Ch’oe Yongch’ŏl 崔溶澈 (Korea University)
Translated by by Young-kyun Oh (Arizona State University)

Original Title: Ch’oe Yongch’ŏl. “Hanguo Chaoxian shidai Wanbao quanshu de chuanbo jiqi fanyi” 韓國朝鮮時代《萬寶全書》的傳播及其翻譯. This article was commissioned by Lingua Franca.

Introduction

Scholars have long found the vernacular novels of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties useful as sources of information about the societies they depict. Plum in the Golden Vase (Jinping mei 金瓶梅) and Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng 紅樓夢), for example, both describe in great detail the material, social, and economic lives of the merchant elite and the aristocracy in the late sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries respectively. An even richer source of information about the lives of the people are the popular daily-use encyclopedias (riyong leishu日用類書). Of the popular daily-life encyclopedias of the Ming and Qing, none are better known than those called wanbao quanshu 萬寶全書 (“comprehensive compendium of myriad treasures”), which purport to provide comprehensive “how to” information about all aspects of daily life for all people; indeed, so well-known were these works that the phrase “wanbao quanshu,” which usually appears as part of their titles, became a metonym for all daily-use encyclopedias. The wanbao quanshu continued to be popular throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties, enjoying increasingly broad circulation throughout that period and influencing each social class. They even became useful reference works for the authors of vernacular novels.1

But these works had an impact beyond China. This article discusses the transmission of wanbao quanshu to Chosŏn Korea (1392-1867) and their reproduction there, particularly as revealed in a translation of a wanbao quanshu into vernacular Korean. The goal is to understand more clearly and in more concrete detail the influence the wanbao quanshu had on Chosŏn society.

Transmission of Wanbao quanshu to Chosŏn Korea and Their Use

At the time when the wanbao quanshu enjoyed their greatest popularity in China, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the exchange between China and Chosŏn was mainly in the form of tributary trade, and it was through that trade that large numbers of Chinese books were introduced into the Korean peninsula. Korean emissaries to the Ming and Qing imperial courts would accompany tribute from their country to Beijing and, during their stay in the capital purchase books to bring back home. Most likely the wanbao quanshu were imported via this means. Yi Ŭihyŏn 李宜顯 (1669–1745, sobriquet: Togok 陶谷), a minister at the courts of Kings Sukchong (r. 1674–1720) and Yŏngjo (r. 1724–1776), was one of the envoys sent from Chosŏn to deliver tribute to the Qing court, and he has left in his Collected Writings of Togok (Togok chip 陶谷集), an account that substantiates this supposition. In 1720, after returning from his first mission to Beijing,2 he wrote his “Miscellaneous Record of the Envoy Mission to Yanjing in the Kyŏngja Cyclic Year” (“Kyŏngja yŏnhaeng chapchi” 庚子燕行雜識), which explains how the Korean envoys procured Chinese books and how — probably somewhat accidentally — he happened to return with a copy of a wanbao quanshu:

Ushers (xuban序班) are sub-official functionaries (shuli書吏) in the Office of the Superintendent. Some of them who work long enough may be promoted to district magistrate (zhixian知縣) status. If someone from our country (Chosŏn) wants to know what is going on in Beijing, he seeks information through these ushers. They often forge documents, charge a hefty price for them, and trick the interpreters (yibei譯輩). Many of them have their homes in the southern region [Jiangnan?], and, since books mostly come from the south, the ushers are in charge of book purchases and sales. They are like those we call brokers (k’wae; Ch: kuairen 儈人), but [we cannot deal directly with them] as it is the interpreters who must intervene in the purchasing process. If an envoy wants to buy books, he has to go through the interpreters to get them from the ushers. As they profit from each other, the bonds between them are very intimate.

Books purchased: [Here Yi lists 52 titles; they are for the most part very well-known encyclopedias and anthologies of Chinese poetry, historical writings, literary collections by Confucian scholars and distinguished Song, Ming, and Qing authors, gazetteers (that is, histories and guides to famous sites), civil-service examination guides, etc. He also lists some “miscellaneous titles” that were added as “gifts” from the ushers; these included one wanbao quanshu (identified not by a specific title, but just as a wanbao quanshu), as well as some works of fiction.] (See the Appendix for the full list of titles.)

After listing his book purchases, Yi records his purchases of paintings and calligraphy and briefly treats the tourist sites that he visited in Beijing, including the “Catholic altar, where the image of the king of a western country is placed, and there are such things as sundials and chime clocks, many of them novel and worthy of viewing.”

The fifty-two titles that Yi Ŭihyŏn listed included at the very end some fiction and other popular works. Because he felt a bit embarrassed about them — Chinese scholars viewed them with contempt — he felt the need to explain, “A few miscellaneous titles were private gifts from the ushers” — that is to say, those fictional and miscellaneous works were not what he chose to buy himself, but what the Chinese petty officials, the ushers, threw in on their own while they were helping the interpreters purchase books on Yi’s behalf.3 What he described as “miscellaneous books” included popular encyclopedias like the wanbao quanshu, Yellow Eyebrow Stories (Huangmei gushi 黃眉故事), White Eyebrow Stories (Baimei gushi白眉故事), and Complete Book of Good Fortune and Longevity (Fushou quanshu福壽全書), fengshui or geomancy manuals like the Comprehensive Guide to Subtle Clues (Fawei tongshu發微通書), and collections of stories like The Beautiful and the Strange (Yanyi bian 艷異編) and National Beauties, Heavenly Charmers. (Guose tianxiang 國色天香). Yi Ŭihyŏn knew that they were popular books enjoying wide circulation in the late Ming, but — as he also knew that they were texts considered unsuitable for cultivated readers — he could not admit that he voluntarily bought them.

Even though Yi Ŭihyŏn’s account is the only concrete record we have of wanbao quanshu being imported to Chosŏn, we cannot conclude that 1720 is the year of their earliest transmission. Usually the titles purchased by the envoy missions to Beijing included useful new books, as well as works consistently in demand and not regularly available in Chosŏn. For example, Outstanding Models from the Storehouse of Literature (Cefu yuangui 冊府元龜), Assembled Illustrations from the Three Realms: Heaven, Earth, and Man (Sancai tuhui 三才圖會), and On Books (Tushu bian 圖書編), all on Yi’s list, had originally been transmitted to Korea very early in the Chosŏn era; the reason that these books were purchased again is that the demand for them was still on the rise in Korea. Wanbao quanshu could have been transmitted earlier as well, although there is no textual evidence to prove they had been.

