The Khitais and Jurchens as Seen from the Korea Peninsula

Kyoto University Press 2011
                                        The Khitais and Jurchens as Seen from the Korea Peninsula
                                                            AISIN GIORO Ulhicun  and  YOSHIMOTO Michimasa
Foreword: A New Stage in the Study on the History of the Relationship between the Korea Peninsula and the Khitais and Jurchens
  Japan was the first nation in Northeast Asia to adopt the modern sciences that had originated in 19th-century Europe. In the earliest stages of the study of oriental history, it was precisely ”Manchu-Korea history” that flourished most within the realm of Northeast Asian studies. For a period after the Second World War, the field was avoided because it was associated with nationalist policies, but with the increase of newly excavated archaeological materials since the 1970s, there has been a revival in studies of Northeast Asia history.
      China and Korea treat the history of Northeast Asia centered on Manchuria as a part of their own national histories, and international disputes on the correct historical understanding of Northeast Asia, such as those over the character of Gaogouli/Goguryeo and Bohai/Balhae, have become heated. These disputes, in fact, also concern Japan, which today must deal with territorial issues with neighboring states. While it is certainly true that these disputes have enlivened academic studies, they have, on the other hand, intensified extreme nationalistic sentiments to a remarkable degree. These disputes over the proper historical understanding are often fruitless and soon deadlocked. One of the causes of this failure to resolve these disputes is lack of an ability to conduct textual criticism of primary sources. In the study of the history of Northeast Asia after 10th century, the scripts of Northeast Asian ancient ethnic groups such as the Khitais and Jurchens have emerged as important sources in addition to Chinese literatures and archaeological materials. Because of the close intercourse between the Khitais and Jurchens and Goryeo, it must be recognized that such source materials have become decisively important.
      Part 1 of this book explores the descriptions of Goryeo in Khitai source materials, which former studies have not addressed, and descriptions of Khitai in Goryeo sources, which went either unrecorded or misunderstood in Chinese written sources, and analyzes them in light of one another.  Part 2 deciphers the inscriptions on bronze mirrors in Khitai small script, inscriptions of steles in Jurchen large script, and proclamations of gratitude by two Joseon kings written in Manchu script, owned by the National Museum of Korea, thereby providing primary materials and the latest achievements in research on the history of relation between Korea and Khitai-Jurchen-Manchu.
   The contents of this book are organized in the following manner.
      Part 1, Chapter 1: The author first deciphers eight examples of the word šulwur that are found in Khitai epitaphs, and clarifies the historical background of their emergence and historical relations between Khitai and Goryeo.
      Chapter 2: Some Khitai names seen in Goryeo materials such as the Goryeosa are also seen in Khitai epitaphs. The author clarifies the history of each family by making a complete translation of the pertinent Khitai epitaphs.
      Chapter 3: The author elucidates the word guhan of the Hwangnyongsa gucheungtap, which reflects Goryeo's recognition in the early 10th century of the states and ethnic groups surrounding Korea.
      Chapter 4: The author identifies the Bohai/Balhae clan name Mirgir(Mirgi), which is seen only in Khitai epitaphs, pointing out the Liaoshi misunderstood it as reference to the “Da,” the royal clan of the Bohai/Balhae state, and notes Chinese epitaphs confuse the clan with the “Xiao,” and thus she fills a blank page in the study of Bohai/Balhae history.
        Part 2, Chapter 1: The author deciphers inscriptions in Khitai small script on three bronze mirrors that are owned by the National Museum of Korea, thereby providing the newest linguistic sources materials on Khitai language and Khitai cultural history.
      Chapters 2 and 3: The author makes a complete translation of two inscriptions in Jurchen large script owned by the National Museum of Korea, providing non-Chinese primary materials on the history of intercourse between Jurchen and Goryeo in the Jin era.
      Chapter 4: The author completely translates proclamations of gratitude by two Joseon kings written in Manchu script during the 19th century, providing previously unknown primary source materials.
      The Appendix: On the basis of a historiographically analysis of the toponyms Gu Chaoxian/Go Joseon, Lelangqun/Akranggun, Gaogouli Pingrangcheng/ Goguryeo Pyeongyangseong, and Bohai Huhancheng / Balhae Holhanseong that are taken to be in Liaoyang in the Dongjing Liaoyangfu section of the “Dilizhi” chapter of the Liaoshi, the author concludes that this description originated in Khitai discourses of the 11th century. Moreover, the lack of any reference to the relationship between Gaogouli/Goguryeo and Bohai/Balhae is political discourse conditioned by Bohai/Balhae-Jurchen's adulation of Gaogouli/Goguryeo, and confirms that this was nothing other than political rhetoric derived from the rivalry with Goryeo that also professed to be descendants of Gaoguli/Goguryeo.
