342-1398), and Kwŏn Kŭn 權近 (1352--1409), each of whom was a significant literary and political figure of his day.84

The writers listed above were certainly involved in crafting these memorials, but wordsmithing was only one step in a longer chain of production. Any one diplomatic memorial passed through many hands before a final version was approved for delivery. Chosŏn institutional texts describe an extensive review process.85 Differing versions of the same memorial in different sources suggest an extensive process of drafting and revision, confirmed also by such discussions in court annals.86 In 1396, the first Ming emperor, offended by turns of phrase in a Korean memorial, demanded the extradition of Chŏng Tojŏn, who was reputed to be the drafter. The Chosŏn court replied, undoubtedly to protect Chŏng, that the memorial was in fact wrought by several other officials. As the affair escalated, functionaries, scribes, and other Chosŏn officials came to be implicated.87 Since authorship was not always clear, responsibility was likewise diffused. Authorship was thus in the end just as much as a manufactured effect as the document's disembodied sovereign voice. Together they occluded an entire institutional complex behind their production.

Drafting the text of the memorial was only the first step in preparation. The materiality of the text was equally important and obeyed set conventions by the fifteenth century. The memorial would be written on specially prepared "memorial paper" (箋紙). Officials known for their calligraphy were selected for transcribing text.88 They wrote in thin characters and light ink with references to the emperor and the imperial state elevated to show their superiority, political hierarchies were made explicit in the form of the document.89 The imprint of the Chosŏn king's royal seal (Chosŏn gukwang chi in 朝鮮國王之印), a gift from the imperial court, would be stamped on the paper to demonstrate its authenticity.90 The document had to be in fixed dimensions, at 7.5 ch'on wide and 2.6 ch'on high, with space for twenty characters per column. Finally, the document would be placed in a case of precise specifications. Once sealed inside, the document remained in the container until its presentation to the emperor.91 These elaborate practices functioned both to authenticate the document as a genuine representation of the Korean court's intentions and to ensure their reliability through an establishment of consistent protocols.92

At the heart of these practices was a process of self-construction, but one deliberately tailored for imperial consumption. Conscious of the artifice inherent in the production of such a document, its drafters paid particular attention to the problems of authenticity. They deployed a discourse of sincerity in the diction and rhetoric of these diplomatic documents. Chosŏn memorials described diplomacy with the Ming as the Korean ruler "serving the greater with utmost sincerity" (至誠事大). Viewed this way, memorials were simply a way to express a "sincere [will] to pray [for the emperor's] fortune" (禱祝之誠).93 Such rhetoric suggests the genuineness of Korea's submission, evinced also by the regular, repeated presentation of tribute and the explicit declarations of loyalty, assuring its desire was rooted in authentic sentiment. Sincere submission was in turn supposed to be an unequivocal demonstration of the naturalness and legitimacy of the empire itself. To take only such a view, however, would be to play into the discursive constructs of the Korean memorial. The insistence on sincerity in these documents may have indeed mirrored actual sentiments in certain instances, but it was also a rhetorical tactic of the Korean memorial writer.

The diplomatic memorial was forged precisely in a context where sincerity could not be taken for granted. In a period of political fragmentation, the Koryŏ treated the Liao, Song, and Jin in turn (and often simultaneously) as universal sovereigns. When the Mongol invasions devastated northeast Asia in the early thirteenth century, the Koryŏ court again used diplomacy to make peace with the ascendant Mongol empire. A lasting peace eluded both parties; harsh Mongol terms proved unacceptable to the Koryŏ court, which reneged on earlier agreements once Mongol troops withdrew. When the Koryŏ offered submission to stave off Mongol aggression in 1238, the Mongols questioned the sincerity of Koryŏ's overture.94

These suspicions were well placed. The Koryŏ court was not ready to capitulate. In 1233, it had sent an envoy bearing a memorial to the Jurchen Jin court in Kaifeng. The Koryŏ hoped that a rekindled alliance with the Jin could be a basis for resisting the Mongols. Its drafter, Yi Kyubo, described the Jin emperor as universal ruler of the cosmos, whose virtue brought peace to the world. The Mongols, on the other hand, were "brutes and barbarians" (獷俗) so "insolent as to have forced the displacement of the imperial realm," an allusion to Jin court's exile to the south. Yi showed the sincerity of the Koryŏ king through tears that "flowed down in torrents" upon witnessing the "accumulated piles of [Jin] imperial letters." The emissary bearing the letter, however, never reached the Jin court. The Mongols had began their final assault on the Jin's last strongholds, destroying it a year later.95

Only four years later, Yi Kyubo found himself arguing for the sincerity of Koryŏ's allegiance to the very "brutes and barbarians" of the 1234 Jin letter. The eternal commitment to the Jin notwithstanding, Yi Kyubo transferred the same effusive adulations once reserved to the Jin to the Mongols in his 1238 diplomatic memorial to their ruler Ogodei Khan (r. 1229--1241). In this appeal, he deflected Mongol accusations of insincerity:

Your magnanimity that understands forthrightness has been laid bare to us....Humbly yours, this servant dwells afar in the barren marches and improperly occupies a humble fief. And so, this ignoble, small country would need to depend on a Great State. Still more, the Sage that we have been expecting has just descended. As one among the vassals who hold on to their lands, how dare we not submit with sincerity?96

The Mongols suspected Koryŏ of submitting only for necessity's sake, a way to avert an existential threat. Yi Kyubo transformed this existential necessity into a compulsion of duty, an ethical necessity. Koryŏ had no choice but to be sincere in submission. It submitted not out of fear, but because recognizing the inevitability of the Mongol's imperial destiny was its moral obligation:

....How could one say that "this was taken out of necessity when the situation became difficult?" Though we are sincere, we have been doubted, and on the contrary elicited chastisement from our Ruler and Father, and so [You] have repeatedly sent armies to punish these transgressions. 97

Although as "ruler and father," the emperor always reserved the right to "punish these transgressions," Koryŏ's sincerity meant the chastisement was unjust. Instead, the emperor should have used this opportunity to demonstrate his all-encompassing virtue. Yi thus exhorted imperial magnanimity with promises of eternal tribute:

We humbly hope that Your Majesty, the Emperor, whose deep benevolence extends his generosity afar, whose virtue values life, would only not exert the might of his armies. With our old customs preserved, though our tribute of seas and mountains (i.e. local produce) is meager, how could we miss a single year? This is not only something for today, but something [we will fulfill] eternally.98

The assertion of sincerity and the declaration of fealty were tokens of negotiation, a way to express Koryŏ terms of peace to demand the cessation of war. At the same time, it also appealed to a vision of moral empire; Koryŏ demands of the Mongols were not made explicitly, but couched within the rhetorical logic of the document. Its appeals rested on assumptions about the moral prerogatives of the emperor; in portraying his motivations and his magnanimity in this way, the Koryŏ memorial did not seek an accurate depiction of who the Mongol ruler was, but a clear image of who he should be. Performing sincerity, through literary embellishment and the promise of tribute, was a political strategy.99

Declarations of sincere loyalty worked within the warp and woof of a broader rhetorical structure, in which ideals of empire were erected from claims of sentimental authenticity. The memorial asserted sincerity, foundational as it was to this construction, often at times when it was most suspect. In 1259, the Koryŏ sent its crown prince to the Mongols to sue for peace. He surrendered to Khubilai Khan, who restored him to the Koryŏ throne as King Wŏnjong (元宗 r. 1260--1274) in 1260. His position as king remained tenuous.100 In 1265, Wŏnjong returned to the Mongol court for several months to show Koryŏ's allegiance. After an imperial feast to bid the Koryŏ entourage farewell at Wanshou Hill, the Koryŏ ruler had his official Kim Ku compose a memorial expressing his gratitude.101 The overwhelming imperial beneficence "moved the [king's] bowels and saturated [his] marrow" so deeply that his "undrying tears and rheum" have left his "lapels and sleeves on the verge of crumbling away."102 Hyperboles of sentiment portrayed the emotive intensity of the Koryŏ king's reaction as indicating artless spontaneity, lest the gesture of submission be dismissed as political calculation.

The infusion of emotional authenticity shifted the political into a mode of familial sentimentality. The emperor's "utmost benevolence" made coming to court no different than "returning to one's father and mother."103 The familial metaphor, together with the intensity of emotional reaction, worked together with the rest of the letter to demand a relationship of reciprocity: "Though it is [a ruler of] small country who comes in person to court, [his arrival] can still aid in glorying Sagely Brilliance"104 The glorification, achieved in this letter by casting the Koryŏ ruler's emotional outpouring as testimony to imperial virtue, transferred political agency from the emperor-as-sovereign to the tribute-bearing vassal, subtly transforming the relative importance of their positions. The memorial's description of the imperial banquet as a "feast of calling deer" (鹿鳴之讌), further reinforced this positional shift. In the poem from the Book of Songs it alludes to, the deer beckon their own kind to forage, an affective evocation (xing 興) for a wise lord sharing his bounty with loyal followers. He shares his "baskets of offerings" in hopes that they will "love [him]" and "show [him] the perfect path." The lord and his vassals enter reciprocal relationship, since enjoying its fruits require both parties to play their proper roles.105 The allusion suited a description of an imperial banquet, but in this classical expression of rulership, the Koryŏ king as a "guest" was not to offer absolute obedience. Instead, he owed the emperor first his love and, most importantly, guidance toward moral rule. The munificence of the emperor, once expressed in the infinity of his virtue, power, and glory was transformed into an instrument of reciprocity. This image of the "calling deer" rephrased the political implications of Koryŏ's acquiescence. Not simply an expression of fealty, it also claimed for Koryŏ a dignified and important place as authenticator of and participant in the project of empire. In the logic of the diplomatic memorial, it is the vassal who made the ruler.

