Poets of the Hamlets and Streets

Kimhongdo - Hunjang

In Kim Hongdo’s (金弘道, 김홍도, 1745-1806?) famous painting of a Confucian private school, children of lower class (left row) and gentry families (right row) are seen seated in the same room.


All over the world, literacy historically has been associated with the elite. This was also true in Korea. For much of its history, the written language used was Classical Chinese (漢文, 한문) and those who knew how to read and write were mostly male members of the gentry. This started changing during the Chosun Dynasty (朝鮮, 조선, 1392-1910). As many know, with regards to the script, King Sejong (世宗, 세종, 1397-1450, r. 1418-1450) attempted to bring literacy — and more importantly, Confucianism — to the lower classes by promulgating Hangul (한글). The new alphabet first caught on among gentry women, some of whom already literate in Classical Chinese, and gradually proliferated to members of the lower classes. Classical Chinese also had begun to take root as well.

Beginning in the 18th century, as Chosun’s economy became relatively wealthier, the lower classes, who previously had to devote most of their time to backbreaking manual labor, had the time to devote to other activities. They now had the opportunity to gather and listen to traveling bands of dancers and musicians playing pansori (판소리) and storytellers (傳奇叟, 전기수) reading from novels written in the vernacular. A number of them also had the opportunity to partake in Chosun’s high culture. Lower class families enrolled their children in Confucian private schools (書堂, 서당) to learn Chinese classics. Some even started forming poetry societies (詩社, 시사) to compose Classical Chinese poetry (漢詩, 한시) together.

Chosun’s Non-Gentry Poets and Poetry Societies

The Classical Chinese composed by of the lower classes is collectively called Yeohang Munhak (閭巷文學, 여항문학), or “Literature of the Hamlets and Streets.” There were four classes in Chosun Dynasty’s social order (身分制度, 신분제도): (1) the gentry Yangban (兩班, 양반), (2) skilled middle class (中人, 중인), (3) freed commoner class (良民, 양민 or 常民, 상민), and (4) vulgar class (賤民, 천민), of which slaves (奴婢, 노비) were a part. The last three comprised of the lower classes. (It should be noted that unlike China, which had abolished hereditary slavery fairly early in its history, Korean slavery was largely a hereditary system until its abolition in the mid 19th century. In addition, by the 18th and 19th centuries, many members of gentry families had fallen destitute (殘班, 잔반) and became indistinguishable from commoners.) The bulk of the poets from the lower classes were of the skilled middle class, but there were a number of freed commoners and even slaves that participated. They composed poetry on variety of themes, but the most reoccurring subject concerned the lives of the lower classes.

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Songseokweon Shisa Meeting

This concludes the series on non-aristocratic poets of the hamlets and streets (閭巷詩人, 여항시인). I was previously aware that Classical Chinese literacy was not limited to only the aristocratic Yangban (兩班, 양반) elite during the Chosun Dynasty; however, I first became fascinated in the subject after having read about the slave poet Jeong Chobu (鄭樵夫, 정초부, 1714-1789). I knew very little about this subject prior to these posts, and learned quite a lot through preparing and reading about these poets. (There is still a lot I do not know.) I was fairly surprised at how many resources there were on the internet. Here are the list of poems in this series:

The list can be found in the exhibit tab at the top of the blog. I have corrected some of these posts, and as requested have added links to Korean translations. I have only done Korean translations for those poems that did not have one. Furthermore, there are many more non-aristocratic poets that I did not get to cover. For those readers that can read Korean and further interested, there are a ton of resources at Naver Encyclopedia’s (네이버 지식백과) entries on Chosun dynasty’s non-aristocracy culture (閭巷文化, 여항문화).

On another note, I have revised my plans for the blog for the remainder of the year. In particular, I would like to focus on the Classical Chinese primer, and would greatly appreciate feedback on that project. In addition, I will work on editing the resources tab above, do a few book reviews, other assorted articles, and might do one more exhibit. Also, feel free to use any post from this blog, but please do properly attribute.


