Chinese and Korean Calendar Making: The Chosŏn Court's discussions about the Preparation of the Calendar for 1735
Yung Sik Kim
Seoul National University
Chinese and Korean Calendar Making:
The Chosŏn Court’s Discussions about the Preparation of the Calendar for 1735
Each year for centuries the Chosŏn government underwent the process of preparing and printing a large number of calendars to be used by all levels of government and the population in the following year. I examine the discussions carried out by the king and the literati officials at the Chosŏn court about the preparation and the printing of the calendar for the year 1735, when they faced the possibility of the Chosŏn calendar having a different intercalary month from that of the Qing imperial calendar. I will show how they tried to avoid such a conflict, but at the same time struggled to maintain their method of accomplishing a calendar (chengli zhi fa 成曆之法) by holding on to the principle of choosing intercalary months based on the time of the fortnightly periods (jieqi 節氣) in Chosŏn. This episode provides another illustration of the complexity in the way the Chosŏn king and literati perceived and reacted to the Chosŏn-Qing “tributary” relation. In addition, I hope that it also sheds some light on the different attitudes and levels of understanding they had about the knowledge and problems of calendar making, and about the calendar specialists belonging to the “middle people” (chung’in 中人) class.