Portraying acquiescence to imperial sovereignty in terms of reciprocal relations between lord and vassal was a persistent trope in Korean diplomatic writing. Its iteration in the mid-thirteenth century was significant because it implicitly challenged the ideological principles that guided the Mongol wars of conquest, at least before the the fragmentation of the Mongol empire during the reign of Khubilai Khan. The desperate and drawn out war between Koryŏ and the Mongols resulted partly from divergent expectations of the Koryŏ court and the Mongols. During the early phase of Mongol expansion, the Mongols, according to William Henthorn, "regarded everything and everyone in a conquered nation as absolute chattel, a concept which differs considerably from the Chinese oriented system with which Koryŏ was accustomed."106 The discourse Koryŏ adopted in its memorials accompanied the Mongols as they shifted from what Herbert Franke has called an "unsophisticated and unconditional claim to legitimacy as universal rulers" of the time of Chinggis Khan to one that was attenuated by concepts of Confucian rulership with Khubilai's accession and the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty.107

In letters such as these, complex politics were flattened and redrawn along familiar classical tropes, making them pliable for reinterpretation within a fiction of moral empire. This process, one in which Koryŏ was complicit, legitimized Mongol-Yuan rule by connecting it to the hallowed past, and painted over troubling memories of its violent rise and the embers of Koryŏ's ruined cities with a broad brush dipped in imperial yellow. But, in declaring the sincerity of its submission and praising imperial endeavors, the Koryŏ presented a Trojan Horse. Unadulterated praise concealed the real function of these classical references. They pointed to the distant past only to raise standards for the present. Whereas Koryŏ eagerly celebrated Mongol military successes against others, when imperial ambitions impinged upon its own interests these very same allusions and classical models could be redeployed as bulwarks against Mongol overreach. While an emperor could do no wrong, the words used to praise him became the shackles for restraining his actions.

"Eternal the Eastern Fief"

Korean diplomatic documents exhibit a remarkable generic and stylistic stability across a millennium. Even as the existential threat of imperial invasion had abated, the rhetorical techniques honed in those contexts persisted. Few institutional practices in human history can boast this level of endurance. Read together, these documents appear repetitive, recycling old classical allusions into tired tropes of empire. The Recorded Notes of the Pagoda Tree Hall alone contains over six hundred examples of such memorials from the Ming period. A cursory perusal would not be able to distinguish one memorial from another, especially since many of them were for routine, yearly presentations. Common refrains, formulaic phraseology, and stereotyped references only add to a repetitiveness reinforced by their own rhetoric of timelessness. In every memorial the Korean king declared his intentions to "forever guard [his] fief in the Eastern Sea" and "always bless [the emperor's] longevity, [as eternal as] Southern Mountain" and his "sincere" admiration of the emperor and his court, albeit in different recombinations of allusions and turns of phrase.108 Like the issue sincerity discussed already, timelessness too, expressed both in the trope of eternal fealty and reflected in the temporal stability of the genre, was a mask for volatility.

The facility with which the Koryŏ transferred allegiances from the Jin to the Mongols suggests that the rhetoric of empire contained in these documents was wholly detached from historical experience: a veneer of hollow words rather than a means of substantive negotiation. The emperors of the moribund Jin and the ascendant Mongols received the same treatment as all-encompassing, virtuous, and benevolent universal rulers. The rhetorical ornaments in these documents, as tropes common in panegyric writing, could be used for conventional political flattery, but the examples discussed so far show that even the most hackneyed classical allusion could carry resonating messages. In the case of the Jin and Mongol letters, it was precisely their will to timelessness---the apparently ahistorical vision of empire---that in fact imbued them with their rhetorical power. The Koryŏ articulated Mongol rulership within the ethos and modality of imperial rule that it had once granted the Liao and Jin emperors. They did this even before the Mongol leadership had aspired to those ideas or accepted the imperial tradition as their own. Koryŏ, by engaging with the Mongols on the same terms and in the same mode as it had done with past empires, attempted to revive an imperial tradition that had been extinguished with the Jin's destruction.109 In other words, the Koryŏ memorial did not simply legitimate Mongol claims to imperial authority. By acknowledging these claims even before the Mongols made them for themselves, it attempted to fashion the very terms on which imperial authority was based by preemptively situating Koryŏ within an established tradition of empire.

Related to this effort to impose the imperial tradition on Mongol rulers, these Koryŏ letters and diplomatic dispatches also fostered a sense of cultural recognition among the Confucian officials at the Yuan court. This recognition enabled a site of political intercourse that remained productive through the end of the Yuan period. For example, Kim Ku, with the dispatches he wrote from 1260 until his death in 1274, earned the praise of Wang E (王鶚 1190--1273), a former Jin optimus responsible for reviving imperial rituals at the Mongol court.110 Mutual cultural identification between former Jin officials in Mongol service and the Koryŏ provided a requisite discursive space for casting Koryŏ's preservation as integral to imperial restoration and cultural revival. In this space of negotiation, Confucian officials occupied the center, whereas their Mongol overlords often appeared as marginal interlopers, the "barbarian" other that was the implied target of their civilizing project.111

Kim Ku's memorial of 1260, written to congratulate Khubilai Khan on his accession, offers an example of how imperial legitimacy could be encoded. Its praise of the Mongol ruler abstracted him within that classical idiom:

After a thousand ages, a new beginning arrives like the rising sun. [All those who] call the four seas home [are] recipients of Heaven's protection; upon the commencement of [this new] rule, [they] celebrate in unison. With veneration we serve the Sagely and Glorious succession to the mandate. Divine wisdom in decisiveness, He cultivates the literary (文) and sets aside the whip [of war]; dances of shields and feathers [fill] the two stairs. Administering government and disbursing benevolence, He assembles the tribute ships of a myriad nations. The Exalted Mandate is restored and his august fortune augmented. Upon thinking that I, Your Servant, on account of my return to inherit this fiefdom, am unable to be among those to prostrate before you at Court and only gaze towards the [imperial] court, I [now] doubly show my sincerity [that can] move mountains.112

The memorial portrayed Khubilai's accession as a new beginning, a grand restoration of the "Exalted Mandate [of Heaven]." His sovereignty was boundless, celebrated by "a myriad nations," among whom was the Koryŏ. In this memorial, Kim Ku, like Yi Kyubo before him, deployed conventional tropes, but their effects relied on allusions that extended the text's resonances beyond exalting imperial majesty or assuring dutiful allegiance. They wove together a structure of relevance that drew both from its immediate historical context and the classical canon. The allusive power of its images deployed encoded not just any vision of imperial legitimacy, but a narrowly specific one. Praising the emperor for "[cultivating] the literary (文)," and laying down arms, the memorial obliquely recalled the recent warfare between Koryŏ and the Mongols. Thus implicitly repudiating military aggression, it championed the primacy of civil virtue over martial force in its evocation of the "dances of shields and feathers." This reference to the "Counsels of Great Yu," as it did in the Koryŏ-Song memorials discussed earlier, represented the power of civil virtue. When the Sage King Shun campaigned against the rebellious Miao, his counselor Yu remonstrated against the use of force and called for "entire sincerity" (至諴感神 矧茲有苗) to move them instead. Taking Yu's advice, the sage king "led back his army" and "broadly diffused civil virtue and danced with shields and feathers on the two staircases [in his palace courtyard]" to bring about their submission.113 The memorial inverted the relationship of agency implied in the locus classicus. The Koryŏ did not dispatch "tribute ships" to recognize Mongol military prowess, but rather as the Miao did in days of yore, to pay obeisance to a ruler who commenced a new age of peace with his benevolent rule. The Koryŏ only submitted because the Mongols had set aside the "whip" of war. These rhetorical flourishes, not mere ornaments of political flattery, in fact encode normative political standards, shaping and defining what virtuous rulership entailed. In the process, Koryŏ authenticated not only Khubilai's virtue, but also the classical logic of empire itself. In it, civil virtue worked and was a viable alternative to martial force.

