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[The Korea Review]Q&A from The Korea Review 4편

1901 1월 서울, 미국인 헐버트는 한국에 관심을 가진 서양인들이 활발하게 소통할 수 있는 장을 마련하기 위하여 영문 잡지 『코리아 리뷰(The Korea Review)』를 창간하였습니다.

1901년부터 1906년까지 발행되어 세계 곳곳에 배포된 이 『코리아 리뷰(The Korea Review)』의 <질의응답>세션에는 그 당시 외국인들이 한국인들에게 품은 질문과 그에 대한 답변이 실려있는데요

그 당시 외국인들의 눈에는 한국인들의 어떤 점이 특이하고, 재미있게 비춰졌을까요?

자 그럼, 구한말 한국인에 대한 서양인들의 궁금증을 해결해준 Q&A from The Korea Review.
5월호에 실린 이야기 들려드리겠습니다.

Q. Is there anything to show that the Koreans have ever been believers in the doctrine of transmigration of souls?

A. We know of no such belief, of a purely native character, but it was brought in by Buddhism to some extent. A remarkable instance of this can be seen in the Yong-dosa, a monastery a couple of miles outside the East Gate. In the building where the Buddhist representation of Hell is given there are eleven pictures, one of which shows a great pile of skins, tiger skins, bear skins, wolf skins, fox skins and a dozen other kinds. The condemned criminals are being forcibly stuffed into these skins by the imps who do not seem to be at all careful of the feelings or tastes of their victims. This is evidence enough that Buddhism taught Koreans the doctrine of transmigration, but the question remains whether there is a native and indigenous belief in transmigration. Probably not, in the sense in which it is understood in India—namely a succession of incarnations whereby a final perfection can be reached. But Korean folk-lore is full of stories of people changing into animals and animals into people; more often the latter than the former. This metamorphosis, however, has not the spiritual significance of transmigration.

Q. How are the different grades of Korean society distinguished in the matter of dress?

A. This supposes the previous question as to what the Korean grades of society are. We nave (a) the official class (b) the Yang-ban or gentleman class (3) the Chung-in or middle, class (4) the common class (5) the slave class (6) the Ch’il-ban or pariah class. The official class is supposed to be drawn exclusively from the Yang-ban class, though there are not a few exceptions. The officials only can wear the court costume or the button behind the ear and in ordinary dress they alone can wear the silk waist cord with tassels and the colored, silk outer coat without sleeves. The Yang-ban class and the common class were formerly distinguished by the use of the long sleeved coat by the former and not by the latter, but this is now abolished. Today there is no marked distinction in dress among the men, but among the women those of the upper class always fold the skirt to the left in placing it under the girdle while those of the lower class always fold it to the right. The Chung-in or “half and half class,” midway between the two just mentioned, are generally the result of mixed marriages or of concubinage and they are not specially distinguished from the upper class, although theoretically ineligible to official position. The slave class comes next below the common class but they can wear the Korean hat and head-band and leather shoes which are denied to the lowest or Ch’il-ban class. These latter include convicts, gymnasts, exorcists, sorcerers, fortune tellers and dancing-girls. The butchers have lately been raised from this to the common class. Corpse-bearers are also considered as belonging to the Chil-ban. These people may not wear the Korean hat and head-band which are the distinctive marks of citizenship, nor the leather shoes. They wear a cloth about the head and straw shoes on their feet.

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