Yu Heuigyeong (劉希慶, 유희경, 1545-1636) was a Chosun dynasty poet. He was of the Ganghwa Yu Clan (江華劉氏, 강화유씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Eunggil (應吉, 응길); and his pen name (號, 호) was Chon’eun (村隱, 촌은). He was originally of the slave caste (賤民, 천민), although he later became a freed commoner and eventually a high-ranking literati bureaucrat. As a child, Yu Heuigyeong was known for his filial piety (孝, 효). After his father passed away when Yu Heuigyeong was 13, he mourned by his father’s grave all day and refused to leave it. His neighbors, pitying him, built a mud hut next the grave for him to stay. Furthermore, when his mother became ill, he attended to her day and night. Later on, Yu Heuigyeong became a disciple of Nam Eon’gyeong (南彦經, 남언경, ?-?), a literati bureaucrat, and learned Chinese Classics under his tutelage. He became particularly interested in Confucian mourning rites (喪禮, 상례). He also a member of the non-aristocratic poet’s circle known as the Pungweolhyangdo (風月香徒, 풍월향도), and a friend of Baek Daebung (白大鵬, 백대붕, ?-1592), who was also of that circle. In 1590, Yu Heuigyeong met a well-known courtesan (妓生, 기생) named Yi Maechang (李梅窓, 이매창, 1573-1610) in Bu’an (扶安, 부안) in modern day North Jeolla Province (全羅北道, 전라북도). Yi Maechang had already heard of Yu Heuigyeong. They both fell in love with each other, and corresponded in poetry. The following is one of their correspondences:

贈癸娘 증계량

Presented to Gyeryang

我有一仙藥 아유일선약
能醫玉頰嚬 능의옥협빈
深藏錦囊裏 심장금낭리
欲與有情人 욕여유정인

I have one magical elixir.
It can cure a jade cheek’s frown.
Having stored it deep inside my silk pocket,
I intend to give to a lover.

I • to have • one • magical • drug
To be able • to cure • jade • cheek • frown
Deep • to store • silk • pocket • inside
To intend • to give • one • love • person

    • 玉頰(옥협) – Literally “jade cheek.” Refers to the countenance of a beautiful woman.

贈別 증별

Presented While Departing

我有古奏箏 아유고진쟁
一彈百感生 일탄백감생
世無知此曲 세무지차곡
遙和緱山笙 요화구산생

I have an old Jin Jaeng (奏箏, 진쟁).
One pluck, and a hundred feelings arise.
In the world, there is no one that knows this tune.
From afar, reply to the Saeng (笙,생) on Mount Gu (緱山, 구산).

I • to have • old • Jin • Jaeng
One • to pluck • hundred • feelings • to arise
World • to not have • to know • this • tune
Afar • to reply • Gu • Mountain • Saeng

    • 奏箏(진쟁) – A type of plucked zither. Also called Gujaeng (古箏, 고쟁) or Jaeng (箏,쟁). During the Song (宋, 송, 960-1279) and Tang Dynasty (唐, 당, 618-907), it had 13 strings. Later on, there were versions of the instrument with 16, 18, 21, and 25 strings.
    • 笙(생) – A reed wind instrument with 17 pipes. Also called Saenghwang (笙簧, 생황).
    • 緱山(구산) – Mount Goushi (緱氏山, 구씨산, Guss’isan) or Guoling (緱嶺, 구령, Guryeong) is located in Yanxi County (偃師縣, 언사현,  Eonsa Hyeon) of Henan Province (河南省, 하남성, Hanam Seong). The mountain is frequently mentioned in Classical Chinese poetry because of an event from the life of King Ling of Zhou’s (周靈王, 주영왕, ?-545BC) son and heir Jin (晉, 진, Jin). After he directly reproved the King, Jin was made a commoner. He then decided to become an apprentice of the Taoist hermit Fuqiu Ba (浮丘伯, 부구백, Bugu Baek, ?-?) and lived in seclusion on Mount Goushi. This is recorded in the Collected Biographies of the Immortals (列仙傳, 열선전), a collection of hagiographies of Taoist hermits:

王子喬者, 周靈王太子晉也. 好吹笙, 作鳳凰鳴.
왕자교자, 주령왕태자진야. 호취생, 작봉황명.

Wangzi Qiao (王子喬, 왕자교, Wangja Gyo) is King Ling of Zhou’s heir Jin. [He] enjoyed playing the Sheng (笙, 생) (Mandarin name for the same instrument), making the songs of a phoenix.

游伊洛之間, 道士浮丘公接以上嵩高山三十餘年.
유윤락지간, 도사부구공접이상숭고산삼십여년.