We find, however, some references to them earlier, in Yi Sugwang’s 李睟光 (1563–1628, sobriquet: Chibong 芝峰) Categorized Sayings Collected by Chibong (Chibong yusŏl 芝峰類說). While discussing his efforts to discover precisely what a chŏlp’unggŏn 折風巾, a unique ancient-style hat of the Chosŏn era, was, Yi Sugwang mentioned that he had once found relevant information in a wanbao quanshu:

The Gazetteer of the Unified [Great] Ming ([大明]一統志 [Da Ming] Yitongzhi) stated that Chosŏn [people] wear chŏlp’unggŏn and large-sleeve robes. I am not sure what kind of institution the so-called large-sleeve robe was associated with. I once saw a wanbao quanshu, in which the figures of our country were drawn wearing large garments with wide sleeves. This must be an old custom. I still don’t know what a chŏlp’unggŏn is. Recently, a fisherman of our country drifted to Zhejiang (China). In the repatriation document issued by the Ministry of Rites, it stated that he wore a chŏlp’unggŏn on his head. This may have been a kind of sat-kat, a conical bamboo hat. Li Bai 李白 [a famous Chinese poet of the eighth century] in his “Song of Koguryŏ” (“Gaogouli ci” 高句麗詞) wrote: “Golden flowers on their chŏlp’ung hat,” and “Flutter and flutter, the dancers’ large sleeves.” This must be the same thing.4

If what Yi Sugwang said is true, wanbao quanshu had already been circulating in Chosŏn before 1628, nearly a hundred years before Yi Ŭihyŏn bought the book in Beijing. But it is not clear where Yi Sugwang saw the text. As a minister at the Korean court, he had been on three envoy trips to Beijing, as a Document Officer in 1590, prior to the invasion of Korea by the Japanese; as Emissary of Condolences in 1597; and as Emissary of Petition in 1611. During his time in Beijing, he actively engaged in written exchanges or “brush talks” (p’ildam 筆談) with envoys from Vietnam, Ryukyu, and Siam; and he corresponded with a Catholic priest from the West, Matteo Ricci,5 acquiring his True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (Tianzhu shiyi 天主實義, 2 fascicles) and On Friendship (Jiaoyou lun 交友論, 1 fascicle), as well as Liu Bian’s 劉汴 (ca. 1518) story collection, Sequel to Hearsay (Xu er tan 續耳譚, 6 fascicles). On his return he introduced western studies and Catholicism to Chosŏn society.

He went to Beijing during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, when the wanbao quanshu proliferated; before 1611, there were already as many as twelve different versions in circulation. Thus, it is extremely likely that Yi Sugwang would have had occasion to see the illustrations of Gaoliguo 高麗國 (Korea) in the “Barbarians Section” (“Zhuyi men” 諸夷門) of the wanbao quanshu in Beijing. He also could have brought the book back to Chosŏn. Since he was most interested in information about foreign regions — while in Beijing, he was very interested in meeting other foreign envoys — it is very possible that he bought a wanbao quanshu, as these works regularly included a “Barbarians” (or “Outer Barbarians,” “Waiyi men” 外夷門) section, which provided information on foreign peoples.6 Perhaps the content of this book was too popular and the quality of its edition too poor for him to record the purchase.7 In any event, it is impossible to ascertain which version of a wanbao quanshu he might have brought back to Chosŏn.

There are a few cases where Chosŏn literati mention wanbao quanshu in their writings and reveal something of what in the books interested them; these references can help us guess the circumstances under which the works circulated, as well as understand their impact on Korean culture. In line with the promises often made in their prefaces, the wanbao quanshu seem to have been most useful in providing practical guidance on how to perform the rituals and fulfill the ceremonial requirements of daily life. An Chŏngbok 安鼎福 (1712–1791) records in his Collected Writings of Sunam (Sunam chip 順庵集) that, in 1758, when he welcomed a son-in-law into the family, he wrote the customary “Wedding Ritual According with Propriety” (“Hollye chagŭi” 婚禮酌宜) by referring to a Chinese wanbao quanshu as well as other Chinese sources.8 This is clear evidence of the influence that the wanbao quanshu had on ritual practice in the eighteenth-century literati community of Chosŏn.

Literati musicians, particularly those who played the qin 琴 (zither, the favored instrument of the educated elite), sought information from the wanbao quanshu. As Ch’oe Sŏna has explained,9 the Revised Scores for the Korean Zither (Han kŭm sinbo 韓琴新譜), a collection of musical scores for the Korean zither, kŏmun’go, cited the wanbao quanshu as the source of several of its guidelines: “Five circumstances under which the zither should not be played,” “Required knowledge for playing the zither,” and “Regulation of the greatest sound.” Revised Scores for the Korean Zither, collated by an unknown author,10 was published in 1724. Thus, if the wanbao quanshu cited is the one Yi Ŭihyŏn brought back from China, then a wanbao quanshu was being actively used by music specialists only four years after its arrival in Chosŏn in 1720. But there is evidence that the compiler of the Revised Scores for the Korean Zither had access to several different wanbao quanshu, as the guidelines he cites seem to have been collected from both Ming and Qing works.11

The wanbao quanshu provided the fullest instruction, however, to local governments in search of guidance in fiscal and economic management. The Local Official (Suryŏng 守令), a guide to the conduct of local government, was used by local officials in financial administration during the Chosŏn dynasty.12 In the second half of this manual, which introduces various protocols and calculation methods, the compiler directly cites a wanbao quanshu: “Calculation methods are excerpted from the “Full and Clear Calculation Method” (“Xiangming suanfa” 詳明算法) section of the wanbao quanshu.” “Calculations” (“Jisuan men” 計算門) was a fascicle included in all wanbao quanshu, because of its importance to the daily lives of the people, particularly as they engaged in trade or had dealings with the government. The “Calculation Primer” included in The Local Official matches exactly that in the Qing-era Chinese Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures, Expanded and Supplemented (Zengbu Wanbao quanshu 增補萬寶全書). An ŏnhae edition of a wanbao quanshu — that is, an edition that has been translated into the Korean vernacular also includes the original text of the “Calculation Primer.” The cover page of the fascicle gives “Calculation Primer” as the title of the fascicle, but the title in the text proper (which is considered the correct title) is “Full and Clear Calculation Method.” Under that title are listed different methods: “Calculation Primer,” “Golden-Cicada Exuviation,” “Spreading Out a Silk Carpet,” “Illustrated Explanation of Spreading Out a Silk Carpet,” and “Treasure of the Palm in Your Sleeve.”13 This last section is further subdivided into “Palm Mnemonics,” “Palm Mnemonics of Multiplication,” “Two Palm Mnemonics of Division,” “Method of Getting Cloth from Silk Yarn,”14 “Method of Getting Cooked Meat from Raw Meat,”15 “Method of Buying Cotton,”16 and “Measuring Agricultural Fields.”17 There is another “Full and Clear Calculation Method” later in the fascicle, under which are listed “Established Formulae of Abacus”, “Complete Recitation of Nine Nine Eighty One,” “Mnemonic of Nine Returns,”18 “Mnemonic of Nine Multiplications,” “Mnemonic of Combined Division Method,” “Multiplication Mnemonic,” “Division Mnemonic,” and so forth. In the thirty-juan Chinese Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures, Expanded and Supplemented (1747), the “Calculation Primer” is in the top register, whereas the “Established Formulae of Abacus” was in the lower register; in the ŏnhae-translation, the sections in the upper register of the original text were put first. That the compilers of the translation retained all the information about calculation methods in the original Chinese wanbao quanshu indicates how useful they believed such information would be in daily life.

The evidence presented above reveals something of the influence that the wanbao quanshu had in Chosŏn society. Chosŏn’s highest elite — certainly the rulers and court ministers of the dynasty — generally consulted Chinese encyclopedias like Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs (Shilin guangji 事林廣記) and Categorized Collection of Writings on Affairs (Shiwen leiju 事文類聚) — that is, works designed for an elite readership, providing orthodox information on official ranks, Confucianism, proper ritual conduct, etc. But there is scattered evidence that the more popular daily- use encyclopedias — the wanbao quanshu — did have some impact on the lives of literati as guides to some practical daily-life activities.19

Texts Excerpted from the Wanbao quanshu: Chronicle of the Tea Spirit, Essentials of the Myriad Treasures, and Physiognomy

Other evidence of the influence of the wanbao quanshu can be found in independent titles that were excerpts from daily-use encyclopedias. Three stand-alone works on tea, on medical practices, and on physiognomy reveal this use of the wanbao quanshu.

