Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea
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There are two starkly different Koreas that are equally important actors on today’s tense geopolitical stage: South Korea, which is thriving as a democracy racing into the future as a high-tech economic powerhouse, and North Korea, a repressive dictatorship ruled by the iron inclinations of the Dear Leader. The dividing 38th Parallel is a Cold War relic that masks the deep and binding cultural ties between them, and Keith Pratt tackles here in Everlasting Flower the complexly intertwined history of the two nations.
Everlasting Flower traverses the ancient physical and cultural landscape of the Koreas, spanning from the ancient states of Old Choson and Wiman Choson to the present day. Pratt reveals the rich origins of such cultural foundations as religious practices and food and drink, and he connects them to key historical developments of both nations. He also probes controversial historical events such as the abuses—torture, punishment, and the “comfort women”—of the Japanese occupation. Concise and richly illustrated pictorial essays augment Pratt’s compelling narrative, chronicling various monuments of Korea’s past, including the world’s oldest observatory and the famous turtle boats.
An engrossing and provocative history of the two Koreas, Everlasting Flower is an essential study of two nations that are rapidly emerging from the shadows of their looming neighbors—China and Japan—and of each other as well. As the Korean peninsula becomes an increasingly important geopolitical hotspot, Everlasting Flower offers a broad perspective on this painfully divided nation. (20060801)
Chinhan in the south-east (the so-called Samhan, ‘Three Han’). Their economic power rested primarily on mixed agriculture, including dry cereals, rice and silkworms, and their ability to supply iron. All three paid tribute to Lelang, and their leaders enjoyed Chinese luxury goods. Evidence suggests that these southerners practised shamanic religion, including divination with bones. According to the Chinese history San guo zhi (Wei zhi), they had no horse-riding skills: if so, it did not deter
presents as a mark of respect for their brave defence of their city, though thousands more were marched back to slavery in Chang’an, where their uncompromising reception showed that the emperor was no wimp. To be on the safe side, Koguryo˘ sent him two beautiful women in gratitude for sparing so many captives. Taizong sent them home too, sympathizing with their grief at being separated from their families. Ch’unch’u may well have wondered what to expect from his risky venture, and hoped that the
reunion with the Republic of China (Taiwan), by force if necessary. The Korean War remains unfinished, with hostilities between the states on either side of the Demilitarized Zone () halted only by an armistice. And neither China nor Korea is satisfied that Japan has made sufficient apology or reparation for the way it victimized and humiliated their people from onwards. Political tension among these five states often runs high, with the , Russia and the European Union ever ready to
moon, in the depths of winter. By contrast P’algwanhoe, on the fifteenth day of the eleventh moon, was the harvest festival, and village communities turned it into an exuberant, raucous event. The court’s celebrations reflected both native and imported traditions. Itinerant entertainers, kwangdae, brought in the culture of the countryside (Picture Essay ), while Chinese dances added a more sedate touch. Among new ones introduced at the commemoration of was a choreographed version of the
mobility into their class was virtually impossible barring exceptional royal favour. Even the small but significant class of chungin (‘middle men’) functionaries could not anticipate it. These included the court’s architects, interpreters and artists, the magistrate’s tax gatherers and accountants, the community’s doctors and astronomers. The yangban depended on their skills. They did not hesitate to take chungin girls into service, although any offspring resulting from mixed unions were labelled