The plum blossom is regarded as the tree embodying most fully the principle of continuously giving life in the Neo-Confucian tradition, because it begins to flower in the cold winter. For this symbolic signification, the plum blossom became one of the most beloved subjects of Neo-Confucian literati s poetry in Joseon Korea. In this paper, I divide the history of plum blossom poetry in Joseon Korea into three time periods and discuss some representative poets and their salient features in each period. In the early period, Seo Geo-jeong, Kim Si-seup and Kim An-ro produced notable poems on the subject of plum blossom. The image of an outsider rejecting the hoi polloi and leading a cloistered life was expressed in Kim s Si-seup s and playfulness was fully exploited in Kim An-ro s. In the middle period, Yi Hwang, his disciples, and an Andong Kim family (Su-jeung, Chang-hyeop, and Chang-heup) are noteworthy. Yi Hwang, who studied deeply the learning of mind-and-heart and emphasized the self-cultivation of inner life, not just composed many poems on the plum blossom but also enjoyed poem giving-and-taking with his disciples. In fact, Yi invented a new style of plum-blossom conversation poetry by composing a poem repeating a pattern of poet s questioning and replying to his imagined interlocutor plum blossom: about the meaning of pureness and truthfulness and the principles of advancing toward/retreating away from government service. This style attracted many readers and influenced several later poets, to a great extent. Kim Su-jeung, Chang-hyeop, and Chang-heup felt doubts seriously about the political life and factional strives of Joseon court and searched for ways of becoming the true hermit. In so doing, they composed many poems on the plum, where we can see some influences of Shao Yong s numerological cosmology. In the late period, we can see developments of poetry societies and their collective works of plum blossom poetry especially in the late 18th century: for example, Noron (the Elder faction) literati s poem entitled Bingdeung jobin yeon (A winter night feast for poets), a Seoulite plum society s poems, and Yi Deok-mu s and his friends poems on the plum blossoming in the spring month of the lunar calendar. All these exhibited a new trend that emerged in the late period of Joseon Korea. In the 19th century, Sin Wi, Jeong Hak-yeon, Jo Byeong-hyeon, and Yi Hak-gyu created respectively scores of poems on the plum blossom. In particular, adopting the style of Ju Yunming s Meihua baiyong (One hundred songs of the plum blossom), Sin and Jeong wrote several serial poems on the plum blossom. The most strong and consistent meaning of plum blossom poetry in Joseon Korea can be seen as coming from the symbolic signification of the hexagram Fu (returing) in I Ching. The underlying reason why such many Korean Neo-Confucian literati did persistently write poems on the subject of plum blossom might be that the blossoming of plum in the winter solstice offered them some moments to reflect on nature s principle of continuously giving life and thereby encouraged them to realize Heaven s way in accordance with their Neo-Confucianism.
2. 조선 전기의 매화시 : 서거정․김시습․김안로의 매화시
3. 조선 중기의 매화시
4. 조선 후기의 매화시