Gongmin of Goryeo

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Gongmin of Goryeo
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Gongmin wang
McCune–Reischauer Kongmin wang
Pen name
Hangul also
Hanja also
Revised Romanization Ijae also Ikdang
McCune–Reischauer Ijae also Iktang
Birth name
Hangul earlier
Hanja earlier
Revised Romanization Wang Jeon earlier Wang Gi
McCune–Reischauer Wang Chŏn earlier Wang Ki
Sino-Korean Mongolian name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Baegancheopmoga
McCune–Reischauer Paegan Ch'ŏpmoga
Monarchs of Korea
Goryeo
  1. Taejo 918–943
  2. Hyejong 943–945
  3. Jeongjong 945–949
  4. Gwangjong 949–975
  5. Gyeongjong 975–981
  6. Seongjong 981–997
  7. Mokjong 997–1009
  8. Hyeonjong 1009–1031
  9. Deokjong 1031–1034
  10. Jeongjong II 1034–1046
  11. Munjong 1046–1083
  12. Sunjong 1083
  13. Seonjong 1083–1094
  14. Heonjong 1094–1095
  15. Sukjong 1095–1105
  16. Yejong 1105–1122
  17. Injong 1122–1146
  18. Uijong 1146–1170
  19. Myeongjong 1170–1197
  20. Sinjong 1197–1204
  21. Huijong 1204–1211
  22. Gangjong 1211–1213
  23. Gojong 1213–1259
  24. Wonjong 1259–1274
  25. Chungnyeol 1274–1308
  26. Chungseon 1308–1313
  27. Chungsuk 1313–1330
    1332–1339
  28. Chunghye 1330–1332
    1339–1344
  29. Chungmok 1344–1348
  30. Chungjeong 1348–1351
  31. Gongmin 1351–1374
  32. U 1374–1388
  33. Chang 1388–1389
  34. Gongyang 1389–1392
Portrait of King Gongmin

King Gongmin (23 May 1330 – 27 October 1374) ruled Goryeo Dynasty Korea from 1351 until 1374. He was the second son of King Chungsuk. In addition to his various Korean names (see right), he bore the Mongolian name Bayan Temür (伯顔帖木兒).

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Goryeo had been a protectorate of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty since the Mongol invasion of Korea. Starting with King Chungnyeol, prospective rulers of Korea married Mongolian princesses and were customarily sent to the Yuan Court, in effect, as hostages. As per this custom, King Gongmin spent many years in the Yuan court, being sent there in 1341, before ascending the Korean throne. He married a Mongolian princess who became Queen Noguk. The Yuan Dynasty began to crumble during the mid-14th century, and was eventually conquered and replaced by the Ming dynasty in 1368.

Reign[edit]

With the disintegration of Yuan, which had influenced the Korean peninsula since the Mongol invasions of Korea of 1238, Gongmin began efforts to reform Goryeo government. His first act was to remove all pro-Mongol aristocrats and military officers from their positions. These deposed people formed a dissident faction which plotted an unsuccessful coup against the king. High official Jo Il-shin even tried to take over the government, but this rebellion was put down by general Choi Young.

During the Mongol invasion of Korea, between the 1250s and the 1270s, the Mongolians had annexed thenorthern provinces of Korea and incorporated them into their empire as Ssangseong (쌍성총관부, 雙城摠管府) and Dongnyeong Prefectures (동녕부, 東寧府). In 1356, Goryeo army retook these provinces partly thanks to the defection of Yi Ja-chun, a minor Korean official in service of Mongolians in Ssangseong, and his son, Yi Seong-gye. In addition, Generals Yi Seong-gye and Ji Yongsu led a campaign into Liaoyang.

Another issue was the question of land holdings. The land-grant system had broken down, and Mongol-favoured officials, along with a handful of landed gentry, owned the vast majority of agricultural land, which was worked by tenant farmers and bondsmen. However, King Gongmin's attempt at land reform was met with opposition and subterfuge from those officials who were supposed to implement his reforms, as they were landowners themselves.

The Wokou were also a problem encountered during Gongmin's reign. The Wokou had been troubling the peninsula for some time and had become well-organized military marauders raiding deep into the country, rather than the "hit-and-run" bandits they started as. Generals Choi Young and Yi Seong-gye were called upon by Gongmin to combat them.

