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작성자 yunice
작성일 2015-05-04 (월) 10:36
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윤창구가 영어로 쓴 해평 윤씨 이야기A CLAN STORY
윤창구가 영어로 쓴 해평 윤씨 이야기
A CLAN STORY

“Prince of Haepyong a true gentleman,
Who served the kings of Korea,
Is buried here for eternity.
Having produced marshals and premieres,
His clan carries on, counting
Blessing tha’s no flattery.”

The concluding paragraphs of Yun Ji-pyos epitaph composed by Lee Sack(1383)”                                                 

牧隱 李穡이 쓴 忠簡公 尹之彪 墓誌銘

(해평의 윤씨가 / 海平之尹
고려왕과 원나라 왕을 도우니 / 左右高元
군자의 은택으로 / 君子之澤
흐르는 경사가 끊임이 없도다 / 流慶源源
원수공이 / 惟元帥公
우뚝히 시중이 되었고 / 蔚爲侍中
충간공이 뒤를 이으니 / 忠簡承之
장자의 풍모가 있어 / 有長者風
젊어서는 재덕이 뛰어났고 / 少而翹英
늙어서는 영화를 누렸네 / 老而享榮
막내가 뒤이어 정승 되고 / 季子繼相
또 문형을 맡았네 / 而典文衡
손자는 중추에 제수되고 / 孫拜中樞
바닷가를 절충하였네 / 折衝海隅
공의 가문은 / 惟公之門
중도에 맞아 / 弛張攸俱
무릇 하늘이 상서를 내림은 / 凡厥降祥
오직 착함을 표창함이리라 / 惟善是彰
공에게 아부함이 아니로다 / 我非諛公
공은 길이 이 무덤에 편안하시리 / 公永于藏: 牧隱 李穡이 쓴 忠簡公 尹之彪 墓誌銘 全文)

I am often criticized for my tendency to quote without shame the words of my own clan members. It reflects my narrow-mindedness, a friend told me the other day, and may antagonize some who are reminded of the tyranny and absurdity of the old aristocracy.
Frequently I talk about uncles, brothers and even nephews because I think I understand them better and see a certain uniqueness in them. Speaking of close relatives certainly pleases one’s ego in that a clan is essentially a collection of multi-angular mirrors, each bearing a piece of one’s own image.

Korean clans are defined by written records, called chokbo(족보), the main purpose of which seems to be in supporting their claims for aristocratic ancestry. The Korean aristocracy differed from European ones in that its continuation required performance in the neo-Confucian system: passing national exams, capturing employment opportunity, performing in office and surviving bloody purges. It did not require a great statistician to figure out that the odds would be greatly improved by having many sons.

My clan, Yun from Haepyong(海平 尹氏), is typical of the old clans in that it has had cyclic ups and downs without extinction in the past millennium. There are many other family names with comparable or even more colorful histories and legends, but most of them have not been fortunate enough to maintain semblances of continuity as the Yuns have.
The Yuns never occupied more than a tiny fraction of Korean population. But, according to Kim Young-mo Studies of Elites in the Yi-Dynasty, Iljo-gak (김영모 저 조선 지배층 연구一潮閣,1977), 112 youths from the clan passed the final exam (科擧 합격) to enter officialdom in the latter half of the Yi dynasty alone. This disproportionate representation indicates a high concentration of the Yuns at the top.
The clan takes a pride in that its members rarely accumulated a significant amount of property to inherit. A 16th-century member wrote in his memoir, “Old teachers of mine advise me to retire from the government for a peaceful life. I protest that I have no land of my own to return to. And the wise ones tell me that it takes a great courage to accept poverty with grace.”

The general pattern of the clan cycle as observed over the past ten centuries is as follows. When things are normal, the clan members hold prestigious positions in the government to serve the country. This cannot continue indefinitely as the talent and opportunity dry up. With their children failing in national exams, the families cannot longer afford a city life. Driven by poverty, they move to the countryside, picking up the professions of lower prestige such as junior ranks in the military or farming.

This hibernation is soon followed by a surge of new energy and moral strength, often couples with opportunities brought up by a national emergency. Passing exams with flying colors, the youths of the clan open a new period of propriety and achievement, thus initiating a climbing phase of the clan cycle.
Having produced Shin-jun (遠祖 尹莘俊), a premier in the early 12th century, the clan of Yun was highly prosperous until the end of Koryo dynasty. Clan members served the government first as soldiers and then as civil servants. Kun-joung (始祖 司空公 君正) led the successful battle of Wonju(原州 진압군1257) against rebels supported by Mongol invaders. It is ironical that, years later, a Mongol emperor appointed Suk(三世祖 英毅公 碩), Kun-joung’s grandson, the Marshal of Koryo(高麗 都元帥). A peak came when Ji-pyo (四世祖 忠簡公 之彪),a 10-year old son of Suk, was offered an official position in 1320. The clan collected three “Prince”(海平君) titles altogether in three generations.(碩-之彪-珍)