Koryŏ's submission thus became a symbol of sanction to the new imperial order. Subservience, then, was not declared without implicit conditions. Accompanying the 1260 memorial was a separate missive, which ostensibly thanked the Mongol emperor for releasing King Wŏnjong (元宗 r. 1260--1274) from captivity:

...having permitted me to return over a thousand leagues, You have comforted me in many ways, many times more than usual. As such, I have returned without injury, and gratitude overwhelms my heart. As soon as I arrive in my humble fief, you bestowe upon me enlightened instructions to honor me.114

Although the statements above credited Koryŏ's autonomy to imperial magnanimity, the Koryŏ king's own prerogatives were reasserted in the next line. The letter enumerated the "enlightened instructions" that had been promulgated:

[Your] edict said, "Your old territory will be restored and you will eternally be [our] eastern vassal." Receiving the extended beneficence from this Sagely Dawn, I will now continue to guard the lands of my forebears.115

Through selective quotation of Khubilai's edict, the Koryŏ letter reiterated the emperor's assurances to Wŏnjong, recast as guarantees of Koryŏ's perpetual survival. This reminder implored the emperor and his servants to stay true to their word. Given the tenuousness of Mongol-Koryŏ relations, poisoned by decades of warfare, neither Khubilai's promises of Koryŏ's preservation nor Koryŏ's own declarations of loyalty were taken for granted. When this atmosphere of mistrust hung overhead, statements guaranteeing Koryŏ "eternal" status as a "vassal" amounted to little. The Koryŏ letter thus quoted Khubilai's original edict:

'If you set straight your territory and boundaries and settle the hearts of your people, then my armies will not come ever again. Now that I have made such a declaration, I will certainly not eat my words.' A great declaration thus made; the utmost benevolence can be seen. With the arrival of one letter wrapped in silk, a whole nation's tears fall down at once.116

Khubilai's support of the Koryŏ throne and his promise not to attack Koryŏ again became a mark of great virtue, an act of benevolence that could move even "trees and stones." The Koryŏ king then promised that "his descendants will die to repay" this honor, swearing "upon the mountains and seas" that he "will never change, and eternally observe his duty towards the land of his charge."117 In this manner, the Koryŏ letter transmuted Khubilai's policies into a gesture of utmost benevolence, and along with it, the Koryŏ ruler acquired for himself and his descendants an eternal mandate. The preservation of the kingdom of Koryŏ was no longer a reprieve from inevitable destruction or a precarious survival scrounged from the emperor's pleasure, but a matter of duty: Koryŏ's duty to the emperor. The perpetuity of Koryŏ rule became the mechanism for repaying the emperor. Koryŏ, once a territory to be conquered, had integrated its preservation into the logic of imperial rule.

Asserting such promises in one memorial did not guarantee the interests of the Koryŏ monarchy. Conquering regimes tend to forget their promises, especially to those who cannot resist them, and the terms of this relationship had to be repeatedly reasserted. The wording of Khubilai's edicts, as it is interpreted in this memorial, came to be deployed repeatedly throughout the late Koryŏ to defend the kingdom's territorial integrity, the well-being of its monarchs, and the sanctity of its customs. Part of affirming this relationship was reiterating Koryŏ's commitment to Khubilai's imperial project.118 For the Koryŏ, and later the Chosŏn, repeated assertions of consistent tropes was not simply reiterations of preexisting constants, but the transformation of political arrangements forged in one historical moment into normative constants to be leveraged in the future.119

Diplomatic memorials constructed eternity in content, form and practice. The genre's stable persistence through time echoed with a rhetoric of timelessness reaching both backward to the sage kings of yore and forwards to an infinite future. These documents project a vision of empire that transcended the political exigencies of the moment and the finite scale of mortal time. This timelessness helped construct both imperial legitimacy and the legitimacy of Korea's relationship with empire. Timelessness, then, equated imperial authority with cosmic ontology, and thus naturalized its political power.

On the other hand, diplomatic documents were invariably framed within the scale of dynastic time. For Koreans, how imperial time was inscribed had symbolic significance for the recognition of imperial legitimacy, as JaHyun Kim Haboush has shown. For the imperial audience of Korean documents, evidence of "observing the proper lunation" (尊正朔), i.e. following the imperial calendar, was an important symbol of Korean sincerity. Mongol-Yuan officials wanted to make sure the Koryŏ did not observe Song lunations upon its surrender. A Ming loyalist was moved to tears when he read Korean books that marked time with the Ming calendar. A Qing emperor was miffed when he discovered that Koreans still observer Ming reign eras. For all of them, the observation of specific dynastic time demonstrated political fealty.120

Loyalty belonged to dynastic time, but the memorial genre itself transcended it. These two temporal scales were in tension. Korea's relationship with empire was couched in a rhetoric of eternity that implied its values and political arrangements existed beyond dynastic time. Yet, empire itself was temporally inscribed and circumscribed, a momentary manifestation of an immanent moral order. Was the relationship conceived in these memorials one that existed beyond the confines of dynastic history? Or, was it one firmly located within the institutional structures of one particular dynastic state? In other words, did the Korean memorial declare its loyalty to a particular emperor, a particular state, and a particular ruling family, or as an affirmation of the imperial system and its tradition as a whole?

If one, as many scholars have done, understands Korean relations with "China" in terms of a transdynastic ordering of East Asian states with the "Chinese" empire at the center of a spatial imagination and its ruler the apex of a hierarchy of monarchs (i.e. the tributary system), then the answer should be the latter. The Korean memorial, then, by configuring dynastic time in a cosmic scale, effectively elevated spatial and temporal rulership into something transcendent and universal. These memorials were thus producing a sense of an eternal, transdynastic order within dynastic time.

Following this line of reasoning in historical analysis, however, risks mistaking the rhetorical construction of eternity in such texts for unadulterated reality. The "tributary system" appears as a consistent structural feature only because those who made use of its practices willed it to be so. The strategy in this chapter, and throughout this dissertation then, is to posit an alternative ways of thinking about these memorials and other diplomatic genres. Although these practices took on an apparent fixity of form, they were in fact sites for contestation and negotiation. Genres of imperial legitimation on the surface, the Korean diplomat and memorial writer participated in the production of empire to shape and ultimately define imperial authority. The memorial was not a reflection of the "tributary system," but a central process through which such structures were recreated and reproduced. The sense of stability then is an illusion sustained by numerous discrete acts of contestation and rewriting. Each individual memorial might appear infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things, but their accumulated effect over the longue durée was the illusion of a timelessness transcending dynastic time. It infused the terms of Korea's relationship with empire a sense of immobile permanence. While this image meant Korean rulers could not assert sovereign authority completely independently from empire, it also fixed Korea's ontological status as an inviolable eternal entity, impervious to the vicissitudes of political fortune.


Diplomatic memorials gradually settled into a documentary form with stable generic conventions. Sŏ Kŏjŏng's Literary Selections provided ready models for future composers. A cursory examination of these letters in the Ming and Qing period exhibit a remarkable stylistic and rhetorical consistency. When the Chosŏn court official Sin Yong'gae (申用漑 1463--1519) compiled a continuation of Sŏ's anthology, he did not include any new diplomatic memorials. In contrast to Sŏ and his collaborators who devoted nearly a dozen fascicles to the genre, Sin's compilation included only two mock memorials, written by Chosŏn literati in the voice of imperial officials.121 The exclusion of diplomatic memorials did not indicate a decline in the importance of relations with the imperium. Sin Yong'gae active in diplomacy with the Ming, the reign of King Chungjong during which he made his career, was one of the most active periods of Chosŏn-Ming diplomacy. One can surmise that for Sin, Sŏ's anthology was already an adequate guide for compositions in this genre.

After the Manchus conquered the Ming, the Korean practice of sending such memorials continued. The weight of rhetoric continued to demand much of a memorial drafter's talent. Writing mock memorials became a major subject of Korean civil service exams through the end of the Chosŏn period.122 In 1705, the Manchu Qing sought to fix the Korean memorial by promulgating specific templates formalizing not only the style of the document, but also its rhetorical structure. The Qing complained that "all the memorials from the myriad [emphasis mine] states followed a fixed form, but only the memorials from Korea differed." Despite this rhetoric of universality, the Qing court only received similar memorials from the Vietnamese and Ryukyuans, and the formats demanded of the Koreans never applied to them.123 The Qing thus disguised a targeted attempt at regulating Korean memorials in terms of a general reform of memorial style. Aware of Korean misgivings about Manchu legitimacy, the Qing was concerned that the Chosŏn might slip in references to its "barbaric" origins. A Chosŏn memorial included the controversial character i/yi 夷. There were a wide-range of possible meanings. Although the memorial used the character in the sense of "awakening," the Qing evidently saw its use to be an insinuation of "barbarity," one of the character's other possible senses.124 By enforcing a strict form for memorials, and occasionally protesting to the Chosŏn the misuse of certain words and faulty prosody, it could enforce its political authority through the regulation of literary standards.125

The imperial court developed specific expectations over time, but the emergence of stable standards was a gradual, long-term process. Attempts at regulating their form and diction did not fundamentally alter the performative and rhetorical operation of these memorials. Ming and Qing emperors alike were dealing with an institutional practice that already had a long history and a prescribed role in diplomatic interchange. Since the value of such a memorial to imperial ideology still ultimately rested in its alleged spontaneity, "foreign barbarians" had to "present memorials" on their own accord, if their submission were to truly naturalize imperial authority. To dictate too strictly the extent and substance of their letters would contravene its very purpose as an authentic expression of sentiment. Herein lies the inherent tension of such letters: meaningful only if produced from the outside, and yet acceptable only if they matched the expectations of the imperial reader.

For this process to work, diplomatic practices such as memorial writing had to be legible to both parties and read in terms of a common history. This tension between Korean strategy and imperial expectation in turn produces a dialectic relationship between practice and normativity. They navigated the expectations of an audience attuned to established norms, and yet were in themselves part of the process of shaping those norms. What a diplomatic memorial was supposed to be then, was something that was not entirely the product of either imperial conceit or Korean diplomatic practice. The formulaic reproduction of this imperial fiction in these texts was thus not an outright imposition by any imperial court, but a result of co-construction that occurred over many generations. Consistent and repetitive, this seemingly monolithic genre surely reflected continuity that was a product of a dialectial process with shifting equilibriums. Each letter then, was informed by the precedents developed over time through their actions; the production of empire was ultimately a cooperative venture.