Chronicle of the Tea Spirit (Tasin chŏn 茶神傳), compiled in the early nineteenth century by the Sŏn (Chan) Buddhist Master Ch’oŭi 草衣禪師 (1786-1866),20 was excerpted from the “Tea Harvesting” (“Caicha” 採茶) section of a wanbao quanshu. Master Ch’oŭi, who came to be known as Korea’s “Tea Sage” in part on the strength of this work, explained, in the postscript to this manuscript, how he came to copy it:

During the rainy season in 1828, I followed my master to the Seven Buddha Monastery of Silence (Ch’ilbul awŏn 七佛啞院) on Mt. Pangjang [Chiri] and copied [this work]. I wanted to recopy it to make a clean copy, but could not complete it because I became ill. Novice Monk Suhong was in the attendants’ room at the time and wanted to copy it in order to understand the Way of tea. But he could not finish it either, as he, too, became ill. So I forced myself to lift the brush and complete the work: if there is a beginning, there should be an ending. How could this rule apply only to a gentleman’s actions? Tea drinking is common in many monasteries,21 but few know the Way of tea. Thus, I write it here to reveal the formidable. Written humbly in mid-spring of 1830 by Hyuam Pyŏngsŏn休菴病禪 [Sickly Monk Resting in a Monastery], embracing a brazier next to a window and looking out at the snow.22

Master Ch’oŭi was a prominent figure in early nineteenth-century Chosŏn society. When young, he studied Confucianism and the Way of tea (ch’ado 茶道) with the philosopher and tea master Chŏng Yagyong 丁若鏞 (1762-1836; sobriquet: Tasan 茶山, “Tea Mountain”); he was also a good poet, painter, and calligrapher, a “man of the three splendors” (三絕). He traveled in elite circles and was friends with the celebrated scholar and calligrapher Kim Chŏnghŭi 金正喜 (1786–1856, sobriquet, Ch’usa 秋史) and the royal son-in-law Hong Hyŏnju 洪顯周 (1793–1865). King Hŏnjong 憲宗 (r. 1827–1849) bestowed upon him the title “Grand Sŏn Master Ch’oŭi, a Worthy Elevated to Great Enlightenment and Universal Salvation” 大覺登階普濟尊者草衣大禪師.

After he produced the Chronicle of the Tea Spirit, he became noted as a tea master; the scholar-official Sin Wi 申緯 (1769–1847) named him the “Tea-brewing savant” 煎茶博士. Indeed, his Chronicle did change the way Koreans made tea. Their practice had been to steam green-cake tea (qingbingcha 青餅茶), but Ch’oŭi experimented with and introduced another method — roasting loose green tea leaves (qingsancha 青散茶) — which he found in the “Essentials of The Classic of Tea23 section of a wanbao quanshu. When he was 52, he also wrote, at the request of his friend Hong Hyŏnju, another work that became central to Korean tea culture: the Ode to the Tea of the East (Tongda song東茶頌), a long gāthā (verses for silent recitation) on the Way of tea. Hong had asked for a work that highlighted the uniqueness of Korean tea culture, but verses 7, 12, 14, and 15 of the Ode all contain excerpts from wanbao quanshu.24 The Ode and the Chronicle are the two great classics of Korean tea culture, yet they are both heavily indebted to Chinese wanbao quanshu: the Chronicle of the Tea Spirit is a copy of “Essentials of The Classic of Tea” (also titled “Tea Harvesting”), while the Ode to the Tea of the East drew on the this work as well.25 We could say that Ch’oŭi owed the title of “tea sage” to the wanbao quanshu.

A short medical text, Essentials of the Myriad Treasures (Manbo ch’waryo 萬寶撮要), provides a second example of a stand-alone text composed of excerpts from wanbao quanshu. It is not known who compiled and titled this manuscript, now in the collection of the Academy of Korean Studies (see Figure 1). Its entire contents consist of the “Medical Learning” (“Yixue” 醫學) and “Gestation” (“Zhongzi” 種子) sections of a Chinese wanbao quanshu (see Figure 2). On the upper-left corner of the cover is the title Extracts of a Myriad Treasures (Manbo ch’waryo; C. Wanbao cuoyao 萬寶撮要) in large letters; to the right are the two section titles, “Medical Learning” and “Gestation,” in smaller characters. The work is 28 cm long and 18.2 cm wide, in forty-five leaves. There are five needle holes for binding, as was the custom in Korean book binding. The work is copied on paper with printed borders and block-centers with two flower-patterned fishtails. Each page (half folio) contains 10 lines; each line, 29 characters. The calligraphy is in clear regular-style script. Thirty of the forty-five leaves bear the block-center title of “Medical Learning,” and fifteen, “Gestation.” There is a date in the last line, stating, “Ninth year of the Kwangmu reign, first spring month, first ten-day period” 歲在光武九年孟春上幹(澣), indicating that this book was copied or compiled in 1905. “Medical Learning” appears regularly as a category only in the longer (that is, those with over 30 fascicles) pre-nineteenth century Chinese wanbao quanshu.26 It seems that later and shorter versions omitted this category; see, for example, the twenty-juan wanbao quanshu published in 1851. Therefore, the source of the Manbo ch’waryo is most likely one of the thirty-juan versions of wanbao quanshu that were published in the late-eighteenth or early-nineteenth centuries in China.

Scholars in Chosŏn society had always been interested in Chinese medical books and regularly tried to purchase them. For example, in 1455 the court, following a petition made by the Ministry of Rites, had the envoy retinue to Beijing purchase a large number of medical books.27 Among common readers, information about reproduction and childbirth was valued perhaps even more highly than the orthodox medical knowledge sought by the court; it is notable that the vernacular Korean edition of the wanbao quanshu, intended for a readership not necessarily literate in classical Chinese, does not incorporate a “Medical Learning” section, but does include “Gestation” in its eleventh fascicle. This suggests how important the matter of childbirth was to society at large at the time.28

Finally, the manuscript Physiognomy (Kwansang pŏp 觀相法), which explains how to read a person’s character and fortune from his/her physical features, is essentially an excerpt from a wanbao quanshu. In this case, we know which one, as the manuscript retains the full title of its source, Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures for the Convenient Consultation of All Under Heaven, Newly Cut (Sin’gak ch’ŏnha p’yŏllam Manbo chŏnsŏ; C. Xinke tianxia bianlan wanbao quanshu 新刻天下便覽萬寶全書), although it only contained the physiognomy section of that work. This section was not included in the vernacular Korean translation of the wanbao quanshu (see below), rather it only circulated in this independent work. This was another way the information in the wanbao quanshu proliferated in Chosŏn.29

Korean Translation of a Chinese Wanbao quanshu

As of now, there is only one known Korean translation of a wanbao quanshu, a manuscript in the Korea University Collection,30 the so-called ŏnhae (諺解), “explained in Korean,” edition. In fact, it is a bilingual text, with the Chinese original preceding the Korean translation, written in hangŭl, the alphabet of the vernacular language. The writing on the lower-right corner, “17 total” 共十七, indicates the entire set had seventeen volumes (ch’aek 冊); all are thread-bound with five needle holes. On the upper-left side of each cover is written “wanbao quanshu” in large letters; on the upper-right, the titles of the categorical sections, single or multiple, that the volume contains. There is no preface, postface, or any clue in the work that reveals the date, the production circumstances or the name of the translator and scribe. This is in fact typical of official Chosŏn ŏnhae projects, which often do not reveal information regarding authors, commentators, translators or scribes — indeed, anything other than the text proper. Even the prefaces, postfaces, and commentaries that were part of the original text are all excised.