He wandered about between [the cities of] Yin (伊, 윤, Yun) and Lou (洛, 락, Rak). The Taoist scholar Fuqui met [him] and ascended Mount Songgao (嵩高山, 숭고산, Sunggo San) [and resided there] for thirty some years.

後求之於山上, 見桓良曰: “告我家 ,七月七日待我於緱氏山巔.”
후구지어산상, 견황량왈: “고아가, 칠월칠일대아어구씨산령.”

Afterward, [Jin] requested to go to the mountain top. As he saw Huanliang (桓良, 환량, Hwanryang), he said, “Inform my house to await me on the 7th day of the 7th month at Mount Goushi’s peak.”

至時, 果乘白鶴駐山頭, 望之不得到. 舉手謝時人, 數日而去.
지시, 과승백학주산두, 만지불득도. 거수사시인, 수일이거.

When that time arrived, indeed they rode a white crane and stopped by the mountaintop. They gazed at them, thanking the people of that time. Many days [passed] and they left.

亦立祠於緱氏山下, 及嵩高首焉.
역립사어구씨산하, 급숭고수언.

Also, they erected shrines below Mount Goushi and at the top of [Mount] Songgao.

Unfortunately, their time together was short. When Yu Heuigyeong returned to Seoul in 1592, the Japanese started their invasion of Korea (壬辰倭亂, 임진왜란, 1592-1598). He joined an irregular righteous army (義兵, 의병) and fought against the Japanese. After the war, he was lauded by King Seonjo (宣朝, 선조, 1552-1608, r. 1567-1608) for his efforts and was manumitted. A few years later, for revealing embezzlement at the Ministry of Finance (戶曹, 호조), Yu Heuigyeong was awarded the high-ranking bureaucratic position of Tongjeongdaebu (通政大夫, 통정대부). Fifteen years after their first meeting, he eventually was reunited with Yi Maechang in 1607. Unfortunately, she passed away just three years later in 1610.


South Shrine

Yi Danjeon (李亶佃, 이단전, 1755-1790) was a Chosun dynasty poet. He was of the Yeon’an Yi Clan (延安李氏, 연안이씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Un’gi (耘岐, 운기); his pen names were Piljae (疋齋, 필재), Pilhan (疋漢), and Injae (因齋, 인재). He always had on a bamboo braid hat typically worn by lower classes of Korean society, called a Paeraeng’i (패랭이). This was transliterated as Pyeongryangja (平涼子, 평량자) into Hanja (漢字, 한자), and hence his nickname was Yi Pyeongryang (李平涼, 이평량) for this reason. As is clearly evident from his names, Yi Danjeon was a member of the slave caste (賤民, 천민). He worked in a household with the surname Yu (兪氏, 유씨). He first learned Classical Chinese from members of the non-aristocratic poetry circle known as the Songseokweon Shisa (松石園詩社, 송석원시사). Yi Danjeon eventually became so renowned for his poetry that members of the aristocratic Yangban (兩班, 양반) class invited him regularly to compose poetry with them and young aristocrats seeking bureaucratic offices paid him to write Classical Chinese texts on their behalf. For a slave, he lived a rather eccentric life; however, because of his inability to climb up in Chosun society, Yi Danjeon despaired. He fell into alcoholism spending all his earned money on booze, and died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 39 in 1790.

題關王廟 제관왕묘

Writing About King Gwan’s Shrine

古廟幽深白日寒 고묘유심백일한
儼然遺像漢衣冠 엄연유상한의관
當時未了中原事 당시미료중원사
赤兎千年不解鞍 적토천년불해안

The old shrine is secluded and deep; the daytime is bleak.
Clearly, the remaining portrait is in Han dynasty (漢,한) clothes and headwear.
At that very time, the affairs of the middle plains were not yet complete.
The Red Hare, for a thousand years, has not had its saddle undone.