1 This turn of phrase beings with its usage by Sima Guang in his Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑 f.72, pp. 2284, 2290; f.176, p. 5483, f.281, p. 9188; f. 283, p. 9242 f.284, 9294, f. 285, p. 9310; f.287, 9364.
2 Fairbank, The Chinese World Order, 8, 10--13.
3 Zhenping Wang, Ambassadors from the Islands of Immortals : China-Japan Relations in the Han-Tang Period, Asian Interactions and Comparisons. (Honolulu: Association for Asian Studies ; University of Hawai'i Press, 2005), 140--141.
4 For more on the Torghuts (also known as the Kalmyks) and their use in imperial image-making, see Berger, Patricia Ann. Empire of Emptiness : Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003), Introduction, pp. 14--24; and Perdue, Peter C. China Marches West : The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia. (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005), 293-299.
5 Matthew W. Mosca, From Frontier Policy to Foreign Policy : The Question of India and the Transformation of Geopolitics in Qing China (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2013), 5--6, 13, 167.
6 During the Ming and Qing periods, the Translators Institute was chronically understaffed. Only a handful of individuals were on hand, ready to provide translation, and there were often shortages. The instructors were selected from border regions and were supposed to know both the foreign and Chinese scripts. Their students, however, were usually selected from the students of the National Academy; their language of expertise usually had no connection with their region of origin. Extant Ming period foreign language handbooks amount to no more than word glossaries. These factors, combined with their lax training of only three years, make their language abilities suspect. See Lü Weiqi 呂維祺, Siyi guan zengding guanze 四夷館增訂館則, preface 13a--b, f.1:6a--b; f.2:2a--b; f.12:1a--2b, 14b.
7 e.g. documents 106204; 287678; 117451; 056317 of the Grand Secretariat Archives.
8 Yingcong Dai, "A Disguised Defeat: The Myanmar Campaign of the Qing Dynasty," Modern Asian Studies 38, no. 1 (February 1, 2004): 173--175. In where no official translator was available, an extensive process of translation had to take place in order to render the content, diction, and rhetoric in a way that fit how the Qing imagined itself, as was the case for an 1808 "memorial" from the British. Toyōka Yasufumi 豊岡康史, "Igirisugun Macao jōuriku jiken (1808 nen)ni miru Shindai chūki no taigai seisatsu kettai katei イギリス軍マカオ上陸事件(1808年)に見る清代中期の対外政策決定過程," Tōyō gakuhō 東洋學報 90, no. 3 (December 2008): 332--305. Note also the "outmaneuvering" of the Jiajing emperor by his own border officials in the border conflict of 1540 with the Vietnamese ruler Mạc Đăng Dung 莫登庸 (1483--1541). See Kathlene Baldanza, "The Ambiguous Border: Early Modern Sino-Viet Relations," 83--91.
9 Ye Quanhong, Mingdai qianqi Zhong Han guojiao, 84. Sixiang Wang, "The Sounds of Our Country: Interpreters, Linguistic Knowledge and the Politics of Language in Early Chosŏn Korea (1392--1592)," in Rethinking East Asian Languages, Vernaculars, and Literacies, 1000--1919, ed. Benjamin A. Elman (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2014), 62--63.
10 For discussions of controversies over titles in Tang exchanges with Japan see Wang Zhengping, Ambassadors from the Islands, 139--179, Tao Jing-shen's treatment of Song-Liao relations in Two Sons of Heaven: Studies in Sung-Liao Relations. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988). For the Japanese use of the Sinitic imperial, see Torquil Duthie, Man'yōshū and the Imperial Imagination in Early Japan.
11 JaHyun Kim Haboush, The Confucian Kingship in Korea : Yŏngjo and the Politics of Sagacity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 21--26.
12 Clark, "Sino-Korean tributary relations," 273. This and similar phrasings reflect a vantage point from the imperial center. Hevia, Cherishing Men from Afar, 50; Hae-jong Chun, "Sino-Korean Relations in the Ch'ing Period," in The Chinese World Order, 92--93.
13 T'aejo sillok f.1:54a [1392/08/23#2].
14 Chen Long 陳龍 and Shen Zaiquan [Sim Chae-gwŏn] 沈載權, "Chaoxian yu Ming Qing biaojian waijiao wenti yanjiu 朝鮮與明清表箋外交問題研究," Zhongguo bianjiang shidi yanjiu 20, no. 1 (2010): 61--68.
15 The Ming Taizu period case is discussed in Pak Wŏnho[hyo] 朴元熇, Myŏngch'o Chosŏn kwan'gyesa yŏn'gu, 5--27.
16 T'aejo sillok 14:5b [1398/05a/03#1].
17 Joshua John Van Lieu, "Divergent Visions of Serving the Great," chapter 2. Illocutionary statements work as follows in everyday speech. When a person is told by a colleague, "you look like a strong person" and "these boxes sure are heavy," she is very likely help the colleague move the boxes, even though no literal request was made. For definitions and discussions, see John Langshaw Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford University Press, 1975), 99--120; William P. Alston, Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning (Cornell University Press, 2000), 11--30.
18 Sŭngmunwŏn 承文院.
19 So named because of the pagoda tree's association with high officials working close to the king, the Kwewŏn tŭngnok (hereafter the KWTN) is one among many institutional archival compilations from the Chosŏn period. Even though the Veritable Records also included many (but not all) diplomatic memorials, its expansive scope and restricted access made it unwieldy and was thus consulted in rare cases. See KWTN f.1--2 for its memorials. Chosŏn archival records were extensive. Records more detailed that the above, however, do not survive from before the Imjin War. In the wake of the Japanese invasion, the Chosŏn court abandoned the capital city. When the city's angry denizens rose up to protest the court's departure, they looted the palace and set fire to the archives of many government offices to destroy slave registers. The ensuing urban unrest left the royal palaces, along with the city's libraries and extensive holdings, in smoldering ruins. See Sŏnjo sillok 26:7a [1592/04/14#28]. Diplomatic records after 1592, however, are mostly preserved and are far more extensive. See for example the Sadae mun'gwe (Document trail of Serving the Great 事大文軌) for later diplomacy with the Ming and the Tongmun hwi go (Collated Reference of Writing Unified 同文彙考).
20 Diplomatic memorials preserved in the official dynastic history, the Koryŏ History (Koryŏsa 高麗史, hereafter the KS) or included in the Abbreviated Summary of the Koryŏ History (Koryŏsa chŏryo 高麗史節要) are illustrative pieces of a court chronicle, relevant less for its textual or literary integrity, but for the political history it documented. Routine memorials, such as imperial birthday felicitations, were almost always omitted; on the other hand, documents written during moments of political tension were much more likely to be preserved. The Tongmunsŏn (hereafter, TMS) largely mitigates the problem. As a literary anthology first and foremost, the criterion for selection was more inclusive, including not only memorials with express political goals but also documents that appear to be routine and ritualized. The breadth and variety of his selections suggests that Sŏ Kŏjŏng had wanted to cull a representative group of documents that spanned the entire scope of this genre. Tongmunsŏn 東文選 (Kyŏnghŭi ch'ulp'ansa: Seoul, 1966).
21 For an overview of how diplomatic documents were organized in these sources, see Chŏng Tonghun, "Koryŏ-Myŏng oegyo munsŏ sŏsik," 149--152.
22 TMS Preface 2a--2b in v.1, p. 1: 非宋元之文 亦非漢唐之文 而乃我國之文也 宜與歷代之文 幷行於天地閒 胡可泯焉而無傳也哉.
23 The Literary Selections describes the biao 表 to be a medium that allows one "to speak forth and describe affairs and things, to make them clear and apparent in order to enlighten one's lord and accomplish the [duty] of loyalty," serving the purpose of exposition. Xiao Tong 蕭統,Wenxuan 文選, 6 vols. commentaries by Li Shan 李善 (Shanghai guji chuban she: 2005), v. 4, p. 1667. As for the jian 箋, E.D. Edwards describes it also as a letter or a written document, categorized as a kind of memorial, only less formal. E.D. Edwards, "A Classified Guide to the Thirteen Classes of Chinese Prose," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 12, no. 3/4 (1948), 774.