Scholars have not been able to identify the base text used for the translation. They hypothesize that the Chosŏn translators or editors consulted various Qing wanbao quanshu and selected sections from among them to suit the particular demands of Chosŏn society. Sometimes they changed the titles or copied different titles from different (Chinese) editions, making it difficult to identify the source(s) for the translation.

This book basically follows the usual formats of most Chosŏn ŏnhae books, but there are some idiosyncratic features. If we compare the work to a better-known bilingual translation, that of the Dream of the Red Chamber in the Naksŏnjae Collection, we can see the major differences. In the latter text, the Chinese original is in the upper register of the page, the ŏnhae text in the lower register, making comparison between the original and the translation easy. Each Chinese character is glossed with its pronunciation on its left. The length of ŏnhae line is even on every page, although this is not the case in the Chinese original. In the ŏnhae Wanbao quanshu, however, there is only one register, and the Chinese original is followed immediately by its ŏnhae translation, making comparisons of the two texts more laborious.

The size of the ŏnhae-edition wanbao quanshu is 27.6 cm x 25.9 cm. Like other ŏnhae books, it does not have a text box (kwanggwak 匡郭), block center, or fishtail — that is, there is no effort to reproduce the format of a woodblock printed text (see Figure 3). Although there are no grid lines, the copying of the texts is neat and the characters evenly arranged. Each page contains nine lines; in the Chinese text, there are 20 characters per line, but in the hangŭl ŏnhae text, only 19, with each line indented vertically one space. Section titles in the Chinese text are indented two spaces, in the Korean translation, three spaces. Interlinear commentary is inserted in small letters in double lines. Bound with thread through five needle points, the sheets of paper are sometimes pasted together on the edges. The number of pages is not even in each volume, ranging from as few as 91 to as many as 184. The entire work contains 2,171 pages, an average of 127 pages in each volume. The manuscript also includes quite a few illustrations copied from the original which is highly unusual — very few ŏnhae translations of Chinese texts reproduce illustrations. Taking all these editorial features into account, we should call this text in full, “Chosŏn manuscript of original text with ŏnhae translation,” or “Chosŏn ŏnhae edition of a wanbao quanshu” for short.

Figure 1: Chosŏn ŏnhae edition of a wanbao quanshu (17-volume set, bilingual with the original text, Korea University Library).

What did the Korean compilers of the ŏnhae wanbao quanshu of Chosŏn choose to excerpt from Chinese wanbao quanshu and include in this encyclopedia? The contents reflect the prominent role that China played as a political and literary model in Korean society, but also — and more interesting for students of Korean society — the practical concerns of Koreans with the proper forms of social exchange and ritual practice, written and verbal; with methods of mathematical calculation for both official and business use; entertainment; and fortune-telling or divination. Let us look more closely at the structure of the ŏnhae edition of the wanbao quanshu. The titles in each volume and its total number of pages are as follows:

Volume 1: Song of successive kings and emperors, Record of successive kings and emperors, from Pangu to Youyu 歷代帝王歌、歷代帝王紀-自盤古氏至有虞氏, 112 pages

Volume 2: Record of successive kings and emperors, from Xiahou to the end of Zhou and the Warring States 歷代帝王紀-自夏后氏至周末戰國, 143 pages

Volume 3: Record of successive kings and emperors, from First Emperor of Qin to Gongdi of Sui 歷代帝王紀-自秦始皇至隋恭帝, 119 pages

Volume 4: Record of successive kings and emperors, from Emperor Gaozu of Tang to Gaozu of Qing 歷代帝王紀-自唐高祖至清高祖, 114 pages

Volume 5: Record of successive famous ministers 歷代名臣紀, 175 pages

Volume 6: Written Correspondence; Terms of address in writing; Petitions and summons 文翰門、書名稱號類、請召類, 115 pages

Volume 7: Weiqi (Go) strategies, Xiangqi (chess) strategies, Card (or tile) games, Dice games,31 Pitch-pot games 圍棋式、象譜式、牌譜式、硃窩式 、投壺式, 183 pages

Volume 8: Seasonal affairs, Incantation for building construction, Incantation for ancestral sacrifices, Incantation for protection of children from danger 歲時紀事、建屋祝文、祭祀祝文、小兒關煞, 122 pages

Volume 9: Document forms for public matters, Letter to summon a matchmaker, Betrothal document forms, Sending betrothal gifts, Written invitations to marriage, Salutations at wedding rites 公關書式、托媒扎、納采書式、過聘新式、嫁娶請帖、攔門致語, 125 pages

Volume 10: Calculation Primer 算法源流, 165 pages

Volume 11: Jokes, Gestation 笑話、種子, 92 pages

Volume 12: Linked verses 聯句, 126 pages

Volume 13: Moral exhortations; Farming and weaving 勸諭、耕織, 96 pages

Volume 14: Interpreting dreams 夢解, 110 pages

Volume 15: Interpreting dreams, Quick verification 夢解、短驗門, 162 pages

Volume 16: Divination 1 卜筮(上), 129 pages

Volume 17: Divination 2 卜筮(下), 91 pages

The major categories of interest here are: the rulers and great ministers of Chinese history (the accounts of which take up five volumes and almost one-third of the total pages); document and correspondence models, terms of polite address, and forms for invitations, wedding announcements, etc.; forms for ritual incantations (to be performed, for example, when beginning construction on a house) and sacrifices to the spirits; games and how to play them; calculation methods; jokes; pregnancy; rhymed couplets (an important medium of social exchange in both China and Korea); dream interpretation; and divination.

It does appear that the compilers and/or translators purposefully selected the sections they wished to include, rather than copying all sections from a specific Chinese edition. They also apparently felt free to rearrange the order of the sections and at times even to rename them. The order of sections listed above does not correspond to that in any known Chinese wanbao quanshu. And the sub-sections “Song of successive kings and emperors,” “Record of successive kings and emperors,” and “Record of successive famous ministers” are, in all Chinese wanbao quanshu, in a “Human Affairs” (“Renji”人紀) section that is usually in third or fourth place in the text. The Korean translation places them prominently in the first section, as if its compilers wanted to call attention to the section, yet without the “Human Affairs” title (perhaps fearing that the term would not be familiar to Chosŏn readers).

