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Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture

Royal Edicts Awarding Land and Slaves to Lee Sam
Ink on paper
h. 98 cm x w. 251 cm; h. 96 cm x w. 191 cm

Asian Art Museum, on loan from the Hampyeong Lee Family Collection in Daejeon, Korea.
Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

The bottom document lists various lands King Yeongjo (reigned 1724–1776) bestowed upon Lee Sam (Yi Sam, 1677–1735). The lands are mostly located near Daejeon and Nonsan, cities in Chungcheong province, where Lee Sam built his house complex with royal funds. (The complex is extant in Nonsan.) The top document contains all the names and ages of sixteen male slaves and eighteen female slaves given to Lee Sam in 1729. In the previous year, fifteen officials, including Lee Sam, received land and slaves along with other special rewards when they were appointed as Bunmu meritorious officials. Comparing these edicts and other texts documenting the rewards Bunmu officials received shows that Lee Sam’s rewards were even greater in 1729 than in 1728—an indication that the king’s appreciation for Bunmu officials was ongoing.