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[The Korea Review]Q&A from The Korea Review 8편


지금으로부터 100년도 훨씬 전인, 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.
1902
2월호에 실린 질문과 답변들 들려드리겠습니다.


Q. What is the history of the “white Buddha”?

A. In the days of king Mŭyng-jong, 15451567 A.D., there was a high official named Kim Su-dong  who was so celebrated that it was a common saying among Koreans “If a son is born like Kim Su-dong the father will be a blessed man.” He was one of the finest looking men that Korea ever produced. In the matrimonial market he secured anything but a prize. Whether it was the fault of a Chung-ma, or “bride finder” is not told, but the fact remains that when the bridal paste was taken off her face he found that her face was twice as broad as the canons of Korean beauty permit, that the pock marks in her face were as big as thimbles and that her eyes sloped down, giving her a most ugly expression. When Kim Su-dong realized the truth, whatever his feelings may have been, he made no complaint whatever but bore his misfortune with the greatest equanimity. Not so his mother. With the exaggerated prerogative of the Korean mother-in-law she treated the unfortunate woman brutally. Her husband expostulated, saying that it was not the girl’s fault that she was born ugly; but the mother would listen to no excuse. She kept the girl in a dark room where no one could see her and made her work night and day. Not content with this she hunted up the go-between or “bride-finder” and had some exciting passages at arms with her, which, it is hinted, had a decidedly depilatory effect. This went on for a couple of years during which time a son was born to the unfortunate woman. At last the mother-in-law could stand it no longer to have such a fright of a daughter-in-law about, so one day when Kim was away she drove the woman from the house with the child. The young woman had borne everything patiently but this was too much. In a terrible passion she went away to a little hovel and deliberately starved herself to death. Of course Kim could do nothing for her as long as his mother hated her so. The night she died she sent a message to her husband and said: “I am dying and all I ask is that you bury me beside some running stream where the fresh water flowing over my body will cool my fevered spirit.” He paid no attention to the request but buried her on a hill-side. A few nights later her spirit appeared to him in a dream and reproached him for not heeding her request, but he answered that if a body is buried beside water it will be very bad. because, as everyone knows, if water gets into a grave the dead man’s body will smell and the result will be that his relatives will swell up and die.

But the woman’s ghost persisted, and begged to be buried beside the stream which runs through the valley outside the Ch’ang-eui gate, below the water gate called Hong-wha gate. Kim told it to the king and the latter gave him a spot beside the stream and told him to obey the spirit’s mandate. So Kim buried her in the bed of the stream beneath a great boulder and on its surface carved her semblance. It was called the Ha-su or “Ocean Water” which had been the woman’s name. In time it came to be considered a sacred place and people in passing would pray for good luck or even bring food and offer it. Some monks seeing this built a little house, confirmed the holy character of the place -and ate the rice. This caused an addition to the name of the two characters Kwan-an or “Hall of Peace.” So it is known to-day as “The Ocean Water’s Hall of Peace.” It is the presence of the monks that has made foreigners call this the “White buddha.” The face is that of a woman and an examination of the dress will show that it is a woman’s garb. They say that however high the water of the brook may be it never wets the image but flows around it like a whirlpool.


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