24 Chen Xuelin [Chan Hok-lam] 陳學林, Mingdai renwu yu chuanshuo 明代人物與傳說 (Hong Kong: Zhongwen daxue chubanshe, 1997), 1.
25 TMS f.31--33 in v.1, pp. 389--430.
26 TMS f.33:1b--2a in v.1, p. 428; TMS f.32:22a--b in v.1, p. 414.
27 Generally speaking, p'yomun nomenclature matched the taxonomy of envoy mission types employed by the Chosŏn court. For an overall list of the kinds of envoy missions Korea has sent, in addition to general characteristics of relations, see Chŏn Haejong 全海宗, "Han-Chung chogong gwan'gye kaeron---Han-Chung kwan'gyesa ŭi chogam ŭl wihayŏ--- 韓中朝貢關係概觀---韓中關係史의 鳥瞰을 위하여---," in Kodae Han-Chung kwan'gyesa ŭi yŏn'gu, ed. Han'guksa yŏn'gu hoe (Seoul: Samjiwŏn, 1987), 53--62.
28 One literary collection of an early Chosŏn divides the documents not simply according to their classical generic nomenclature, but rather their political functionality. They are listed either as "diplomatic memorials" (sadae p'yochŏn 事大表箋), including both p'yo and chŏn, or "memorials of our [country's] court" (ponjo chŏnmun 本朝表文), the former being memorials written on behalf of the Chosŏn state to the imperial court and the latter memorials written to Korea's own ruler. Fascicle 24 of the 1674 edition of the collected works of Kwŏn Kŭn 權近, the Yangch'onjip 陽村集 are divided in this manner, an organizational scheme repeated in other anthologies. Kwŏn's memorials in his collected works are all congratulatory memorials for events such as the investiture of the crown prince, the presentation of his own scholarship, the winter solstice, and his letter of resignation from office. See HMC v. 7:237a--244a.
29 This consistency is rhetorically possible because the title used for a Korean ruler, wang, was the same enjoyed by imperial princes. This positionality emerged during the Yuan period. Koryŏ kings, married to imperial princesses, were formally ranked in the Yuan ritual hierarchy as imperial kin, and one among the "various princes and consorts" (Ch: zhuwang fuma 諸王駙馬). The Chosŏn and the Ming ruling families never had direct kinship ties, but an institution of virtual kinship remained in force. The Ming conferred Chosŏn rulers with ritual emoluents usually reserved for princes of the blood (qinwang 親王). See Chŏng Tonghun 정동훈, "Myŏngdae ŭi yeje chilsŏ esŏ Chosŏn kukwang ŭi wisang 명대의 예제 질서에서 조선국왕의 위상," Yŏksa wa hyŏnsil no. 84 (June 2012): 251--92. See also the Yongle emperor's pronouncement in T'aejong sillok 3:11b [1402/2/26#1]: "Though [the] Chosŏn [kingship] was originally of the rank of a commandery prince (junwang) and should be granted robes of five or seven emblems.... Nevertheless, Chosŏn, despite being in a distant commandery, it is able to improve rites and morals on its own... and so I shall specially grant [its king] the robes of an imperial prince (qinwang) with nine emblems." 且朝鮮本郡王爵 宜賜以五章或七章服... 今朝鮮固遠郡也, 而能自進於禮義.... 玆特命賜以親王九章之服.
30 The language is reminiscent of the Zhou period fengjian model (封建), where local powers were de facto states that owed their allegiance to the Zhou overlord. The Ming maintained this rhetoric for its own so-called "feudal lords" (Ch: zhuhou 諸侯) and local princes (Ch: fanwang 藩王), but these emoluments were based on stipends and land grants, not independent fiefs. Chosŏn, however, was a state. The symbols of autonomy used here: people, ancestral shrines, and the altars to earth and grain, were the same used for Zhou period local lords. The kings of Chosŏn, however, unlike the Zhou local lords, were never placed in power by the Ming. The description then was always figurative, spoken in simile. Imagining the Chosŏn and the Ming relationship as a reenactment of the pre-Qin fengjian model was an important trope in the diplomatic discourse of the time. See Fairbank, The Chinese World Order, 7. See also Chapters 5 and 6 of this dissertation.
31 These documents celebrated important ritual occasions, such as the P'algwanhoe (八關會), or showed gratitude for ritual favors. The P'algwanhoe was a Buddhist religious celebration closely connected to expressions of Koryŏ royal sovereignty. These ceremonies had occurred in periods when Koryŏ rulers saw themselves as sovereign rulers of a localized "all-under-heaven" (ch'ŏnha) in Korea, unfettered by an imperial suzerain. These celebrations were abolished in 1392 when the Chosŏn dynasty began suppressing Buddhist institutions. See No Myŏngho 노명호, Koryŏ kukka wa chiptan ŭisik: chawi kongdongch'e, Samguk yumin, Samhan ilt'ong, Haedong ch'ŏnja ŭi ch'ŏnha 고려 국가 와 집단 의식: 자위 공동체, 삼국 유민, 삼한 일통, 해동 천자 의 천하 (Seoul: Sŏul taehakkyo ch'ulpan munhwawŏn, 2009).
32 This change likely occurred in 1301 when the Yuan demanded the Koryŏ alter the nomenclature of its institutions to avoid conflicting with those in use at the imperial court. See KS f.32:2a--2b [1301/04 己丑].
33 "Ha ch'in sa Taemyo chŏn" 賀親祀大廟箋, TMS f.32:21a--b in v.1, p. 414.
34 For example, in a memorial for an emperor, terms such as "supreme position" (立極) referred to the imperial throne. See "Chŏlil hap'yo" 節日賀表, TMS f.32:25a in v.1, p. 416.
35 Nylan, The "Five" Confucian Classics, 139--142.
36 "Kyŏnggido kwanch'alsa hat'anil chŏn" 京畿道觀察使賀誕日箋, TMS f.32:25b--26a in v.1, p. 416.
37 YS f.108, p. 4623: 又其大會 王曲蓋 龍扆 警蹕 諸臣舞蹈山呼 一如朝儀 僭擬過甚. These protests led to proposals to formally annex Koryŏ into the Yuan's direct administration, an act staved only by resounding protests by Koryŏ officials, along with a diplomatic memorial that appealed to earlier Yuan promises to preserve Koryŏ's autonomy. The Koryŏ had been military subjugated by the Mongol-Yuan dynasty and its rulers were also active participants in Yuan politics, a combination which made the Koryŏ more vulnerable to imperial intervention. See Ko Pyŏngik 高柄翊, Tonga kyosŏpsa ŭi yŏn'gu 東亞交涉史의研究 ([Seoul]: Sŏul taehakkyo ch'ulpan bu 서울大學校出版部, 1970), 200--216; KS 31:28b.
38 Chungjong sillok 6:7a [1508/05/16#6].
39 TMS Preface 1b--2a in v.1, p. 1: 當兩宋遼金搶攘之日 屢以文詞得紓國患 至元朝 由賓貢中制科 與中原才士 頡頏上下者...
40 The nature of this "archive" is very different from the colonial archive studied by other scholars of empire. Nonetheless, I take Ann Stoler's cue to attempt an "ethnographic" view on the archive, with the caveat being that it is an ethnography, not of imperial control, but of accommodation and appropriation. Ann Laura Stoler, Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009)., 46--49.
41 TMS f.41:1a-b in v.1 p. 530: 百濟上魏主請伐高勾麗表 It is possible that this memorial was not an actual, historical ones, but mock memorials written as literary exercises. Another "Paekche" memorial, for example, was attributed to Ch'oe Chiwŏn. The inclusion of mock memorials further demonstrates the use of these texts as literary models, not historical documents. See TMS f.39:1b--3a in v.1 p. 500:百濟遣使朝北魏表.
42 TMS f.39:1a--b in v.1 p. 500: 新羅上唐高宗皇帝陳情表. The memorial poses as a mea culpa, but instead exhorts the emperor to recognize the sincerity of the Silla monarch, while laying blame its rival, the Paekche ruler.
43 The transmission of cultural practices therefore did not result from proselytizing efforts by imperial agents, but was an outcome selective of appropriation of the many individuals who sojourned west to China during this period. They brought back east the cultural technologies they found most valuable, whether it be Confucian statecraft, literary culture, or Buddhist teachings. For Buddhist examples, see essays in Robert E. Buswell, ed., Currents and Countercurrents : Korean Influences on the East Asian Buddhist Traditions (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005).
44 During his time at the Tang court he famously wrote an exhortation letter to rally Tang forces against the roving rebels led by Huang Chao rebellions. Hong Sŏkchu 洪奭周 (1774--1842), "Preface to the Redacted and Printed Kyewŏn p'ilgyŏng chip" 校印桂苑筆耕集序, 1 in Ch'oe Ch'iwŏn 崔致遠 Guiyuan bigeng ji [Kyewŏn p'ilgyŏng chip] jiaozhu 桂苑筆耕集校注, ed. Dang Yinping 党銀平 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2007). For his writings in the Tang, see Kyewŏn p'ilgyŏng chip f.1:2, 5--6, 9, 11--12, 14, 20 etc in Guiyuan bigeng ji jiaozhu; See also TMS f.31:1a--11a in v.1, pp. 389--394.