      Historical studies on the Khitai, who established the Liao dynasty in the 10th century and held hegemony over eastern Eurasia for over 200 years, grew into a significant body of scholarship in Japan as a part of studies of ”Manchu-Mongolia history” up until the early post-WWII period. Then, K.A.Wittfogel proposed the idea of “conquest dynasty” in his joint work with Feng Chiasheng, History of Chinese Society, Liao, 907-1125 (1949), recognizing the epoch-making role of the Liao dynasty in history of China as the pioneer of conquest dynasties. Thereafter, studies remained stagnant for many years, but following the 1970s, with the trend toward postmodernism, a discourse evolved that generally accepted the idea that ”world history” was formed under the Mongol hegemony of the 13th century, and recently, interest in the Khitai as prototypes of the Mongols is rising.
      Nevertheless, it must still be admitted that Khitai studies generally speaking still lag behind. The causes are the fact that 1) as the Khitai scripts could not be deciphered, Khitai epitaphs could not be used as primary source materials, 2) as Khitai epitaphs could not be used, the bias of the corresponding Chinese epitaphs that were also primary sources could not be recognized, and 3) the Liaoshi, the chief written source, is not only meager in terms of content, but contains a wealth of errors.
      Khitai epitaphs have been continuously excavated since the 1920's, and have been discovered one after another especially in recent years in Inner Mongolia and Liaoning province, but the total number is still rather small, and because they are extremely difficult to decipher, they have seldom been used as primary source material for studies on Khitai history.
      At present, in China, which would naturally be expected to play a leading role in studies of the Khitai scripts, there are, in fact, only a few scholars engaged in such pursuits, and the standard of research is not particularly high. Furthermore, scholars in China regularly “impound” primary sources required for research rendering them “dead,” show a lack respect for previous achievements in the field, and, in extreme cases, plagiarize them; this state has led to stagnation.
      On the other hand, in Korea, interest in Khitai-Jurchen history has been rising in recent years, for example, the Institute of Northern Cultures of Dankok University and the Korean Association for Mongolian Studies held international conferences such as that on the ”status and direction of research on Khitan studies” in 2009 and “the history and culture of Khitan” in 2010, and will hold a conference on Jurchen studies in 2011. Nonetheless, only a few scholars can use Khitai-Jurchen scripts.
      The author has studied the Khitai-Jurchen scripts for 20 years with grants from the JSPS and other foundations. She has computerized all items so far discovered, made great progress in deciphering the scripts, used them in historical studies, and published A Study of the History of the Liao Era in View of Khitai Epitaphs (2006), AISIN GIORO Ulhicun's Jurchen-Khitai Studies(2009), and Jurchens in the Ming Era (2009). Especially in regard to the Khitai scripts, she has already reconstructed the phonetic values of 90% of the small script and 80% of the large script, and posited meanings for many Khitai words. In this way, she is opening up a previously uncharted area of study, constructing methods of interdisciplinary historical study and employing them to overcome the gap between written Khitai and Chinese sources. These efforts are premised on deciphering the Khitai scripts in a way that is historically and philologically as accurate as possible at present.
      In addition to reconstructing a great number of Khitai-Jurchen characters, deciphering vocabulary items, this book offers new methodologies for the study of Northeast Asian history through a comprehensive study of non-Chinese and Chinese sources, history and archaeology, linguistics and epigraphy, and opens new prospects for related studies in the future. Offering a new vision of history based on full use of Khitai-Jurchen scripts can also serve as a response to the contemporary problem of making national histories, such as those of China or Korea, mutually relevant, and it will surely have a major international impact. The author hopes the publishing of this book will spur a heightened interest in Khitai-Jurchen studies.
Afterword:  On the Results of Deciphering  the “Seven-character Quatrain Inscribed on the Bronze Mirror in Khitai Small Script”
In the summer of 2010, I finally encountered the bronze mirror with the inscription of a seven-character quatrain, of whose fame I had long heard, in the repository of the National Museum of Korea. Even through white gloves, I could feel that she was responding sympathetically to my excitement. She had come from the Mos Diau-d Hulʤi Kitai Gur (Great Khitai State) to Korea and then disappeared for almost a thousand years. In the early 20th century, she finally revealed her exquisite face to the world. Over thirty years ago, when I first saw her picture, I had already known her charms, but had no chance to meet her. She, too, must have waited silently all that time, like a rare beauty of marriageable age who waits for her ‘knight on a white horse’, AISIN GIORO Ulhicun,  to come a long, long distance and lift her mysterious veil.”