As mentioned above, we do not know the source text from which the translation was made. It is possible that there was no single source, but that the compilers selected sections and entries from both Ming and Qing versions of the wanbao quanshu and edited them as they wished. Certain pieces of evidence suggest that this was the case. We can tell that the source text — or one of the source texts — for the Chosŏn ŏnhae translation must have been published after 179632; clearly the compilers must have drawn on a Qing-era wanbao quanshu for the information on the Qing dynasty. But some of the entries suggest that they also consulted an earlier work or works — or simply interpreted certain historical events independently of Chinese sources. For example, the “Record of successive kings and emperors” places the entry on Shu-Han 蜀漢 kingdom (221-263) right after that on the Eastern Han (25-220), which is then followed by the entry on the Three Kingdoms, containing information on only the two kingdoms of Wei (220-265) and Wu (220-280). Here the compilers were accepting the popular understanding — reinforced in the late-Ming historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi 三國演義), widely read in both China and Korea — that the kingdom of Shu was the legitimate successor to the Eastern Han. Yet in a Qing-era Chinese wanbao quanshu, the kingdom of Shu is awarded no special treatment — it is lumped together with Wei and Wu under the “Three Kingdoms” entry.33 A hint of editorial intrusion is also apparent in the references to the Ming and Qing imperial states (see Figure 2). The entry for the Ming is titled “Record of the Imperial Ming” (“Hwang Myŏng ki” 皇明紀), as it would have appeared in a Ming-era Chinese encyclopedia. But the entry for the Qing is titled “Record of the Qing” (“Ch’ŏng ki” 清紀), not “Record of the Great Qing” (“Da Qing ji” 大清紀), the title that certainly would have been used in a Qing-era Chinese encyclopedia. Here we may be seeing, in both cases, an expression of Korean continuing loyalty to the fallen Ming dynasty and reluctance to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Qing, the foreign dynasty that had conquered the Ming.

Errors in the Korean translation also suggest that the compilers were drawing, perhaps rather carelessly, on more than one base text. It says, “Taizong Emperor Wendi, Hong Tashi, is Taizu’s son” 太宗文帝紅他時太祖之子 and “Shizu Emperor Zhang’s name is Huang Taiji and he is Taizong’s son” 世祖章皇帝名皇太極太宗之子. But Hong Tashi and Huang Taiji are in fact different ways of writing the same name, that of Emperor Taizong; and Emperor Shizu’s name was Fulin 福臨, not Huang Taiji. These sorts of errors were perhaps due to the fact that the compilers used multiple source texts, which they confused in the processes of translating and editing.

Figure 2: “Record of the Imperial Ming” a nd “Record of the Qing” in the “Record of successive kings and emperors” in the Chosŏn ŏnhae edition (Korea University Library).

Other evidence of editorial control appears in volume 17 of the ŏnhae edition, which contains both “Jokes” and “Gestation.” In pairing these two sections in a single volume the compilers were most likely retaining the arrangement they found in Qing-era Chinese wanbao quanshu, which commonly placed them together. But when we examine the “Jokes” section, it seems that the compilers edited out many of the jokes that appeared commonly in Chinese wanbao quanshu. The ŏnhae edition collected eleven jokes: “Country ox with money”, “False mercy”, “Fool by nature”, “Deception”, “Mind-reflecting mirror”, “Two devoted wives”, “Ghost mother thinks of her child”, “Exhorting filiality and punishing promiscuity”, “Cautioning a monk’s fruitless almsgiving”, “Filial daughter-in-law endures hunger” and “Tiger eats a non-human.” The first four of these titles also appear in the 20-fascicle edition of the Qing-dynasty wanbao quanshu; the remaining seven are jokes with a message of moral exhortation. In contrast, the Chinese encyclopedia contains a total of twenty-six jokes, a great many of which are lewd: “Old man fornicating with daughter-in-law”, “Monks harmonize each other”, “Petty official sells his buttocks”, “An adulterous daughter-in-law”, etc.34

To be sure, Chinese jokebooks specializing in lewd jokes, particularly popular in the late Ming, were not unknown in Chosŏn Korea. For example, the anonymous Three Kinds of Jokes to Break Your Hat Strap with Laughter (Jueying sanxiao 絕纓三笑) was imported from late-Ming China and printed in part in P’yŏngyang in 1622 under the title Zhongli Giggles (Chongni Horo 鐘離葫蘆). But this and other jokebooks were written in classical Chinese and thus were accessible only to male literati readers. It seems that the compilers of the Chosŏn ŏnhae wanbao quanshu were either uncertain how to use hangŭl to translate these lewd jokes into vernacular Korean or reluctant to make them accessible to a broader readership, one that might even include women.

What was the intended readership of the Chosŏn ŏnhae wanbao quanshu? The commentaries to the text provide some hints of an answer to that question. The wanbao quanshu covers a great many different topics, and each section frequently employs a specialized vocabulary. Clearly the translators were aware of the difficulties this fact might present to readers and so supplied interlinear annotations under almost every entry. For example, more than five hundred annotations were added to the “Written Correspondence” (文翰) section. If this figure is representative of each section, then there may be close to eight- to nine-thousand annotations in the whole book.

Annotations in the ŏnhae edition are of two kinds. Some are translations of the original Chinese annotations; the remainder are annotations added by the translators to explain the main text or to provide additional explanation of the Chinese annotations. Proper nouns like personal and place names and some Chinese characters and terms are explained in the annotations. In the section “Written Correspondence,” for example, the section title is annotated, “(It) is [letter-writing conventions]” 편지규식이다 (書信文式也. For the first entry, “Formal letter forms used for old and recent acquaintances” 久近通用書禮式, both the pronunciation and an explanation are given: “Kugŭn t’ongyong sŏryesik, forms of letters between people who have seen each other over a long period of time or those who have seen each other recently” 구근통용서례식, 본지오래되었거나얼마되지않았거나통용하는편지규식 (相見很久,或近期見過的時候所用的書信文式. Lexical items somewhat difficult to understand are all annotated. For example, for “Raised light” 臺光, it says: “Taegwang, [meaning] noble light” 대광: 높은빛이다 (高貴的光明; for “Dipper gaze” 斗瞻, “Tuch’ŏm, to look up as if gazing at the Big Dipper” 두첨, 북두칠성처럼바라본다는말이다 (如北斗七星大家觀瞻. For “Sam and Sang” 參商, it annotates: “Sam Sang are names of two stars. Since Sang sets when Sam rises, and Sam sets when Sang rises, they are a metaphor for always being apart” 삼상, 두별이름이니삼성이나면상성이지고상성이나면 삼성이지니서로떠나있음을비유한것이다(兩顆星星之名,參星出現而商星下去,商星出現而參星下去,以此打比喻兩者之間經常離別).

Here the translators seem to have been trying to make the text accessible to as broad an audience as possible. The annotations aided literate commoners and women who could not read Chinese characters; but, by preserving the original Chinese annotations, the translators were also assisting readers of the educated class conversant with classical Chinese.

Concluding Remarks

In China, the wanbao quanshu were daily-use encyclopedias that enjoyed considerable popularity in the late Ming and Qing periods. They also enjoyed a broader circulation in the early modern East Asian world, in particular in Edo period Japan. In Korea, although they never attracted the interest that the more orthodox, “official” Chinese encyclopedias of the Song and Yuan dynasties did, they were, in diffuse ways, taken seriously as practical guides to daily life during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Firm evidence of the transmission of wanbao quanshu from China to Korea dates to 1720, when the envoy Yi Ŭihyŏn records returning to Korea from Beijing with such a work. There are other indications, however, that Korean envoys to China might have been aware of these works even earlier, perhaps as early as the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. But there is little evidence of real Korean engagement with these works until the early eighteenth century, when portions of the Chinese wanbao quanshu were excerpted in Korean “how-to” texts (on how to play the qin or how to fulfill the duties of a local official) or when whole sections of these works were made into stand-alone texts on tea-making, medicine and gestation, and physiognomy. These texts were most likely designed for the educated elite, as they reproduced the classical Chinese of their sources.

