What is this panel with Chinese characters about?
February 18, 2014 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend, who has on his office wall this wooden panel, about 3 feet by 4 feet, divided into 18 sections each densely filled with Chinese (I assume) writing. It came from his mother's estate, he has know idea where she acquired it. There is also writing on the outside edges of the panel. It's hard to tell whether the writing was done directly on the wood, or on paper which was then pasted to the panel. Here's a shot of one of the sections, and here's another. Can anyone translate some of this and provide an idea of what it is all about? And any idea how old it might be?
posted by beagle to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This took some digging. The text (at least of the panels with close-up shots) is from a book called 孤山集 ("the collected works of Kosan", Kosan being a place name roughly translating as "lonely mountain"). It was written by a Korean Confucian scholar named 李惟樟 (modern Korean pronunciation Yi Yu-Jang) who lived 1625-1701. At the time, Korean scholars wrote in Classical Chinese, so the language is indeed Chinese.

The book and the author seem rather obscure; looks like a few copies of the book are kept in university collections. I couldn't find much else about the author or book on the Internet apart from a cite in a doctoral thesis about Neo-Confucianism.

You can see some clear scans from the book at this website. Click all the way to the right on the preview pages, the 3rd and 4th images from the left are the same text as one of the panels you posted.

As for the actual text, my Classical Chinese isn't great, but in general most Confucian texts are about righteous conduct, virtue, filial piety, upholding the rites, etc, etc. I'd start with the Wikipedia article on Confucianism.
posted by pravit at 5:27 PM on February 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Many thanks pravit!
posted by beagle at 2:10 PM on February 19, 2014

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