45 Joohang Javier Cha, "The Civilizing Project in Medieval Korea: Neo-Classicism, Nativism, and Figurations of Power" (PhD, Harvard University, 2014), 58; see also HMC 1:158d. Ch'oe thus played a foundational role in transmitting Tang court literary practice to Silla.
46 See 新羅賀正表 TMS f.31:10b--11a in v.1, pp. 393--394.; Ch'oe Ch'iwŏn 崔致遠, Koun sŏnsaeng munjip 孤雲先生文集 f.1 in HMC v.1:153b--c.
47 Even as four-six parallel prose was relegated to highly formal ritual uses, it retained its place in diplomatic practice.
48 Gungwu Wang, "The Rhetoric of a Lesser Empire: Early Sung Relations with Its Neighbors," in China among Equals: The Middle Kingdom and Its Neighbors, 10th-14th Centuries, ed. Morris Rossabi (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 47--63, esp. pp. 47--50, 55; Hok-lam Chan, Legitimation in Imperial China, 37--38, 81, 103--107.
49 Gungwu Wang, "The Rhetoric of a Lesser Empire," 53; Michael C. Rogers, "National Consciousness in Medieval Korea: The Impact of Liao and Chin on Koryŏ," in China among Equals, 151--72, esp. p. 166.
50 Koryŏ and Song merchants maintained commercial ties during the Southern Song, but Koryŏ dispatched evnoys only to the Jurchen Jin. For an overview, see Kim Wihyŏn 金渭顯, Koryŏ sidae taeoe kwan'gyesa yŏn'gu 高麗時代對外關係史硏究 (Seoul: Kyŏng'in munhwasa, 2004).
51 The Yuan court saw itself primarily as successors to the Liao and Jin, and not the Song, thanks to the involvement of former Jin literati. See Chan, Hok-lam, "Wang O (1190--1273)," Papers on Far Eastern History 12 (September 1975): 43--70.
52 Michael C. Rogers, "Notes on Koryŏ's Relations with Sung and Liao," Chindan Hakpo 12 (1991): 310--35; see for example the records of Huizong envoy, Xu Jing 徐兢, the Xuanhe fengshi Gaoli tujing 宣和奉使高麗圖經, Congshu jicheng chu bian 叢書集成初編 3236--3239 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshu guan, 1937).
53 Ch. boxue hongci 博學宏詞.
54 Similar examinations had taken place in 1095 to celebrate an arrival of a Koryŏ tribute embassy and in 1100 to commemorate the imperial bestowal of the Taiping yulan 太平御覽. In both cases, the candidates were asked to write mock memorials on behalf of the Koryŏ king. See Xu Song 徐松, Song huiyao jigao 宋會要輯稿, Xuanju 選舉 f.12; p.3 [Xuanju 12/ Zhike 3/ Hongci/ Zhezhong/ Shaoxing 2]; p. 5 [Xuanju 12/ Zhike 3/ Hongci / Huizong / Yuanfu 3]; p.8 [Xuanju 12/ Zhike 3/ Hongci/ Huizong/ Zhenghe 4].
55 Wang Yingling, Cixue zhinan 詞學指南 in Yuhai 玉海 f.948, p.203. SKQS; Chang Tong'ik 張東翼 Songdae Yŏsa charyo chimnok 宋代麗史資料集錄 (Seoul: Sŏul Taehakkyo ch'up'anbu 2000), 533.
56 起頭若如弟二人 止說寵逮遠邦之語 則弱而無力 故用此意 而擇語言換轉 十行賜札 萬里同文是也 才讀此兩句 便見大體.
57 先說遠夷不足以知雅樂 而後敘作樂之盛 受賜之寵 凡四夷受賜表 皆可倣此.
58 Wang concludes with the following: "The aphoristic phrases in this memorial all make use of classical allusions. Moreover, these allusions are beautiful, and in general, as long as is for an exam on writing using four-six style, one should have one or two couplets like these, so that it would be easy to read." 此表警句 全用經句 而復典麗大凡詞科四六 須間有此一兩聯 則易入人眼
59 The Dashengyue, a part of the classical revival undertaken in his early reign. Its revival in the Song court and its promulgation to Koryŏ fit squarely within Emperor Huizong's self-construction as a sagely ruler. The irony of course, was that, with the Northern Song's demise at the hands of the Jurchen Jin, the Dashengyue became a symbol of imperial excess and dynastic decline. albeit one that was fated to be abortive. For a full discussion of the Dashengyue, see Joseph S.C. Lam, "Huizong's Dashengyue, a Musical Performance of Emperorship and Officialdom," eds. Patricia Buckley Ebrey and Maggie Bickford, Emperor Huizong and Late Northern Song China : The Politics of Culture and the Culture of Politics, Harvard East Asian Monographs (Harvard University Asia Center : Distributed by Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 2006), 395--452." For irredentism and imperial prestige in Huizong's reign, see in the same volume, Paul Jakov Smith, "Irredentism as Political Capital : The New Policies and the Annexation of Tibetan Domains in Hehuang (the Qinghai-Gansu Highlands) under Shenzong and His Sons, 1068-1126," 78--130.
60 KS 14:14a--15b [1116/06 乙丑].
61 Michael C. Rogers, "Notes on Koryŏ's Relations with Sung and Liao," pp. 334--335 for the Dashengyue.
62 Both The Xianchi (Kr: hamchi 咸池) and the Daxia (Kr: taeha 大夏) were the perfect music of Sage Rulers of antiquity. See the "Musical Records" 樂記 section of the Book of Rites 禮記.
63 The songs of the states of Zheng and Wei have become synonymous with corrupt music. For example, we have the following appraisals from Confucius in the Analects 論語. Confucius said, "Give up the sounds of Zheng and stay away from bad people. The sounds of Zheng are corrupt, and bad people are dangerous." 放鄭,遠佞人 鄭聲淫佞人殆. He also stated, "I disdain that the sounds of Zheng have brought chaos to the elegant (ya) music." Analects 15.10; 17.8.
64 The Yellow Bell (huangzhong/hwangchung 黃鐘) provided the scale for perfect pitch and harmony.
65 "Memorial giving thanks to the bestowal of new music" 謝賜新樂表, see TMS v. 34.13b-14a; 437b-437a: 臣聞軒造咸池 禹成大夏 乃以身而爲度 仍鑄鼎以審音 在周以前 皆因此法 自漢而下 卽失其傳 鄭衛以興 風雅久絶 諸儒不能擬議 歷世不能發揮 道非虛行 理若有待 恭惟皇帝陛下 惟睿作聖 自誠而明 採隱士之獻言 斥其秬黍之惑 稽先王之遺法 得乃黃鍾之均 文之以五聲 播之以八器 薦之郊廟而衆神格 奏於朝廷而庶尹諧 以明一代之成功 以起千古之墜典.
66 TMS v. 34.13b-14a; 437b-437a: 制鏞磬之遺響 用塤箎之正音 命彼敎坊 勤資按習 參之大晟 乃至和平 與天地以同流 傳之百世 爲君臣之相悅.
67 See the following sections of the Mencius: Jingxing 1 盡心上 and Liang Huiwang 2 梁惠王下.
68 "Dayu mo"大禹謨 Shangshu zhushu 尚書註疏 f.4:52b in Shisanjing zhushu: 班師振旅 帝乃誕敷文德 舞干羽于兩階 七旬有苗格.
69 Huizong's edict regarding the Dashengyue is reproduced in Lam, "Huizong's Dashengyue," 432--433.
70 Sŏ Kŏ-jŏng 徐居正. P'irwŏn chapki 筆苑雜記 v.1, collected in the Taedong yasŭng 大東野乘 [Hereafter the TDYS], f.3, v.1:670. The memorial in question was written by Ch'oe Posun (崔甫淳 1162-1229) for the accession of the Jin emperor Wanyan Yongji 完顏永濟 (r. Prince of Weishao 衛紹王 1208--1213). See KSCY f.14 Hŭijong 5 [1209/03].
71 Yuan dianzhang 元典章 f.28:4a--5a. Koryŏ kings, as husbands of Yuan princesses, were treated as imperial princes in the Yuan.
72 Although some scholars find these stories of Ming literary inquisition to be later exaggerations based on unofficial histories rooted in rumor and mythology, the experience of the Chosŏn court in this matter suggests otherwise.The source usually cited for these literary purges is the essay "Ming chu wenzi zhi huo" 明初文字之禍 by the Qing scholar Zhao Yi 趙翼 (1727--1814) in his Ershier shi zhaji (See f.32). Hok-lam Chan faults Zhao, "a reputable historian," of being "misled by vulgar hearsay and flimsy allegations" in what he considered unreliable unofficial histories written in the late Ming. While Ming Taizu had tried to enforce literary style, the bloodshed around these events is exaggerated. Chan, however, neglects and misreads the Korean evidence surrounding the affair. His conclusion that Korean envoys were merely reprimanded not did not face capital punishment (極刑) is based on exclusive use of the Ming Veritable Records, a risky scholarly practice. Chosŏn sources present a very different picture. At least three Korean envoys were executed in connection with this affair and about a dozen others extradited and detained in the Ming court. Furthermore, Chan's claim that "Taizu did not in fact forbid words of sound, as shown in his edicts promulgating the rules of taboo avoidance," is directly contradicted by the fact that Korean memorial writers were explicitly accused of using homophones for insulting puns. See Hok-lam Chan [Chen Xuelin], Mingdai renwu yu chuanshuo, 2--3, 5, 5n12, 13--21; For Chan's reading of the Korean evidence, see 12, 12n26; see also Hok-lam Chan and Laurie Dennis, "Frenzied Fictions: Popular Beliefs and Political Propaganda in the Written History of Ming Taizu" in Sarah Schneewind eds., Long Live the Emperor! : Uses of the Ming Founder across Six Centuries of East Asian History, Ming Studies Research Series. (Society for Ming Studies: Minneapolis, 2008), 15--33, esp. pp. 27--31. For discussions of this incident in Korean, see Pak Wŏnhyo, Myŏngch'o Chosŏn kwan'gyesa yŏn'gu, 5-61; Kim Sunja, Han'guk chungse Han-Chung kwan'gyesa, 17, 164-170.
