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- Certificate of Meritorious Subject Issued to Sim J
Certificate of Meritorious Subject Issued to Sim J
The certificate was issued in the name of King Taejo by the Gongsindogam (Office of Meritorious Subject) in October 1397, six years into the king’s reign in recognition of meritorious subject Sim Ji-baek. According to the text on the certificate, Sim Ji-baek, former county magistrate of Hwangju Choe Sa-yong, and dozens of others were appraised as meritorious subjects in November 1395 (the 4th year of King Taejo’s reign). The certificate was issued as a royal order on September 11, 1397, 6 years into King Taejo’s reign, recognizing and rewarding the subjects’ good deeds.
Such details were omitted in Joseon wangjo sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty) and revealed for the first time when the certificate was discovered. Over 1,400 people were selected as meritorious subjects over the course of 1392 to 1397, and 74 of them received the certificate of meritorious subjects. They were rewarded with 15 gyeol (a unit of land measure of Joseon) of rice paddies, following the precedent of the Great General Yi Hwa-yeong, and their parents were granted titles of nobility, and their descendants were given positions in court. The privileges were handed down to the descendants as they were also given favorable treatment and exempt from the most degrading kinds of work.
Most certificates from later periods were printed with metal movable type, but this certificate is in the form of a scroll, reflecting the styles of the early Joseon Dynasty. The ancient document is written in yidu, a Korean notation system used since the Silla Dynasty, which makes this certificate even more valuable for research. Another unique aspect is that the certificate was printed with movable wooden print. The earliest metal movable print to date was Gyemija from 1403 (the 3rd year into King Taejo’s reign). The wooden movable print used for the certificate is earlier than the metal Gyemija although the materials are different, and is thought to be the oldest document printed using movable print. It became common to print meritorious subject certificates with metal movable print later in the period, but this certificate is in a form of a scroll, showing the characteristics of certificates from the early part of the Joseon Dynasty. It is regarded as the best certificate that exists in Korea.
- Designated Number : National Treasure No. 69
- Designated Date : May 22, 1958
- Category : Calligraphy and paintingsㆍRoyal edict (Royal certificate)
- Material, Size : Wooden movable type on paper, 135㎝ x 30.5㎝
- Period and Author : The 6th year of King Taejo’s reign (1397), Gongsindogam (Office of Meritorious Subject)
- Location : Dong-A University Museum