In Late Chosŏn, touring mountain locales, and penning travelogues of such journeys, came into vogue among sajok (Confucian literati elite). But by the Late Chosŏn period, mountains were also one of the few places where Buddhism and shamanism could survive, thus the Confucian sajok foray into mountains naturally resulted in a cultural collision between the forces of Confucianism on the one hand, and Buddhism and shamanism (musok) on the other. This project on the part of sajok to “Confucianize” mountain space took three strategic approaches: the critique of traditional beliefs embodied in mountains; the injection of Confucian interpretations into mountain narratives; and the reclamation of mountains as something fundamentally Confucian. Ultimately, however, the project of Confucianizing mountain space came face to face with its limits as the authority and cohesiveness necessary for completing the Confucianization of mountain space eroded even as deep-rooted Buddhist and shamanist traditions prevailed. Nevertheless, the attempted Confucianization of mountain space, as expressed in the process of travel writing, place-name changing, and the establishment of noted sŏwŏn by Confucian scholars, has significance in the study of changes in the religious environment of Late Chosŏn, while highlighting the aspect of mountain space as an arena for competing intellectual and religious discourses.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 119-143
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.