73 T'aejo sillok 5:6a [1394/02/19#1]; 9:2a [1396/02/09#1]; 10:1b [1396/07/19#1]. For the detainment, exile and execution of Korean envoys, see 9:2a [1396/02/15#1]; 9:4a [1396/03/29#3]; 10:7b [1396/11/06#1]; 11:9b [1397/04/14#1]; 12:8b [1397/11/30#2]; 14:2b [1398/05/14]. Many of those detained were never repatriated, though in 1402, it was reported that one envoy thought to have been executed had in fact been exiled to Yunnan and was living peaceably there. See T'aejong sillok 4:18a [1402/10/16#2]. Chosŏn envoys managed to secure the return of some in 1404. See T'aejong sillok 7:11a [1404/03/27#1].
74 T'aejo sillok 9:9b [1396/06/14#1]; 12:9b [1397/12/18#1]. This incident will be discussed in detail in a manuscript in progress, Sixiang Wang, "Literary Authority and Chosŏn-Ming Diplomacy: The Memorial Incident of 1396."
75 There are of course other famous examples of literary inquisition in imperial history, but seldom did they extend to Korea. The Qing Qianlong emperor enacted a literary inquisition to weed out potential (and imagined) Ming sympathizers. Even though this inquisition never extended to Korea, he did scrutinize Korean memorials and protested the Chosŏn court's continued usage of Ming reign titles when he discovered them on the identity plaques of shipwrecked Koreans. See, R. Kent Guy, The Emperor's Four Treasuries: Scholars and the State in the Late Chʻien-Lung Era (Harvard Univ Asia Center, 1987), 157--200; JaHyun Kim Haboush, "Contesting Chinese Time, Nationalizing Temporal Space: Temporal Inscription in Late Chosŏn Korea," in Time, Temporality and Imperial Transition: East Asia Form Ming to Qing, Asian Interactions and Comparisons (Honolulu; Ann Arbor Mich.: University of Hawaii Press; Association for Asian Studies, 2005), 132.
76 T'aejong sillok 20:33a [1410/10/23#1].
77 Ŏ and Lee, A Korean Storyteller's Miscellany, 84; P'aegwan chapki f.1 in TDYS f.4, v.1:732; for the memorial in question, see the collected works of the author, Kim An'guk 金安國 (1478--1543), the Mojae sŏnsaeng jip 慕齋先生集 f.9, in HMC v.20:162d--163a. For a discussion of this affair, see Chapter 3.
78 Li Guangtao 李光濤, "Ji Chaoxian guo 'Ci zhi wu zi' de biaowen 記朝鮮國「此紙無字」的表文," Zhongyan yanjiuyuan yuankan 中央研究院院刊 3 (1956): 207--13. When they come to the center of scholarly attention, it is usually in the context of how they were implicated in political controversies, such as the memorial incident of 1396 mentioned above.
79 No anthology of premodern Korean literature to my knowledge includes this genre. The only exception is Epistolary Korea.
80 For Ming ritual regulations, see the Libu zhigao 禮部志稿 f.59:15b--16b; 64:36a. Specific provisions were made for memorials from foreign kingdoms like Korea, Vietnam, the Ryūkyūs and Siam.
81 Chungjong sillok f.100:23a [1543/01/28#1].
82 Needless to say, these acts were not "mere ritual." See Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 2--3; 298--300; Catherine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (Oxford University Press, USA, 2009), 147--148. For the notion of performativity, see John Langshaw Austin, Philosophical Papers (Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1979), 233--252. My gratitude to Theodore Hughes for this insight.
83 Later compilers of literary collections of individual authors (munjip 文集) likely benefited from attributions in the TMS and KWTN. These literary collections sometimes postdating the composition of these documents by centuries, included official correspondence as personal writings. For example, Kim Ku's literary collection, the Chip'o chip was first compiled only in the 19th century. It drew extensively from the TMS and included diplomatic memorials ascribed to Kim.
84 For instance, Yi Kok and his son Yi Saek not only passed the munkwa exams in Korea, but became degree holders in the Yuan as well. Yi Kok had passed the regional examinations in 1333, while Yi Saek had participated and passed the metropolitan exams in Dadu in 1354. Yi Saek soon returned to Koryŏ and served as a preceptor in the Royal Academy. Yi Sung'in was his disciple, who passed Koryŏ civil service exams as its optimus (changwŏn 狀元). Chŏng Tojŏn and Kwŏn Kŭn, both important figures in the founding of the Chosŏn dynasty, were also Yi Saek's disciples. By the early Chosŏn, many memorial writers enjoyed the position of literary adjudicator (munhyŏng 文衡), an informal designation for a civil officials who concomitantly held the highest positions in the Hall of Assembled Worthies (集賢殿), Office of Special Counselors (弘文館), and the Office of Literary Arts (藝文館). During this period, they emerged from a narrow court elite, bound together by kinship and scholarly community. The literary adjudicators after Kwŏn Kŭn included his disciple Pyŏn Kyeryang, his grandson Sŏ Kŏjŏng and his granddaughter's husband Ch'oe Hang. For a discussion of munhyŏng in early Chosŏn see Kim Hyŏngcha 金亨姿, "Chosŏn sigi munhyŏng yŏn'gu" 朝鮮時期文衡硏究, Yŏksa wa hyŏn'sil 17·18 (January 2000): 77--102.
85 See Kyŏngguk taejŏn 經國大典 f.3:32a (禮部-事大); Kosa ch'waryo 攷事撮要 (Asami version) f.3:2a--3a.
86 For example, P'yŏn Kyeryang's collected works included an undated diplomatic memorial that matches in rhetoric and form a memorial sent in 1420, recorded in the Vertiable Records. The two, however, differ significantly in diction, in which individual phrases and character combinations were shifted around or replaced in the final version without significant alteration in meaning. Pyŏn may have drafted the version in his collected works (a later compilation), but it was only deemed acceptable after revision and polishing. See Pyŏn Kyeryang, Ch'unjŏng sŏnsaeng munjip 春亭先生文集, f.9 in HMC v.8:119d--120a; Sejong sillok f.8:4b--5a [1420/04/15#1].
87 T'aejo sillok f.9:9a [1396/06/11#1]; f.10:1b [1396/07/19#1]; f.14:2b [1398/05/14#2]; f.14:5b [1398/05a/03#1].
88 Sejo sillok f.39:30b [1466/08/11#3].
89 Li Guangtao 李光濤, "Ji Chaoxian guo 'Ci zhi wu zi' de biaowen," 207--13.
90 T'aejong sillok f.29:36b [1415/06/04#1]. By the Jiajing reign, Korean memorial paper came to be quite valued. Later the Ming painter and calligrapher Dong Qichang 董其昌 took a special liking for Korean memorial paper. He evidently purloined memorials of this sort stored in the imperial archives, and after washing off the ink bearing these royal missives, he used them for his own artwork. The red cinnabar-based oils used for seal imprints, however, were not water soluble. For this reason, several of Dong Qichang's works still bear the mark of the Chosŏn king, though the original writing is barely visible. There are few examples of Ming period memorials extant. Some Ming examples are contained in the 翰林 archives, though many Korean memorials remain from the Qing. For imperial interest in Korean paper, see Chungjong sillok f.100:62b [1543/05/08#1]; f.100:73a [1543/06/10#4]; Myŏngjong sillok f.4:72a [1546/11/09#4]. Yun Insu 尹仁洙, "Myŏngdae Tong Kich'ang [Dong Qichang] ŭi Chosŏn p'yŏchŏn chamunchi sayong sarye yŏn'gu 明代 董其昌의 朝鮮 表箋·咨文紙 使用 實例 硏究," Minjok munhwa, no. 36 (January 2011): 273--301. For an example see Dong Qichang 董其昌, River and Mountains on a Clear Day 江山秋霽圖, handscroll, ink on Korean paper, 1627--1624, The Cleveland Museum of Art.
91 Cases were to be 8.8 ch'on by 3.1 ch'on by 2.9 ch'on. Kosa ch'waryo (Asami version) f.3:4a--5a.
92 Ensuring that foreign ambassadors were indeed dispatched by the rulers they claimed to represent was a perennial problem for the Ming. The Ming used a tally (符勅) and matching-seal (勘合) system to address this issue. It expected foreign ambassadors to bring the tallies they bequeathed to their rulers to prove their status as official envoys. The consistent ritual practices of the Chosŏn court obviated the use of the tally system and took its place as a way to ensure authenticity. Chŏng Tonghun 鄭東勳, "Myŏngdae chŏn'gi oegyo sachŏl ŭi sinpun chŏngmyŏng pangsik kwa kukkagan ch'egye 明代前期 外國使節의 身分證明 方式과 國家間 體系," Myŏng Chŏng sa yŏn'gu 10 (October 2013): 1--34, p. 23.
93 See Chungjong sillok f.99:63b [1542/11/18#1]; Kim Anguk, Mojae sŏnsaeng chip f.9 in HMC v.20:162d.
