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Kingship away from Kingdom: The Life of King Ch’ungsŏn (1275–1325)

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Abstract

King Ch’ungsŏn 忠宣, called Wang Chang 王璋, the 26th King of the Koryŏ Dynasty, was a unique figure among Korean kings. Born to King Ch’ungnyǒl and Qubilai Qa’an’s daughter, he also married a Mongol princess, thereby becoming an imperial son-in-law (güregen). During his first reign (1298), he made efforts to reform Koryŏ politics but several months later was deposed by the Mongols and moved to the Mongol capital Dadu 大都. In Dadu, King Ch’ungsŏn served in the royal guard (keshig) for 10 years. In the succession struggle that followed Temür Qa’an’s demise in 1307 he distinguished himself in the service of Qaishan (武宗) and Ayurbarwada (仁宗) and rose to power at the Mongol court, and in 1308 was restored to the Korean throne in Koryŏ. Just after the coronation he returned to Dadu and remained there despite Korean and Mongol appeals. When his long sojourn in Dadu provoked criticism, he abdicated for his son but continued to be involved in Korean affairs from his Dadu residence. However, after the death of Ayurbarwada, Wang Chang was banished to Sakya, Tibet, for reasons that are still debated. The new Qa’an Yesün Temür (泰定帝), pardoned him after more than two years in exile. However, even then, he did not return to Koryŏ but ended his life in the Mongol capital, Dadu. Wang Chang’s life demonstrates the complicated relationship between the Mongols and their vassal dynasties.


Note:

Korean names and words are romanized using the McCune-Reischauer system as defined by the Library of Congress.

Tibetan names and words are romanized using Tibetan Phonetic Transcription; Wylie transliterations are in parenthesis.


Funding statement: European Research Council (ERC grant agreement n° 312397: 'European Union's Seventh Framework Programme' (FP7/2007-2013)).

Abbreviations

KRS: Chŏng Inji 정인지 et al. (1451): Koryŏsa 高麗史 (History of Koryŏ).

JT: Rashīd al-Dīn Fazl Allah Hamadānī (1994) [1300–1310]: Jāmi’ al-Tawārīkh, ed. Muhammad Rūshan and Muṣṭafī Mūsavī. Teherān: Katībe.

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Published Online: 2018-2-1
Published in Print: 2018-2-23

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