Old • shrine • to be secluded • to be deep • white • day • to be bleak
Clearly • grammatical marker • remnant • image • Han dynasty • clothes • headwear
That • time • not yet • to complete • middle • plains • affairs
Red • hare •  thousand • years • not • to undo • saddle


  • 關王廟(관왕묘) – King Gwan refers to Guan Yu (關羽, 관우, Gwan U, 160-219), a famous Chinese general from the Three Kingdoms period. In Seoul, there are two shrines commemorating Guan Yu. One is South King Gwan’s Shrine (南關王廟, 남관왕묘), located outside of Namdaemun (南大門, 남대문) in Huamdong (厚岩洞, 후암동). The other is East King Gwan’s Shrine (東關王廟, 동관왕묘), located outside of Dongdaemun (東大門, 동대문). In addition, there are two other shrines outside of Seoul in Andong (安東, 안동) and Sangju (尙州, 상주) in North Gyeongsang Province (慶尙北道, 경상북도). In his poem, Yi Danjeon is referring to the the South King Gwan’s Shrine, which had a statue of General Guan Yu on the Red Hare, a mythical horse. King Seonjo (宣祖, 선조, 1552-1608, r. 1567-1608) ordered the construction of the South King Gwan’s Shrine in 1598 to offer rites to General Guan Yu, at the request of Ming Chinese generals, who fought against the Japanese during Hideyoshi’s Invasion of Korea (壬辰倭亂, 임진왜란, Imjin Waeran, 1592-1598). The shrine was destroyed by a fire in 1899 and was rebuilt in 1901. It was destroyed again during the Korean War (1950-1953) and rebuilt in 1957.
  • 白日(백일) – Literally “white sun” or “white day.” Refers to the middle of the day (대낮).
  • 中原(중원) – Literally “middle plains.” Refers to continental China.
  • 赤兎(적토) – Refers to the Red Hare, a legendary horse owned by Chinese warlord Lü Bu (呂布, 여포, Yeo Po, ?-198). Some of the Red Hare’s abilities are recorded in the Book of the Later Han (後漢書, 후한서):

布常御良馬, 號曰赤兎, 能馳城飛塹
포상어량마, 호왈적토, 능치성비참

Lü Bu always liked riding [this] horse. [Its] name was the “Red Hare.” [It] could charge castle [walls] and fly over puddles.


Pak Yunmuk Calligraphy

Pak Yunmuk (朴允默, 박윤묵, 1771-1849) was a Chosun dynasty poet and a petty bureaucratic official. He was of the Milyang Pak Clan (密陽朴氏, 밀양박씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Sajip (士執, 사집); and his pen name (號, 호) was Jonjae (存齋, 존재). He was originally from a petty official (署吏, 서리) family. At the recommendation of Prime Minister (領議政, 영의정) Kim Josun (金祖淳, 김조순, 1765-1832) became a low-ranking official in the Council of Ministers (內閣, 내각). Pak Yunmuk learned Classical Chinese from Jeong Ijo (丁彛祚, 정이조, ?-?), a member of the non-aristocratic poets’ circle known as the Songseokweon Shisa (松石園詩社, 송석원시사). After the Songseokweon Shisa was dissolved in 1818, Pak Yunmuk became one of the founders of the successor non-aristocratic poets’ circle called the Seoweon Shisa (西園詩社, 서원시사). The circle met on the Mount Inwang (仁王山, 인왕산), the same mountain as the former Songseokweon Shisa.

糴政 적정

The Rice Office

糴政秋多劇 적정추다극
文書幾等身 문서기등신
吏皆工壅蔽 리개공옹폐
民亦巧因循 민역교인순
手罷煩毫墨 수패번호묵
眸揩漲米塵 모개창미진
公心宜自勵 공심의자려
頭上有神明 두상유신명

The rice office this autumn is very busy.
How many writings and books equal the number of human bodies?
All the petty bureaucrats skillfully block and hide;
Commoners too craftily continue and follow.
Their hands have let go the cumbersome brush and ink;
Their eyes have been cleared of the overflowing rice seeds and dust.
With impartial hearts, they rightfully by themselves toil.
Above their heads exist deities.

Grains • government • autumn • many • to be busy
Writings • books • how many • to be equal • body
Petty official • all • to work • to block • to hide
People • also • to be crafty • to continue • to follow
Hand • to stop • to be cumbersome • hair • ink
Eye • to rub • to overflow • rice • dust
Impartial • hearts • rightfully • by oneself • to toil
Heads • above • to exist • deities • to be bright


  • 糴政(적정) – Refers to a government office that handed out grain every autumn. Also known as the Hwanjeong (還政, 환정).
  • 因循(인순) – Refers to not letting go of bad old habits (舊習, 구습).