More worthy of our attention is the large seventeen-volume, Korean vernacular translation and annotation of a wanbao quanshu. This anonymous work, in translating and at times significantly revising sections from what was most likely various Chinese wanbao quanshu into the Korean vernacular, using hangŭl, seems to have been designed to offer the information of the wanbao quanshu to a broader literate population. In its rearrangement of the Chinese text to suit Korean perceptions of Chinese history; in its presentation of both Chinese and hangŭl-Korean text; and in its multiple forms of annotation in both Chinese and vernacular Korean, it was apparently an effort to serve the practical needs of literate Chosŏn readers of various classes. What the Korean translators and compilers of the Chosŏn ŏnhae-annotated wanbao quanshu included in this text can serve as a guide to what were considered the most pressing practical problems of literate Korean society; what they discarded might provide some hints into what kinds and forms of information — e.g., obscene jokes or expressions of disloyalty to the Chinese Ming dynasty — were considered inappropriate for broad circulation.

Appendix: List of Works Yi Ŭihyŏn Brought Back from Beijing in 1720

Outstanding Models from the Storehouse of Literature (Cefu yuangui 冊府元龜, 301 fascicles)

Comprehensive Examination of the Institutions of Government, Continued (Xu Wenxian tongkao 續文獻通考, 100 fascicles)

On Books (Tushu bian 圖書編, 78 fascicles)

Collectanea of Jingchuan [Tang Shunzhi] (Jingchuan baibian 荊川稗編, 60 fascicles)

Assembled Illustrations from the Three Realms: Heaven, Earth, and Man (Sancai tuhui 三才圖會, 80 fascicles)

Explanation of the Comprehensive Mirror [of Government] (Tongjian zhijie 通鑑直解, 24 fascicles) Mingshan Storehouse (Mingshan cang 名山藏, 40 fascicles)

Songs of Chu (Chuci 楚辭, 8 fascicles)

One Hundred Famous Authors of the Han, Wei, and Six Dynasties (Han Wei Liuchao bai mingjia ji 漢魏六朝百名家集, 60 fascicles)

Complete Poetry of the Tang (Quan Tangshi 全唐詩, 6 fascicles)

Correct Sounds of Tang Poetry (Tangshi zhengsheng 唐詩正聲, 6 fascicles)

Explanations of Tang Poetry (Tangshi zhijie 唐詩直解, 10 fascicles)

Selected Poetry of the Tang (Tangshi xuan 唐詩選, 6 fascicles)

On Tang Poetry (Shuo Tangshi 說唐詩, 10 fascicles)

Poetry of Du Fu with Commentary by Qian [Qianyi謙益] (Qian zhu Du shi 錢註杜詩, 6 fascicles)

Luminaries of Regulated Verse (Yingkui lüsui 瀛奎律髓,10 fascicles)

Song Poetry (Songshi chao 宋詩鈔, 32 fascicles)

Selected Poetry of the Yuan (Yuanshi xuan 元詩選, 36 fascicles)

Comprehensive Ming Poetry (Mingshi zong 明詩綜, 32 fascicles)

Ancient Prose (Guwen jiaozi 古文覺斯, 8 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Sima Wengong [Sima Qian司馬遷] (Sima Wengong ji 司馬溫公集, 24 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Zhou Lianxi [Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤] (Zhou Lianxi ji 周濂溪集, 6 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Ouyang [Xiu修] (Ouyang gong ji 歐陽公集, 15 fascicles)

Collected Poetry of Su Dongpo (Dongpo shiji 東坡詩集,10 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Qin Huaihai [Qin Guan秦觀] (Qin Huaihai ji 秦淮海集, 6 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Yang Guishan [Yang Shi 楊時] (Yang Guishan ji 楊龜山集, 9 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Zhu Weihai [Zhu Song 朱松] (Zhu Weizhai ji 朱韋齋集, 6 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Zhang Nanxuan [Zhang Shi 張栻] (Zhang Nanxuan ji 張南軒集, 20 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Lu Fangweng [Lu You 陸游] (Lu Fangweng ji 陸放翁集, 60 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Yang Tieya [Yang Weizhen 楊維禎] (Yang Tieya ji 楊鐵厓集, 4 fascicles)

Collected Writings of He Dafu [He Jingming 何景明] (He Dafu ji 何大復集, 8 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Wang Yanzhou [Wang Shizhen 王世貞] (Wang Yanzhou ji 王弇州集, 30 fascicles)

Writings [of Wang Yanzhou,] Continued (Xuji 續集, 36 fascicles)

Collected Writings of Xu Wenchang [Xu Wei 徐渭] (Xu Wenchang ji 徐文長集, 8 fascicles)

Collected Writings from the Baojing Studio [of Xu Jiayan 徐嘉炎] (Baojing zhai ji 抱經齋集, 6 fascicles)

West Lake Gazetteer (Xihu zhi 西湖志, 12 fascicles)

Shengjing Gazetteer (Shengjing zhi 盛京志, 6 fascicles)

Tongzhou Gazetteer (Tongzhou zhi 通州志, 8 fascicles)

Huangshan Gazetteer (Huangshan zhi 黃山志, 7 fascicles)

Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shanhai jing 山海經, 4 fascicles)

Investigation of the Historical Figures in the Four Books (Sishu renwu kao 四書人物考, 15 fascicles)

Yellow Eyebrow Stories (Huangmei gushi 黃眉故事, 10 fascicles)

White Eyebrow Stories (Baimei gushi 白眉故事, 6 fascicles)

Biographies of Poets from Successive Dynasties (Liechao shiji xiaozhuan 列朝詩集小傳, 10 fascicles)

Wanbao quanshu萬寶全書 (8 fascicles)

Complete Book of Good Fortune and Longevity (Fushou quanshu 福壽全書, 10 fascicles)

Comprehensive Guide to Subtle Clues (Fawei tongshu 發微通書,10 fascicles)

Record of First-Place Examination Candidates (Zhuangyuan ce 壯元策, 10 fascicles)

Compendium of Calligraphic Forms for Discrimination (Huicao bianyi 彙草辨疑, 1 fascicle)

Making Brocade [?] (Zhijin bian 製錦編, 2 fascicles)

The Beautiful and the Strange (Yanyi bian 艷異編, 12 fascicles)

National Beauties, Heavenly Charmers (Guose tianxiang 國色天香, 10 fascicles)