      A Khitai poem is far more difficult to decipher than an epitaph. This is due to the fact that epitaphs generally describe the grave owners' genealogies, their personal histories, and their families. They also use relatively fixed literary formulas, and include many transliterated Chinese words. On the other hand, inscriptions added at the end of epitaphs, which are often ignored and go undeciphered, are the very poems with end rhymes that reveal Khitai ethnic linguistic identity. Thus, if one were to attempt to decipher Khitai script, the quantity of vocabulary items deciphered from the Khitai's own language must be the standard of evaluation. It is not a matter that for decades no one had sought to decipher the quatrain on the bronze mirror, but that no one had the ability to do so. The National Museum of Korea has long exhibited this precious object to the public—an action in accord with the ideal, “Scholarship must be available to all under Heaven; How could it be monopolized?”
  Below, I will briefly review the primary source materials written in Khitai scripts and recount the issues surrounding them as an afterword for this book.
        Today, if one wishes to study the now-vanished Khitai language and thereby investigate the history of the Khitai, one must rely on sources written in Khitai large and small scripts that were produced in the historical period from the middle of the 10th to the first half of 12th century. These sources are rich both in quality and quantity, surpassing the limits of Chinese sources, giving a full picture of Khitai civilization, and showing various vital elements of the neighboring civilizations that were in contact with the Khitai. Because of continuous discoveries in Liao-Jin archaeology in recent years, the quantity of primary source materials has also continued to increase. Hereafter, I refer to these materials by the general term “Khitai primary source materials.”
        According to the Liaoshi, the Khitai large script was created in the 5th year of the Shence era(920)under the reign of Emperor Taizu of the Liao dynasty, and the Khitai small script was created in the 3rd or 4th year of the Tianzan era (924 or 925) under the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Liao dynasty. According to the Jinshi, use of these two kinds of scripts was abolished in the 2nd year of the Mingchang era (1191) under the reign of Emperor Zhangzong of the Jin dynasty. At present, dated Khitai primary source materials are identified as having originated during a span of time stretching across the Liao and Jin dynasties. The upper limit of the primary source materials in Khitai large script is the 10th year of the Yingli era (960) under the reign of Emperor Muzong of the Liao dynasty, and the lower limit is the 16th year (1176) of the Dading era under the reign of Emperor Shizong of the Jin dynasty. The upper limit of primary source materials in small script is the 22th year of the Chongxi era (1053) under the reign of Emperor Xingzong of the Liao dynasty, and the lower limit is the 15th year (1175) of the Dading era under the reign of Emperor Shizong of the Jin dynasty. If undated or fragmental materials are included, the time span would be extended. For example, fragments of steles excavated in the mausoleum of Emperor Taizu were inscribed in Khitai large script. They must be dated prior to the 10th year of the Yingli era.
        In the early Liao era, during the 10th century, when the creation of Khitai scripts had been completed, the Khitai small script does not appear to have been used extensively. After about the middle of the Liao era, the small script came to be used much more frequently than the large script, and this numerical superiority was maintained to the end. In extant source materials, the quantity using the small script is three times as numerous as that using the large script. Although the designations “large script” and “small script” are seen in Chinese sources, the fact that Khitais themselves called the large script the “old script” or “script of the large seal” is only seen in Khitai sources. Chinese sources simply mention the difference in the time of their creation and do not refer to differences in usage between large and small scripts. At present all official seals so far discovered use only the large script, and the small script was used only in private seals. The Khitai name ”script of the large seal” for the large script is probably based on actual practice.
        Khitai primary source materials are classified into three groups based on their form, that is, whether they have been carved, written in ink, or cast. Carved inscriptions have mainly been inscribed on natural rock faces, stone, metal products, pottery, or jade. Ink inscriptions have chiefly been written on earthen walls, silk cloth, leather, wooden products, and bottom of pottery. Cast inscription are found on metal products.
        Khitai primary source materials are also classified in four groups based on content. The first group includes ”epitaphs,” ”gravestone inscription," "memorial stele," and “ink writing on wall of tomb chambers" that describe grave owners' personal histories and genealogies. The number of characters used in this type is not fixed and varies from dozens to thousands. The second group includes “stele,” "writing on walls," and “carved stone” that record journeys or messages. The number of characters used in this second type is generally limited. The third group includes “silk pictures” and “silk writing" that are captions of pictures or grave furnishings. The number of characters used in this type is not fixed, and varies from several to hundreds. The fourth group includes “coin inscriptions," "seal inscriptions," "mirror inscriptions," and “pottery signatures" that explain the purpose of production or name the products. The number of characters used for this type is the fewest. Therefore, the first group is the most valuable for the study of Khitai history.
