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Tombstones without a Tomb

Tombstones without a Tomb


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  • Press Release
  • Sindeok, the First Queen of the Joseon Dynasty

    Heavy, intricately carved tombstones are embedded in the banks of theCheonggyecheon Stream that cuts through downtown Seoul, in the shadows of the Gwangtonggyo Bridge, echoing the story of their owner, Queen Sindeok, the first of the Joseon Dynasty. Why are these stones here under the bridge, out in public view, rather than surrounding their assigned tomb, the Royal Tomb of Queen Sindeok?

    To examine and understand this enigmatic situation, Tombstones without a Tomb first seeks to understand why the status of Queen Sindeok, who played a crucial role in the foundation of the new dynasty, was degraded after her death, and then traces the process of how the Queen’s honor has since been restored. As the hidden story unfolds, the book brings awareness to the history of Neo-Confucianism and the Neo-Confucian mindset among scholar-officials and the throne throughout the six hundred years of the Joseon dynasty.


    A well-organized and useful resource, this original English publication helps readers explore the life and legacy of Queen Sindeok and take a look into the Neo-Confucian society of the Joseon Dynasty.










    Preface and Acknowledgements


    A Note to the Readers






    Part One – Honor (1335–1397)


    Chapter 1 The Emergence of Yi Seonggye and Lady Kang


    Chapter 2 Second Wife: Goryeo, 1356–1392 41


    Chapter 3 Illustrious Consort: Joseon, 1392–1396


    Chapter 4 Queen Sindeok: Joseon, 1396–1397




    Part Two – Dishonor (1398–1450)


    Chapter 5 The Chess Master


    Chapter 6 Four Significant Sites


    Chapter 7 Repairing and Appeasing




    Part Three – Ideological Warfare (1500–1669)


    Chapter 8 The Rise of the Scholar-Officials


    Chapter 9 A Young Man’s Request


    Chapter 10 One Decade, Two Extremes


    Chapter 11 Crescendo


    Chapter 12 Finally, Enshrinement




    Part Four – A Name Remembered (1674–2005)


    Chapter 13 From Honor to Honors 163


    Chapter 14 Into the Twentieth Century 175


    Chapter 15 Tombstones without a Tomb 182


    Chapter 16 Reflections 188




    Epilogue I Am Introduced to the Queen 192


    Appendixes 197


    Notes 208


    Glossary 218


    Bibliography 221


    Index 231


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