  1. My own interest in the wanbao quanshu derives from my study of the Ming-Qing period and, in particular, from the concept of vernacular fiction of that period as “being enjoyed by the elegant and the common alike (yasu gongshang 雅俗共賞).” Ming-Qing vernacular fiction is commonly seen as “an encyclopedia comprehensively covering the myriad forms of the classical culture” 包羅萬象的古典文化百科全書; and I hope here to understand the relationship between this kind of “encyclopedia” of classical culture and the wanbao quanshu, the encyclopedias of popular culture. At the same time, I am interested in the spread of these encyclopedias to Korea and their impact there during the Chosŏn period.
  2. Yi Ŭihyŏn made two trips to Beijing, the first in 1720, and the second in 1732, as Principal Ambassador cum Emissary of Felicitations in the Envoy of Appreciation to Beijing. Records of his two missions to Beijing are both included in the Togok chip.
  3. Xuban were petty officials of Lower-Ninth Rank during the Ming-Qing period. When Chosŏn envoy missions stayed in Beijing, they would help interpreters, mostly to communicate with local merchants, and when buying books, to act as middle-men, i.e., sŏk’wae 書儈.
  4. Yi Sugwang, “Kwan’gŏn” 冠巾, Chibong yusŏl, k. 19.
  5. Translator’s note: There is no evidence that Yi Sugwang and Ricci met in person.
  6. See the article by Hsu Hui-lin in this issue.
  7. I have seen the thirty-fascicle edition of the Zengbu wanbao quanshu printed in 1745 in the Harvard Collection, in which Juan 4 of Volume 2 included a “Barbarians” section, a subcategory of which is “Records of Barbarian Images” (“Zhuyi xiang ji” 諸夷像記). The first entry is about Korea, but the hat depicted is not a chŏlp’unggŏn; it more closely resembles the hats worn by Song-dynasty officials. A late-Ming editions depicting the chŏlp’unggŏn has yet to be found.
  8. “As for the betrothal document, its format followed the customary ritual practice. Its words were taken from the “Literati Wedding Rites” (“Shi hunli” 士婚禮) in [the Confucian ritual Classic,] Ceremonies (Yili 儀禮) and Qiu Dun’s 丘濬 [1421–1495) model (in the Wengong jiali yijie 文公家禮儀節) . . . . The document form found in the Chinese wanbao quanshu was also used.” 納采書式,書規依俗禮。辭語取士昏禮丘儀成文,下同。唐本《萬寶全書》書式亦采用. An Chŏngbok, “Hollye chagŭi,” Sunam chip (k. 14).
  9. Ch’oe Sŏna 崔善雅, “Chosŏn ko akpo e nat’anan Manbo chŏnsŏ ŭi kŭmdoron” 朝鮮 古樂譜에 나타난 萬寶全書의 琴道論, Kongyŏn munhwa yŏn’gu (20), 2010.
  10. The author is identified only as “a disciple from Ŭngch’ŏn.” According to Ch’oe Sŏna’s study, Ŭngch’ŏn is an old name for Miryang 密陽 in Kyŏngsangpuk-to Province and thus Later Student from Ŭngch’ŏn may have been of the Miryang Pak 密陽朴氏 family. Because his ancestor had been to Beijing to buy Chinese books, and thus his family collected many books from China, he could have consulted the content related to the qin-zither in such books as the Collectanea of Jingchuan and the wanbao quanshu to compile the Revised Scores for the Korean Zither.
  11. Ch’oe Sŏna thus surveyed all the versions of wanbao quanshu, and discovered that Juan 13 of the 1610 Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures in Five Carts (Wuche wanbao quanshu 五車萬寶全書) and juan 9 of the 1612 Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures in Miraculous Brocade (Miaojin wanbao quanshu 妙錦萬寶全書) include the “Qin-zither” section; juan 18 of the 1739 Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures, Expanded and Supplemented (Zengbu wanbao quanshu 增補萬寶全書). Although the section title is “Jokes” 笑話, it includes “Qin-zither” within it. In a later (1823) edition of what seems to be the same text (Zengbu Wanbao quanshu, juan 11-20, in the Kyujanggak Collection), we find the same phenomenon: although the table of contents identifies juan 18 as the “Jokes” section, the second half of that section is identified at the block center as “Qin-zither, juan 18, and the contents of this portion were in fact “Precepts of playing the qin-zither,” “Eight ways to play a qin-zither” 彈琴八法, “Instructing qin-zither novices” 彈琴啟蒙, “Scores for the regular pentatonic play” 五音正操譜, and so forth, until the last line of the last leaf where it says, “End of ‘Jokes,’ juan 18” 談笑門十八卷終. It is apparent that the two sections were merged into one. In the original Ming editions, the “Qin-zither” section was more detailed. It became much more concise in the Qing editions—and was sometimes left out completely. But at times supplemental entries were added: for example, “Instructing qin-zither novices” and “Scores for regular pentatonic play.” Since the Korean writings on the qin-zither reflect knowledge of the information in these entries, their compilers perhaps saw both Ming and Qing editions.
  12. Suryŏng (single-volume manuscript, 31 leaves), Kyujanggak Collection (Call Number: 想白古352.051).
  13. Translator’s note: These are all methods of calculation. “Golden-Cicada Exuviation” (金蟬脫殼 “Kŭmsŏn talgak”; Ch. Jinchan tuoqiao) is a method of multiplication and division on abacus. “Spreading Out a Silk Carpet” (鋪地錦 “P’ojijin”; Ch. Pudijin) is similar to Islamic gelosia method of calculation in lattice grids. “Treasure of the Palm in Your Sleeve” (“Suri iljanggŭm”; Ch. Xiuli yizhangjin 袖裡一掌金) is a set of calculation methods using hand mnemonics involving the palm and knuckles.
  14. Translator’s note: “Method of Getting Cloth from Silk Yarn” (“Myŏnsa ku p’o pŏp”; Ch. Miansha qiu bu fa 綿紗求布法) is used to calculate how much cloth can be made with a given amount of silk yarn.
  15. Translator’s note: “Method of Getting Cooked Meat from Raw Meat” (“Saengyuk ku suk pŏp”; Ch. Shengrou qiu shu fa 生肉求熟法) is to calculate the size and weight of the meat of raw meat after it has been cooked.
  16. Translator’s note: “Method of Buying Cotton” (“Ŭn ku myŏnhwa pŏp”; Ch. Yin qiu mianhua fa 銀求綿花法) is to calculate how much cotton can be bought with a given amount of money.
  17. Translator’s note: “Measuring a Field” (“Chŏnmyo su”; Ch. Tianmu shu 田畝數) is to calculate the size of a farming field using paces.
  18. Translator’s note: “Mnemonic of Nine Returns” (“Kugwi kagyŏl”; Ch. Jiugui gejue 九歸歌訣) is a mnemonic for division by single-digit numbers on the abacus.
  19. Kim Yŏngsŏn 金永善, “Chungguk yusŏ ŭi Han’guk chŏllae wa suyong e kwanhan yŏn’gu” 中國類書의韓國傳來와 受容에 관한 研究, Sŏjihak yŏn’gu (26), 2003. Encyclopedias used in the court include the Outstanding Models from the Storehouse of Literature, Sea of Jade (Yuhai 玉海), Collection of Events and Literature, Categorized (Shiwen leiju 事文類聚), Expansive Record of the Taiping Reign Period (Taiping guangji 太平廣記), and Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs. Among them, the Collection of Events and Literature, Categorized was printed a few times in Chosŏn: E.g., Excerpts from the Shiwen leiju (事文類聚抄1799), Newly Compiled Shiwen leiju from Ancient Times to the Present ((新編古今事文類聚, 1891), and Thoroughly Collated Excerpts from the Shiwen leiju (詳校事文類聚抄, 1913). Kim Yŏngsŏn’s article failed to list some of them.