        Here, I will introduce the first group as it comprises the most significant category of primary sources written in Khitai scripts. I will call them by the general term ”Khitai epitaphs." Some of the Khitai epitaphs that have been excavated to this point have been found together with Chinese epitaphs. But Chinese epitaphs provide only limited help in deciphering the Khitai scripts because they are not word-for-word translations of one another. Furthermore, one cannot hope to gain a full picture of Khitais' historical activity and culture through the Chinese epitaphs because they frequently omitted important contents that Chinese could not understand. Therefore, one must depend on Khitai materials, mainly on Khitai epitaphs, to investigate Khitai ethnic identity. In order to make a major breakthrough in Khitai studies and to reconstruct Khitai linguistics and Khitai history, deciphering and study of Khitai epitaphs form an essential foundation. “Recording the truth frankly” is the characteristically candid style of Khitai epitaphs that preserve oral histories from an age without writing, and many simply reproduce genealogies of Khitai families without elaboration. Of course, today we are unable to trace directly the genealogy of the Khitai scripts, in fact, contemporary Chinese who wrote the epitaphs were likewise unqualified to grasp it. The many omissions and mistakes frequently seen in Khitai genealogies in Chinese epitaphs support such an argument.
 Use of the two Khitai scripts lasted over 270 years from their creation to abolishment, and they clearly show marks of phonetic and grammatical changes in the Khitai language in step with the changing times. Khitai epitaphs capture a realistic picture of Khitai history that Chinese sources either ignored or misconstrued. Therefore, in the study of Khitai epitaphs, one must neither rely too heavily on linguistics or history, but instead strike a balance between the two disciplines. “Decipherment” performed without a linguistic base is an inferior method that is tantamount to guesswork as it relies on comparisons with written Chinese sources and epitaphs to discover the meaning of a limited number of transliterated Chinese words and cannot be used to decipher many Khitai words. ”Pure” linguistic study without historical literacy loses sight of historical background concealed behind the language and winds up resulting in “decipherment" that is fragmentary, replete with mistakes, and also little better than guesswork.
        Today, the greatest stumbling block for Khitai studies is the intentional cover-up of fundamental source materials. An extremely long time is consumed from the time of discovery to publication of an epitaph. Once it is published, the photographs are often too unclear to read the characters, which is possibly done intentionally. For example, Wu and Janhunen (2010) published photographs of rubbings of two epitaphs, but the published photographs appear to have been deliberately occluded, although the rubbings were very clear when I previously viewed them. In extreme cases, only hand copied manuscript versions of epitaphs are published, without photographic evidence. As long as one must rely on such materials, there is no hope of correctly deciphering the Khitai scripts and those who do not have direct access to the original sources or authentic photographs of them will be misled. Hand copied versions often mistake clefts and cracks in the stone on which the epitaph has been inscribed as strokes of characters, and often contain spelling mistakes based solely on over-active imaginations. As a result, the rendering of the phonographic elements that comprise a word will deviate from the system of vowel harmony found in the Khitai language, and the process of deciphering a word runs into a blind alley.
      A further problem is the lack of respect for precedent achievements in studies of the Khitai scripts. For example, many important discoveries such as suffixes added to the end of ordinals in the Khitai language that show gender, the ʧurənən that shows the “style name” of Khitai males, the tatar~dadar that shows Tatars in the Khitai language, and the ablative case and instrumental case of the Khitai language etc were all published in my work prior to 2003, as I have indicated in relevant passages in this book. Nevertheless, Wu Yingzhe and Juha Janhunen (2010) contend that all these characteristics were discovered by Wu in 2007. It must be noted that such scholarship violates academic norms and I find myself resigned to the fact this is related to the intentional cover-up of primary source materials needed to conduct research in the field.
      Primary source materials in Khitai scripts should be understood as the common cultural property of humankind. The promotion of academic progress by deciphering them will only be possible through joint efforts of scholars around the world. Here, I wish to expose the current deleterious practices in academia that prevent the open display of primary sources, such as neglecting to publish rubbing of epitaphs in their original form and instead publishing only manuscript copies. I fervently hope that additional primary source materials will be excavated in the future, and the absence of academic morals will be corrected as soon as possible.