Additionally, Gongmin grappled with the Red Turban troops, who invaded Goryeo twice during his reign (first in 1359 and again in 1361). In 1361, the Red Turban troops occupied Kaesong for a short period of time. After Kaesong was recaptured by Generals Choe Yeong, Yi Seong-gye, Jeong Seun, Yi Bang-sil, few Red Turban troops managed to escape with their lives.

During the reign of Gongmin, a Goryeo diplomat, Mun Ik-jeom, stationed in China managed to smuggle cotton seeds into Goryeo, introducing them to the Korean peninsula for the first time.

Although the relationship between Queen Noguk and the king was very close, they failed to conceive an heir for many years. Despite suggestions of taking a second wife, King Gongmin ignored these requests. Queen Noguk became pregnant but died from complications with childbirth in 1365. Her death led to Gongmin's depression and mental instability. King Gongmin became indifferent to politics and entrusted the great tasks of state to Pyeonjo, a Buddhist monk who was born as the son of a princess and a slave. Judging him as clever, Gongmin renamed Pyeonjo as Shin Don. Having the full confidence of King Gongmin, Shin Don tried to reform the society of Goryeo. In 1365, Gongmin gave Pyeonjo the nickname "Cheonghan Geosa", and the noble title of Jinpyeonghu (Chinpyŏng Marquess). After six years, Shin Don lost his position and King Gongmin had him executed in 1371.

Goryeo's entrenched bureaucracy never forgave King Gongmin for his reform efforts. They interpreted his policy of cutting all ties with the Yuan and establishing relations with Ming China as a direct threat to their status and feared that further attempts at reform might yet be made. Kaesong's deposed pro-Mongol faction battled to protect its position and hoped to renew ties with the Mongols who had helped them gain and hold their wealth in the first place.

Cheonsan Daeryeop Do, "Portrait of A Hunt in the Mountains of Heaven".

Death[edit]

In 1374, he was killed by Choe Man-saeng (최만생) and others. One of the young men, Hong Ryun (홍륜) had relations with one of Gongmin's concubines, which led to Gongmin's anger. So before Gongmin could kill him, Hong Ryun and Choe Man-saeng killed Gongmin in his sleep.

After his death, a high official Yi In-im assumed the helm of the government and enthroned eleven-year-old, King U.

Although he did not receive a temple name of a king, because the political situation of the time following his death did not recognize him as such, he proclaimed himself king as a part of reformations he undertook in order to reinstate Goryeo's position as an independent nation.[citation needed]

As An Artist[edit]

Yeon Je-shin's Portrait, painted by Gongmin around the 1370s.

King Gongmin was well known for his artistic skills, and he is referred to as one of the best artists of the Goryeo period. He was also well known for his calligraphy works.

Example of his works are:

  • "Portrait of A Hunt in the Mountains of Heaven" 《天山大獵圖 (천산대렵도 Cheonsan Daeryeop Do)》
  • "Portrait of Two Sheep" 《二羊圖 (이양도 I Yang Do)》
  • "Portrait of Princess Noguk" 《魯國大長公主真 (노국대장공주진 Noguk Daejang Gongju Jin)》
  • "Portrait of Yeom Je-shin 《廉悌臣象 (염제신상 Yeom Je-shin Sang)》, 1370's
  • "Portrait of Sohn Hong-ryang" 《孫洪亮象 (손홍량상 Sohn Hong-ryang Sang)》
  • "Portrait of Śākyamuni's Leaving Mountain" 《釋迦出山像 (석가출산상 Seokga Chulsan Sang)》
  • "Portrait of Epang Palace" 《阿房宮圖 (아방궁도 Ahbanggung Do)》
  • "Portrait of Hyeonreung" 《玄陵山水圖 (현릉산수도 Hyeonreung Sansu Do)》
  • "Portrait of Bodhidharma Crossing a River with a Broken Branch" 《達磨折蘆渡江圖 (달마절로도강도 Dalma Jeollo Dogang Do)》
  • Dongjabohyeon Yugabaeksang Do《童子普賢六牙白象圖 (동자보현육아백상도)》

Family[edit]