  20. Master Ch’oŭi’s secular surname was Chang 張. His dharma name (法名) was Ŭisun 意恂, and his ordination name(法號), Ch’oŭi. He also used such sobriquets as Haeong 海翁 and Iljiam 一枝庵.
  21. Translator’s note: Literally, “Many monasteries follow the advice of Zhaozhou.” This is an allusion to the Tang-Chinese Chan Master Zhaozhou 趙州禪師 (or Zhaozhou congshen 趙州從諗, 778–897), who was well-known for his response to a young monk seeking his teaching: “Chi cha qu” 喫茶去, “Then have a cup of tea.”
  22. Han’guk Pulgyo Chŏnsŏ 韓國佛教全書, Volume 10 (Dongguk University Press, 2009), p. 840. Re-quoted from Song Haegyŏng’s 宋海卿 article, Note 20.
  23. Translator’s note: The Classic of Tea (Cha jing 茶經) was written by Lu Yu 陸羽 (733–805) in China. The “Essentials of The Classic of Tea” 茶經採要 (also called “Tea Harvesting”) is part of Zhang Yuan’s 張源 (ca. 1595) Chalu 茶錄 [Record of Tea], which explained the practices of tea drinking in the late Ming.
  24. The seventh gāthā of the Tongda song is from “Spotty discoloration costs the essence” 點染失真 (14) of the wanbao quanshu; the ninth gāthā, from the “Fragrance” 香 (11); the fourteenth gāthā, from the “On harvesting the tea” 採茶論 (1); the fifteenth gāthā, from the “Making the tea” 造茶 (2), “Appreciating the tea” 品茶 (16), and “Way of brewing” 泡法 (8). See Song Haegyŏng, “Ch’oŭi Tasin chŏn tŭngch’o ŭi ch’a munhwasa-tsŏk ŭisik” 草衣 「茶神傳」 謄抄의 茶文化史的 意義, Han’guk sŏnhak 36 (2013).
  25. Yun Pyŏngsang 尹炳相, in his study of the classics of late-Chosŏn tea culture, Ch’ado kojŏn 茶道古典 (Yonsei University Press, 2007 and 2010), conducted a close comparison of Chronicle of the Tea Spirit, Ode to the Tea of the East, and Lu Yu’s The Classic of Tea; he, too, discusses Ch’oŭi’s use of the wanbao quanshu.
  26. The only variant in the title of the section appears in the Complete Compilation of Orthodox Instructions for Ten Thousand Uses, Categorically Divided in the Storehouse of Learning (Wanyong zhengzong fenlei xuefu quanbian 萬用正宗分類學府全編, a wanbao quanshu of 1607; in this work, the section on medicine is titled “Forest of medicine” 醫林門.
  27. Veritable Records of King Tanjong (Tanjong sillok 端宗實錄), 1455/4/4: “On the basis of the petition from the Ministry of Rites, the State Council requested, ‘As for such medical books as the Formulary of Imperial Grace (Shenghui fang 聖惠方), Certified Formulas in Permanent Categories (Yonglei qianfang 永類鈐方), Effective Formulas (Dexiaofang 得效方), Explanation of the Recipes from the Pharmaceutical Bureau (Hejifang yanyi 和劑方衍義), Supplement and Commentary to the Materia Medica (Bencao buzhu 本草補註), Illustrated Bronze Man Classic (Tongren jing 銅人經纂圖), and Illustrated Pulse Classic (Zuantu Maijing 纂圖脈經), as well as other formularies, we are without printing blocks for them. Please give linen to the envoys to Beijing and have them trade it for those books.’ The king agreed.” In Verifiable Records of the Chosŏn Dynasty 朝鮮王朝書錄, available at http://sillok.history.go.kr/.
  28. Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures, Expanded and Supplemented (Zengbu Wanbao quanshu, 1747 preface) is in the Harvard-Yenching Library; this work, including the “Medical Learning” and “Gestation” sections, may be viewed at https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:52498159$2i
  29. Sin’gak ch’ŏnha p’yŏllam Manbo chŏnsŏ, manuscript. 17.3 cm x 25.9 cm; thread-bound; irregular numbers of lines and characters, including Liu Zhuang’s Secret Transmission (Liu Zhuang mizhuan 柳莊秘傳), 1 vol. This work is held in the Adan Mun’go Collection 雅丹文庫, which also contains two other Chinese editions (of the Wanbao quanshu)
  30. The manuscript, photo-scanned and digitally edited, was published by Hong Chongsŏn 洪宗善, Yi Tongsŏk 李東錫, and Ham Hŭijin 咸熙珍 (coll.), as Man-wan po-bao chŏn-quan sŏ-shu 만萬보寶전全서書 (Center for Sino-Korean Translation and Documents with Hakkobang Publishing Co., 2009). This was the first title in the “Collection of Materials for the History of Hangŭl in Daily Life 한글생활사자료총서 (Translated encyclopedias)” series edited by Professor Pak Chaeyŏn 朴在淵 at the Center for Sino-Korean Translation and Documents 中韓翻譯文獻研究所 of Sun Moon University. (Professor Pak has also published in digital versions of a large number of annotated editions of Ming-Qing fiction that had been translated into Korean using hangŭl during the Chosŏn period [ŏnhaebon 諺解本].) The publication of this book is quite significant. When other ŏnhae editions were published, only a few of them could include the photocopies of the original. Being able to include a photocopy of the original ŏnhae edition of the Wanbao quanshu in the publication was thus a very fortunate outcome. Its size is enormous: even reducing the size to contain four leaves on each page, the entire book came to a total of 1,148 pages. The preface to the Man-wan po-bao chŏn-quan sŏ-shu briefly introduces the publication of Ming wanbao quanshu. Ham Hŭijin, one of the collators of the work and a scholar of Korean linguistic history, has published a separate article that discusses the sources for the translations, but does not come to any clear conclusions about them The article further examines the lexicon and syntax of the ŏnhae text and their significance in late-Chosŏn linguistic history. See Ham Hŭijin, “Manbo chŏnsŏ ŏnhae ŭi sŏji-jŏk koch’al kwa kŭ ŏnŏ-jŏk t’ŭkching” 萬寶全書諺解의 서지적 고찰과 그 언어적 특징, Ŏmun nonjip (59), 2009. With the exception of these works, there has been very little discussion of this ŏnhae-edition wanbao quanshu.
  31. The writing on the cover is not clear; the inside text has “Dice play drinking game” 硃窩酒令 and “Dice game suit forms” 硃窩譜式.
  32. The work notes that the Qing emperor Qianlong had been sixty years on the throne, which means the year 1796.
  33. This is the Comprehensive Compendium of Myriad Treasures, Expanded and Supplemented (Zengbu wanbao quanshu), with a preface dated 1747, held by the Harvard-Yenching Library. It can be viewed at https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu.manifests.view/drs:52498159$2i.
  34. The complete list is: “Country ox with money” 有錢村牛, “Gluttony” 嘲人貪食, “False mercy” 假作慈悲, “Old man fornicating with daughter-in-law” 嘲翁爬灰, “Fool by nature” 嘲人性呆, “Bickering between the wife and the concubine” 妻妾爭風, “Rich man makes a thief” 富人為賊, “Monks harmonize each other” 和尚相調, “Monk leaves excitement behind” 和尚遺興, “Love of alcohol” 嘲人戀酒, “Deception” 譏人弄乖,“An old man” 誚老人, “Yin-yang creature” 誚陰陽生, “Fondling fengshui” 笑求風水, “Gentleman of the Interior” 譏笑郎中, “Beardless” 嘲人無鬚, “Another beardless” ([又] 嘲人無鬚), “A blind man” 嘲瞎眼人, “Near-sighted” 嘲近視眼, “Pock-mark face” 嘲麻面人, “Petty official sells his buttocks” 小官賣屁股, “An adulterous daughter-in-law” 嘲人姦媳, “Poisonous mouth” 嘲人口毒, “Another poisonous mouth,” “A teacher mocks the employer” 先生誚王, and “Mr. Poverty” 困窮先生.

Cite: Ch’oe Yongch’ŏl, “The Transmission and Translation of the Wanbao
quanshu in Chosŏn Korea,” Lingua Franca, Issue 6 (2020),
https://www.sharpweb.org/linguafranca/2020-ch’oe.