Foreword: A New Stage in the Study on the History of Relations between Korean Peninsula and the Khitais and  Jurchens                                                         
Part 1
Chapter 1:  “Goryeo” in primary source materials written in the Khitai language                 
        Section I: “Goryeo” in primary source materials in non-Chinese languages                    
            1. Solgor and its secondary forms                                                 
                2. Čölgl                                                                      
                3. Bökli, moukri, and muquri                                                     
        Section II: Phonetic changes in the names for Silla in their outward dissemination                
        Section III: Šulwur during the reign of Emperor Taizu of the Liao dynasty                      
              1. Šulwur and the epitaph of Hədə-ȵ tai pu in Khitai large script                        
              2. The object indicated by šulwur and its historical background                        
        Section IV: Šulwur in the Tonghe era under the reign of Emperor Shengzong of the Liao dynasty
              1. Šulwur and the epitaphs of Nahanər Jaŋin ʤirgon ja dəu-n Punu-ȵ ʧaŋ ʃu, Mos Tiaud Kitai Gur-n bu-d nahanir-n Telgen ʃimə, and Bu-d nahanər-n Jællu'on tilug pusi  in Khitai small script                                                         
              2. The object of indicated by šulwur and its historical background                      
        Section V: Šulwur in the Shouchang era under the reign of Emperor Daozong of the Liao dynasty                                                                                             
              1. Šulwur and the epitaph of Ja dəu-n mo ai-n Bai-ȵ tai pu in Khitai small script          
              2. The object indicated by šulwur and the historical background                       
Chapter 2:  Khitais in the Goryeosa                                                          
        Section 1: Xiao Tirəd and Xiao Shenwei                                                 
        Section 2: Xiao Sunin, Xiao Qanin, and Xiao Kurər                                       
        Section 3: Jælud Siqi                                                                
        Section 4: Haozheu Fuma Gongzhu                                                     
        Section 5: Jælud Xingping                                                            
        Section 6: Jælud Gug                                                               
Chapter 3: The Hwangnyongsa gucheungtap in the Samgukyusa                                  
        Section 1: From Ranguk in the Hwangnyongsa gucheungtap to Dan Gur in Khitai script          
        Section 2: Dongdan is not the Eastern Khitai state                                         
        Section 3: Again Ran-X in the Goryeosa                                               
        Section 4: Names of states seen in the Hwangnyongsa gucheungtap                         
Chapter 4: Mirgir (Mirgi), a clan name of the descendants of Bohai/Balhae                      
Part 2
Chapter 1: Bronze mirrors owned by the National Museum of Korea                             
        Section 1: The bronze mirror with the inscription ur-əsən-qutug-toi  in Khitai small script        
             I. The ur on the upper side of the knob                                            
             II. The əsən on the right side of the knob                                          
             III. The qutug on the lower side of the knob                                        
             IV. The toi on the left side of the knob                                           
        Section 2: The bronze mirror with the inscription of a seven-character quatrain
                in Khitai small script                                                        
             I. The first couplet                                                            
             II. The second couplet                                                         
             III. The third couplet                                                           
             IV. The fourth couplet                                                         
        Section 3: A general list of Khitai vocabulary items                                      
Chapter 2: The stele in Jurchen large script from Gyeongwon owned by the National Museum of Korea                                                                                          
        Section 1: The present condition of the stele                                            
        Section 2: The date and the historical values of the stele                                   
        Section 3: The reconstruction of the inscription                                          
        Section 4: The decipherment of the inscription                                           
             I. The first face                                                               
             II. The second face                                                            
             III. The third face                                                            
             IV. The fourth face                                                            
        Section 5: A general list of vocabulary items from the inscription                          
Chapter 3: The rubbing of the stele in Jurchen large script from Bukcheong
         owned by the National Museum of Korea                                            
        Section 1: Gopa in the Jin era, Sansan/Samsan in the Yuan era, and Beiqing/Bukcheong
               in the Ming era                                                             
        Section 2: The date and the historical values of the stele                                   
        Section 3: The reconstruction and the decipherment of the inscription                        
             I. The first line                                                              
             II. The second line                                                           
             III. The third line                                                            
             IV. The forth line                                                             
             V. The fifth line                                                              
       Section 4: A general list of vocabulary items from the inscription                            
                Extant inscriptions in Khitai and Jurchen scripts                                 
Chapter 4: Proclamations of Gratitude by the kings of Joseon owned by the National Museum of Korea                                                                                  
       Section 1: King Li Gong/Ri Gong's Proclamation of Gratitude in Manchu script                 
       Section 2: King Li Bian/Ri Byeon's Proclamation of Gratitude in Manchu script                
Appendix: On the description of Dongjing Liaoyangfu in the “Dilizhi” chapter of the Liaoshi:
        A scene from the history of relations between Khitai and Goryeo                        
Afterword: On the results of deciphering the “Seven-character Quatrain inscribed on a bronze mirror
        in  Khitai small script”