Hamhŭng Pon’gung was the house in Hamhŭng that Yi Sŏnggye inhabited prior to founding the Chosŏn dynasty. After assuming the kingship, Yi Sŏnggye posthumously crowned his direct patrilineal ancestors going back four generations. In addition to enshrining their spirit tablets at the Chongmyo (Royal Ancestral Shrine) for official rites, he also had their tablets installed at Hamhŭng Pon’gung. After Yi Sŏnggye’s own death the tablets of him and his first wife were added to the altar at Hamhŭng Pon’gung, making it a shrine for five generations of kings and queens. Initially a source of great controversy and nearly abolished, the rites at Hamhŭng Pon’gung ultimately gained official acceptance during the reign of King Chŏngjo (r. 1776–1800), though they continued to be omitted from the sajŏn 祀典 (state register of sacrifices). This paper discusses the history of the Hamhŭng Pon’gung rites and examines the process through which a non-Confucian royal rite was transformed into an official state rite. In so doing, it also highlights the way in which autochthonous religious rites in Korea that predated the transmission of Confucianism were marginalized or altered by Confucianism. Additionally, it illustrates the process through which unofficial royal rites unconnected to official state events were transformed into official rites of the state. It concludes with a discussion of the dual character of royal rites that preserved both Confucian and autochthonous beliefs and combined the public with the private.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 89-118
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.