Jang Hon

Jang Hon (張混, 장혼, 1759-1828) was a Chosun dynasty poet. He was of the Gyeolseong Jang Clan (結城張氏, 결성장씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Weonil (元一, 원일); and his pen names  (號, 호) were Iieom (而已广, 이이엄) and Gonggongja (空空子, 공공자). He was born into a skilled Chung’in class (中人, 중인) family. He was recommended by Oh Jaesun (吳載純, 오재순, 1727-1792), a literati bureaucrat, to the Gyoseogwan (校書館, 교서관), an office that was responsible for printing of Chinese Classics and history books. During his time at the Gyoseogwan, Jang Hon focused his attention on children’s education, and published a number of Classical Chinese textbooks for children. His edition of the Gyemongpyeon (啓蒙篇 , 계몽편) was highly influential in early modern children’s education and was in print even during Japanese colonial period. He also excelled in Classical Chinese poetry, in particular ancient style poetry (古體詩, 고체시). He was also one of the leading poets at the non-aristocratic poetry circle known as the Songseokweon Shisa (松石園詩社, 송석원시사).

津寬寺呼韻 진관사호운

At Jin’gwan Temple, Calling a Rime

初地入雲松 초지입운송
數里淸澗道 수리청간도

The first step to nirvana is to enter clouds and pine trees,
Numerous li (里,리) is on the path by the clear mountains’ stream.

First • land • to enter • clouds • pine trees
Numerous • li • to be clear • mountain gorge • paths

    • 津寬寺(진관사) – Jin’gwan Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Mount Bukhan (北漢山, 북한산), a mountain on the northern border of Seoul.
    • 初地(초지) – Literally “first land.” Refers to the first step in nirvana.

金殿麗王作 금전려왕작
往跡浮雲掃 주적부운소

The Golden Temple, the Goryeo Kings constructed;
The remaining traces, the floating clouds have swept.

Golden • temple • Goryeo • King • to create
Remnant • traces • to be floating • clouds • to sweep

洞天極幽夐 동천극유형
周覽卽事好 주람즉사호

The cave in heaven is extremely far and distant.
Gazing around is certainly good affair.

Cave • heaven • extremely • to be far • to be distant
Around • to gaze • to be • affairs • to be good

    • 洞天(동천) – Literally “a cave in heaven.” Refers to a place where a Taoist hermit resides.

雨深古寺暝 우심고사명
猿鳥入懷抱 원명입회포

The rain is severe and the old temple becomes dark.
Monkeys and birds enter my held thoughts.

Rain • to be severe • old • temple • to be dark
Monkeys • birds • to enter • thoughts • to be held

寄語空門友 기어공문우
香山有九老 향산유구로

I send these words to my school of empty thought friend.
In the fragrant mountains, there reside nine old men.

To send • words • empty • door • friend
Fragrant • mountain • to exist • nine • to be old

    • 空門(공문) – “School of empty thought.” Refers to Buddhism.


Mecca Andreus Magnus Hunglinger

Cho Susam (趙秀三, 조수삼, 1762-1849) was a Chosun dynasty poet. He was of the Hanyang Cho Clan (漢陽趙氏, 한양조씨); his original name (本名, 본명) was Gyeongyu (景濰, 경유); his courtesy names (字, 자) were Jiweon (芝園, 지원) and Jaik (子翼, 자익); his pen names (號, 호) were Chujae (秋齋, 추재) and Gyeongweon (景畹 , 경원). He was from a skilled Chung’in class (中人, 중인) family, although he did pass the first civil examination to become a literati bureaucrat at the late age of 83. Cho Susam was one of the leading poets of the non-aristocratic poetry circle known as the Songseokweon Shisa (松石園詩社, 송석원시사). He was fascinated in the world outside Seoul and Korea. He traveled around the Korean peninsula, and wrote a series of poems detailing the toils of commoners living in Hamgyeong Province (咸鏡道, 함경도). Furthermore, Cho Susam visited Qing Dynasty China six times and became acquainted with some of the literati there. After having read Fang Yu Sheng Lue (方輿勝略, 방여승략, Bang Yeo Seung Ryak), a work written during the Ming Dynasty describing 82 countries in Asia around China, he wrote 133 poems titled the Bamboo Branch Songs on the Foreign Barbarians, or Oei Jukjisa (外夷竹枝詞, 외이죽지사). A Bamboo Branch Song or Jukjisa (竹枝詞, 죽지사) is a type of lyrical poetry (樂府, 악부) — which I am not too familiar with. The following is from that work and is Cho Susam’s impression of Mecca.