  • Father: King Chungsuk (충숙왕)
  • Mother: Queen Gongwon of the Namyang Hong clan (공원왕후 홍씨, July 18, 1298 - January 1380)[1]
  • Consorts and their Respective Issue:
  1. Borjigin Budashiri, the Princess Noguk, posthumously known as Queen Indeok (孛兒只斤寶塔實里 노국대장공주 인덕왕후, ?-February 16, 1365)[2][3][4] - No issue, died in childbirth.
  2. Consort Hye of the Gyeongju Lee clan (혜비 이씨, ?-February 3, 1408)[5][6][7][8] - No issue.
  3. Consort Yik of the Han clan[9] (익비 한씨, dates unknown)[10]
    1. Lady Hong (홍씨, ?-1376) - daughter by Hong Ryun (홍륜), one of Gongmin's pederastic bodyguards.
  4. Consort Shin of the Seoheung Yeom clan (신비 염씨, dates unknown)[7][11][12] - No issue.
  5. Consort Jeong of the Jukju Ahn clan[13] (정비 안씨, ?-1428년)[7][14][15][16] - No issue.
  6. Palace Girl of the Han clan (궁인 한씨, dates unknown) - No issue.
  7. Han Ban Ya (반야, ?-March 1376)[17]
    1. Monino (모니노/무니노)

Popular depictions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Second daughter of Hong Gyu (홍규, 1242-1316). Younger sister of Lady Sunhwa, Consort Won (순화원비, ?-August 13, 1306), one of King Chungseon (Chungsuk's predecessor)'s concucbines.
  2. ^ Daughter of Bayr Temür (孛羅帖木兒), only son of Borjigin Amüge (孛兒只斤阿木哥, ?-1324), eldest son of Borjigin Darmabala (孛兒只斤答剌麻八剌, 1264-1292), second son of Borjigin Činkim ((孛兒只斤真金, 1243-January 05, 1286), second son of Kublai Khan).
  3. ^ Niece of Princess Joguk (조국장공주, 1308-October 20, 1325), only daughter of Borjigin Amüge (孛兒只斤阿木哥); King Chungsuk's second Yuan bride after the first, Princess Bukguk (복국장공주), Esen Temür (也先帖木兒)'s daughter and Kublai's granddaughter, died in 1319.
  4. ^ Married Gongmin in 1349, after an earlier Yuan bride, Princess Seungeui (승의공주) was promptly returned back.
  5. ^ Daughter of Lee Je-hyeon (이제현) & Lady Suchonguk of the Park clan (수춘국부인 박씨).
  6. ^ Married Gongmin in April 24, 1359.
  7. ^ a b c Three of the royal consorts were placed under suspicion of having intimate relations with two of Gongmin's pederastic bodyguards Han Ahn (한안) & Hong Ryun (홍륜), and were later kicked out of the palace.
  8. ^ Also known by her title "Lady Hyehwa" (혜화궁주), posthumously granted (along with Consort Shin) by King Taejong of Joseon on her death during the 8th year of King Taejong of Joseon's rule.
  9. ^ Originally from the Gaeseong Wang clan (개성 왕씨)
  10. ^ Adoptive daughter of Wang Ui (왕의, dates unknown), Prince Deokpung (덕풍군) (Wang Ki (왕기, 1021-1069) Prince Jeongggan (정간왕)'s son; King Hyeonjong & Queen Wonhye's second son).
  11. ^ Eldest daughter of Yeom Je-shin (염제신, October 30, 1304-March 18, 1382), whose portrait was done by Gongmin himself.
  12. ^ Posthumously restored to her title in September 22, 1374 (23rd year of Gongmin).
  13. ^ Also known as Royal Dowager Queen Jeongsuk (정숙왕대비) on her stepsons King U & King Chang's rule.
  14. ^ Daughter of Ahn Geuk-in (안극인), Prince Jeukseong (죽성군).
  15. ^ Aunt of Consort Hyeon (현비, dates unknown), one of King U's concubines; daughter of Ahn Seuk-ro (안숙로), her younger brother.
  16. ^ Also known by her title "Lady Uihwa" (의화궁주), posthumously granted by Sejong on her death (10th year of Sejong's rule).
  17. ^ Shin Don's maid.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Chungjeong
Goryeo Dynasty
1351–1374
Succeeded by
U