S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.57/60(2012)
조선 후기 취미생활과 문화현상
Hobby life and cultural phenomena in the laterperiod of the Chosŏn Dynasty
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.60, pp. 65-96
- 趣味; 소비문화; 壽石趣味; 書畵骨董; 花卉趣味; consumer culture; rock appreciation; calligraphic works and paintings and antiques; floricultural hobby; hobbies
- This essay explores the ways that various hobbies were enjoyed during the later period of the Chosŏn Dynasty. Hobbies are not merely related to individual tastes; more importantly, they also demonstrate the contemporary cultural trends. While gaining and losing popularity under the influence of fashion and trends of consumption, various hobbies were reflected in literary works and paintings. Escaping from the ascetic culture fostered by Neo-Confucianism where the pursuit of pleasure was deemed undesirable, appreciation of diverse kinds of tasteful hobbies was regarded as cultural qualification for the literati elite. Thus, attitudes towards hobbies were drastically changed. That is, hobbies were no longer regarded as an obstacle to fulfilling the duties of members of the ruling elite; on the contrary, it was considered that their duties would not be performed successfully without refined appreciation of hobbies. Hobbies were promoted by the consumer culture of the urban wealthy class who started to spend money on high-quality items, and they were also influenced by the extravagant consumer culture of the late Ming China. The popularity of short essays contributed to spreading a positive viewpoint on consumption and hobbies. People were widely interested in traditional calligraphic works, paintings, antiques, and stationery items; in addition, they developed a new kind of hobbies, including gardening and keeping pets such as pigeons and goldfish. Especially, as seen from the popularity of collecting and appreciating unusual and beautiful rocks, quite a few hobbies gained considerable popularity in this period. The phenomenon of enjoying various hobbies provides a valuable perspective for understanding social and cultural changes during the later period of the Chosŏn Dynasty.