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During the reigns of Yŏngjo (r. 1724–76) and Chŏngjo (r. 1776–1800), royal audiences and tests were established as important components of the mangbaerye-day events. For the two rulers, the audience was an occasion to use the significance of the rituals to justify bureaucratic promotions for the attendees. The literary and military tests on mangbaerye days were systematized by Yŏngjo and administered by the ruler as a stage in the state examination. By assuming leading ideological roles through rituals, Yŏngjo was able to present the image of a sage-ruler with supreme political and ideological authority. Chŏngjo refrained from bestowing examination privileges in the mangbaerye tests, making the mangbaerye days special occasions for disseminating Ming loyalism. In the nineteenth century, the frequency of Ming loyalist rituals was significantly reduced, and royal audiences came to a complete halt. Moreover, the rituals incrementally lost ground as events for highlighting the importance of the ritual attendees. The mangbaerye-day tests in the nineteenth century served as a venue to promote participating families’ political advancement, rather than as an occasion to bolster the monarchical authority and power.
Journal of Korean Studies – Duke University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2022
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