With the opening of Yi dynasty, the clan stagnated(침체기). For five generations, they occupied minor positions in the military. Then came two brothers, Tu-su(1533 梧陰 斗壽) and Keun-su (1537 月汀 根壽), who started another period of prosperity (번성기).
Having passed national exams while young, Tu-su eventually reached the premiership (領議政) and Keun-su headed the Royal Academy (大提學). Throughout their careers, brothers were often cornered and, at times, even removed from their positions in their fight against corrupt practices. Tu-su was responsible for the defense of Pyongyang at the time time of the Hideyoshi invasion (壬辰倭亂) and his wisdom prevailed in making a series of critical decisions that concerned national survival.
According to a legend, Tu-su and his family purchased a house of their own only after years of civil service. On the first day, the lady of the house found nuggets of gold hidden in the fireplace. Instead of starting a commotion, she buried them in the ashes and resold the house in order to protect her young family from quick rich. She gave birth to five strong sons. One of them was responsible for the defense of Kanghwa-do and the other for Pyongyang at time of Manchu invasion.

Prosperity lasted for five generations since Tu-su’s time. Then came another period of stagnation. With severe corruption near the end of Yi dynasty, the poor clan members has little chance to pass the exams anyway. Thus the family drifted into Asan(牙山) in the early 19th century.
When Deuk-sil(18世 得實),the head of the family, passed away, the only male member of the clan was his son Chui-dong(19世 取東),who is said to have been stronger than a bull. The natives of the town tried to prevent by force the burial of his father in the fear that strangers might permanently settle in their town. Thus Chui-dong roped the coffin on his back and climbed a hill behind the town, fighting off dozens of villagers bare-handed. The place where he buried his father is now at the corner of our family graveyard.
After this incident, Chui-dong and his wife began to pray for “sons after sons”every morning before dawn to Okhwangsngjae, the only god they knew of. The prayer was answered in the from of two brothers, Ung-yol(1840 雄烈) and Young-yol(1854 英烈). Those two boys passed the national exams for soldiers and successfully attracted the initial attention of the king with the martial arts they practised. Thus started the most recent surge of creative energy in the clan.

The brothers played the central role in 1882 in creating Pyulgikun(별기군), the first modern army in Korea. Ung-yul was very hero who attacked the palace in 1895 in an attempt to rescue the king from hands of Japanese soldier(春生門 義擧). Young-yol was the military commander and magistrate who wiped out the bandits in his districts and very much loved by his people(頌德碑).

Ung-yol left three sons: Tchi-ho(致昊),Tchi-wang(致旺)and Tchi-chang(致昌), all well known in and outside of Korea. I quote passages from Tchi-ho’s diary (National History Compilation Committee,1973-76; YunTchi-ho’s Diary 국사편찬위원회 윤치호 일기) so often that the reader may have suspected a clan connection. Following the best tradition of the clan, Tchi-ho was appointed when 18 years old the “Myunsoamun Chongridaesin”(Premier of Giggling.眠笑衙門 總理大臣) by the king. He left five sons, eldest being Young-sun(永善).
Young-yol left six sons: Tchi-o (致旿),Tchi-so(致昭 ),Tchi-sung(致晟), Tchi-byung(致昞), Tchi-myung(致明) and Tchi-young(致暎),all well-known again. Tchi-o left five sons, the eldest being Il-sun(日善), the well-known scholar and educator, who has produced about 140 Korean Ph.D.s in basic medicine. Tchi-so left six sons, the eldest being Po-sun(潽善), the second President of the Republic, and the fifth being Taik-sun(澤善), my father, who has five sons.
When the independence came, the clan from Asan(아산) sent three of its members, Tchi-young(치영), Po-sun(보선) and Young-sun(영선), to the first cabinet(閣僚) while Il-sun(일선) served as the president of Seoul National University (서울대학교 총장). With hundreds of sons and grandsons having contributed to the independence and modernization of Korea, one can safely say that Chui-dong’s(取東) prayer has been fully answered.
It is not clear whether the stagnation of the clan has already started. It appears difficult to maintain the old standard anyway. Already in 1890, Tchi-ho(치호) wrote, “My physical weakness always makes me wish I had half as much strength as my father. With his uncommon strength and vigor of muscles and brains, with his will and ambition, had my father the advantages of education I have, what the powerful man he would have been. In mind and body I am altogether so very, very, inferior to him that I cannot help despising myself.”
With extended families disappearing in modern Korea, the concept of clan has changed. Yet the basic rhythm of the clan cycle is to linger on for a long while.

윤창구 1981년2월28일

<Third Millennium of Korean History > by C. K. Yun  (열화당 1989)에서 발췌함.

 


 
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