94 For an overview of the Koryŏ-Mongol wars, see William E. Henthorn, Korea: The Mongol Invasions (Leiden,: E.J. Brill, 1963); Gari Ledyard, "Early Koryŏ-Mongol Relations with Particular Reference to the Diplomatic Documents" (MA Thesis, University of California., 1963).
95 See KS f.23:26a--b [1233/03]; Yi Kyubo, "Sang Tae Kŭm hwangche kigŏ p'yo" 上大金皇帝起居表, Tongguk Yi Sangguk chip f.28:23a--23b in HMC v.1:593a--593c; TMS f.39:16b--17b in v.1, pp.512--513: ....及上朝之撫綏 泰然無患 久荷太平之化 切輸樂率之誠 豈圖獷俗之猖狂 反致祌州之遷徙 始而懵若....益慕大邦之恩愛 每對賜書之堆積 不堪隕涕之滂沱.
96 諒直之懷 披露迺已 中謝 伏念臣邈居荒服 叨據蔽藩 自惟僻陋之小邦 須必庇依於大國 矧我應期之聖 方以寬臨 其於守土之臣 敢不誠服.
97 豈謂事難取必 信或見疑 反煩君父之譴訶 屢降軍師而徵詰.
98 See Yi Kyubo, Tongguk Yi sangguk chŏnjip f.28:25b--26b in HMC v.1:594a--b; and TMS f.39:25b--25a, pp. 512a--b.
99 Mongol suspicions were likely rooted an awareness of the strategic use of such rhetoric. Although this diplomatic memorial was addressed the the Mongol emperor, the true audience for its appeal was not the illiterate Mongol ruler Ogodei, but the former Jin minister Yelü Chucai who had managed the newly conquered lands of northern China for his Mongol overlords. Yelü had obliquely voiced his suspicions over the sincerity of Koryŏ's professed surrender to its envoys. Perhaps more so than any other member of the Mongol court, Yelü was cognizant of Koryŏ's diplomatic strategy, given Koryŏ's history of interaction with the Jin court he once served. This instance would not be the only, or the last, where seeming ease with how Koreans seemed to shift their loyalties from one imperial claimant to another became a source of distrust. Yelü entreated the Koryŏ to demonstrate the sincerity of their submission. See Zhanran jushi ji 湛然居士集, f.7:14a--b in SKQS. The Manchu emperor Hong Taiji expressed his doubts about the sincerity of Chosŏn's submission to him in 1640 because of Korea's history of its "inconstant double-crossing" (反覆不常) in its dealings with the Liao, Jin and Yuan courts. Injo sillok f.40:18b [1640/03/25#2].
100 In addition to uncertain Mongol support, Koryŏ's military officials who once controlled the kingdom remained wary of close relations between Mongols and the Koryŏ kingship. They ousted Wŏnjong and placed their own ruler on the throne in 1269, but the Khubilai again restored Wŏnjong to power. See Yi Myŏngmi 李命美, "Koryŏ-Mongol kwan'gye wa Koryŏ kukwang uisang ŭi pyŏnhwa," 18--58; For Wŏnjong's surrender see Sixiang Wang, "What Tang Taizong Could Not Do: The Koryŏ Surrender of 1259 and the Imperial Tradition in East Asia," Manuscript in progress.
101 Kim Ku, Chip'o chip f.2, in HMC f.2:338d--339d.
102 罔極感藏之淪髓 襟袖將腐 涕洟未乾.
103 非至仁之專恃 則安敢如歸於父母.
104 雖小國而親朝 則尙能助顯於聖明.
105 Shijing, Lesser Odes, Decade of the Calling Deer, Calling Deer. David Legge's Translation. Shijing 315--317 in SSJZS: 呦呦鹿鳴 食野之苹 我有嘉賓 鼓瑟吹笙 吹笙鼓簧 承筐是將 人之好我 示我周行.
106 William E. Henthorn, Korea: The Mongol Invasions, 70.
107 See Herbert Franke, "From Tribal Chieftain to Universal Emperor and God: the Legitimation of the Yuan Dynasty," 16-17. The Koryŏ court's active role in constructing this mode of legitimacy can be seen elsewhere. The Koryŏ also submitted memorials of congratulations when Kublai defeated his younger brother Ariq Böke. Brought to Kublai by Wŏnjong's own son, the Crown Prince Wang Shim, the letter opens, "The Sage's victory has just been announced, and within the Four Seas, who is not in celebration? Imperial Beneficence has now come full, and it is the Three Hans (i.e. Koryŏ) that is in greatest celebration." The letter then compared the accomplishment to the Sage King Yao's defeat of the Miao and King Xuan of Zhou's righteous war against rebelling barons. A Mongol civil war had thus be recast as a Chinese monarch suppressing barbarians and rebels. KS f.25:21b--22a [1261/04/己酉].
108 KWTN f.1:1b, 永守藩於東海 恒祝壽於南山; or, for example v1:3a, "... a foundation for a great peace of a myriad generations" 以基萬世之太平.
109 When the Jurchen Jin destroyed the Liao, it quickly resumed relations with Koryŏ according to the "old precedents of the Liao." Whereas the Jurchens proactively sought to inherit Liao institutions, the Mongols did not seek to revive Jin ones until well after the Jin's destruction. See KS f.15:19a--b [1126/09--10].
110 TMS f.32, f.62; the documents in his collected works are drawn from either the TMS or the KS. Whenever Wang E read these memorials, it was said that he "he would sigh and lament that he could not see [Kim Ku] in person" (每見表詞必稱美恨不得見其面). See Kim Ku's biography in in KS 106:14a.
111 Xiao Qiqing 蕭啟慶, *Nei Beiguo er wai Zhongguo: Meng-Yuan shi yanjiu *(Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2007), 125--131; for examples see Kim Ku's letters to Khubilai's officials in Chip'o chip 止浦集 f.3 in HMC v.2:361d--362a; 326b.
112 The term aobian (Kr: obyŏn 鼇抃), literally "a turtle's clap [that can move mountains]" is a metaphor for sincere joy. See Chip'o chip 止浦集 f.2 in HMC v.2:332c; TMS f.32; KS f.25:13b--14a [1260/04/丙寅]. 千齡啓旦 如日之升 四海爲家 受天之祜 統臨所洎 欣戴悉均 恭惟聖烈丕承 神謀果斷 修文偃革 舞干羽于兩階 發政施仁 湊梯航於萬國 惟新景命 益擁洪休 伏念臣祇襲藩封 阻詣蟹朝之列 向緣庭覲 倍翰鼇抃之誠.
113 "Dayu mo"大禹謨 Shangshu zhushu 尚書註疏 f.4:52b in SSJZS.
114 許還千里 多般慰諭 敻倍尋常 故無而旋歸 而曷勝於感戴 纔及弊封之戾止 又加明訓而榮之 Kim Ku, Chip'o chip f.2 in HMC v.2:333a--333d; TMS f.32. There are considerable textual differences between the version in Kim Ku's anthology and the letter as it is recorded in the Koryŏ History. There is no definitive way to determine which version was actually sent to the Mongol court. Although the text differs considerably, the content and rhetorical mode do not different significantly. What is more interesting is that Khubilai's edicts are quoted rather differently as well. This may be because his orders were transmitted orally, since no complete version of the original seems to exist. If indeed it was an oral edict, the Koryŏ court's use of citation becomes even more significant. The use of writing here then fixes the imperial will to a particular interpretation of Khubilai's orders, when that could be deployed later on for Koryŏ's benefit.
115 See KS 25:14a--16a: 其詔云 完復舊疆永爲東藩 祗膺聖旦之推恩繼襲先人之守土 The TMS and HMC cite the edict differently, "Return to your country and establish governance and eternally be our eastern vassal." Receiving your inspired grace, we are only moved with fear. I observe the duty of imperial audience [i.e. coming to court] and hold fast to the decorum of one charged with a realm." 歸國立政 永爲東藩 祇荷恩靈 但增感悚 當效覲王之度 恪守任土之儀.
116 而詔書又云 亟正疆界 以定民心 我師不復踰垠矣 大號之出至仁可知一函綸綍之俄傳滿國涕洟之俱墮. The TMS version differs somewhat: "Thus spoke the Sagely and Brilliant, moving even trees and stones. This can only be cause for celebration and a matter of fortune for Korea" 大號一出 我不食言 則聖明此言 木石猶感 奚啻三韓之慶幸.
117 KS version: 自小臣緜及於後孫以死爲報... 臣謹當山海寧變恒輸任土之虔.
118 Yi Ikchu [Lee Ik Joo] 이익주, "Koryŏ, Wŏn kwan'gye ŭi kujo e taehan yŏn'gu- sowi 'Sejo kuje' ŭi punsŏk ŭl chungsim ŭro" 고려 , 원관계의 구조에 대한 연구 - 소위 ' 세조구제 ' 의 분석을 중심으로 -, Han'guk saron 36 (1996): 1--51.
119 These issues are discussed further in chapter 2.
120 For question of Song lunation, see Wang Yun 王惲, "Zhongtang shiji" 中堂事記 in Qiujian ji 秋澗集 f.82:4b--6b; Ming loyalist lamentations, see Qian Qianyi 錢謙益, Qian Muzhai youxue ji 牧齋有學集 v.46, 1527--1528; Qing discovery of the Korean use of the Ming calendar, see JaHyun Kim Haboush, "Contesting Chinese Time," 115--41, esp. p. 132.
121 See Sok tongmunsŏn 續東文選, Asami 40.6, v.6, f.11:31a--31b; 32a--33a.
122 Pak Hyŏnsun [Park Hyun Soon] 박현순, "Chosŏn hugi munkwa e nat'anan Kyŏnghyang kanŭi p'ulgyunhyŏng munje kŏmt'o 조선후기 文科에 나타난 京鄕 간의 불균형 문제 검토," Han'guk munhwa 58 (June 2012): 3--37, esp. pp. 14--24.
123 Kim Chinam, T'ongmungwan chi 通文館志 (Kyujanggak charyo ch'ongsŏ edition) v.1, p. 112--118 [f.3:14b--17b]. Extant Vietnamese and Ryukyuan memorials from do not follow this template. See documents no. 108160, no. 112527, no. 107254 in the Grand Secretariat Archives.
124 Li Shanhong 李善洪, "Qing chu Chaoxian biaojian wenti yanjiu 清初朝鮮表箋問題研究," Beihua daxue xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 11, no. 1 (February 2010): 88--91. For Korean denial of Qing legitimacy and perception of the Qing as "barbarian," see Sun Weiguo, Da Ming qihao. For a discussion of the term yi 夷 and the controversies surrounding it during the Qing, see Liu, The Clash of Empires, 31--107.
125 Chen Long and Shen Zaiquan "Chaoxian yu Ming Qing biaojian," 61--68.