天方 천방

Direction to Heaven (Mecca)

天方一名天堂. 明宣德五年入貢, 獻天堂圖.
천방이명천당. 명선덕오년입공, 헌천당도.

“Direction to Heaven” (天方, 천방, Cheonbang) is another name for the “House of Heaven” (天堂, 천당, Cheondang). In the fifth year of his reign, Ming Emperor Xuande (宣德帝, 선덕제, Seondeokje, 1399-1435, r. 1425-1435) gave tribute and offered a painting of the “House of Heaven” (天堂圖, 천당도).

其地四時皆春, 田沃稻饒, 人以馬乳飯, 故多肥美. 俗好善無盜賊
기지사시개춘, 전요도요, 인이마유반, 고다비미. 속호선무도적.

In their lands, the four seasons are all spring. The fields are abundant; their grains are plentiful. People used horse milk as food, and therefore many are fat and beautiful. Their customary preference is [towards] the good and they have no thieves.

國內有禮拜寺, 寺分四方, 方各九十間, 白玉柱黃金地.
국내유례배사, 사분사방, 방각구십간, 백옥주황금지.

Within their country, there exists a temple for ritual prostration (worship). The temple is divided into four directions. Each direction is 90 gan (間,간) with white jade columns and a golden ground.

    • 間(간) – About 180 meters (590 ft).

地中有黑石, 云漢初天降也.
지중유흑석, 운한초천강야.

In the middle of the grounds, there is a black stone. It is said that during the early Han Dynasty (漢, 한, Han, 206 BC-220 AD) [the stone] fell down from heaven.

墻壁和薔薇龍涎水泥之. 馨香不絶, 紵絲葢罩之.
장벽화장미룡연수니지. 형향불절, 저사개조지.

The walls together with roses are stained by the fragrance of ambergris. Flowery fragrances do not end. Ramie grass threads cover them.

    • 龍涎(용연) – Refers to ambergris, which is a substance found in the digestive tract of whales used to make fragrance and perfume.
    • 葢(개) – Variant of 蓋(개).

二獅子守中門, 每歲十二月十日, 各番回回, 雖萬里之外皆來. 割罩葢一方以爲記
이사자수중문, 매세십이월십일, 각번회회, 수만리지외개래. 할조개일방이위기

Two lions guard the middle gate. Every year, on the tenth day of the twelfth month, each time, all the Muslims, even though [they reside] ten-thousand Li away, come. They cut the [ramie grass] covers and use one side as a record.

    • 回回(회회) – Refers to Muslims. The Sino-Korean word for “Islam” is 回敎(회교).

日熱常, 爲夜市, 有幕底城. 王墓夜放光. 物產纏花樹阿必糝水.
일열상, 위야시, 유막저성. 옥묘야방광. 물산전화수아필삼수.

The weather is hot always and for night markets they have a city of sand floors. The King’s tombs at night emit light. Goods produced are Jeonhwa trees (纏花樹, 전화수) and Apilsam (阿必糝, 아필삼) well waters.

    • 幕(막) – Here, means “sandy plains” (모래 벌판, 漠也).
    • 王墓(왕묘), 纏花樹(전화수), and 阿必糝(아필삼) – Descriptions of these were found in The Records of Paying Tribute in the Kingdoms of the Western Oceans (西洋朝貢典録, 서양조공전록) by Huang Xingzeng (黃省曾, 황성증, Hwang Seongjeung, 1496-1546):

城之東曰: 謨罕驀德神人之墓. 墓頂有五色光, 旦夕輝煌不絶.
성지동왈: 막한맥덕신인지묘. 묘정유오색광, 단석휘황불절.

East of the city, it says, “Mohammed (謨罕驀德, 모한맥덕), the divinely inspired man’s tomb.” At the top of the tomb, there are five colored lights. During dawn and even, [the lights] are glittering and dazzling without end.

墓後有泉, 其名阿必糝糝. 其味甘美, 其泉能息波濤.
묘후유천, 기명아필삼삼. 기미감미, 기천능식파도.

Behind the tomb, there is a spring. Its name is Abisansan (阿必糝糝, 아필삼삼, Apilsamsam). Its flavor is sweet and beautiful. The well can quiet large waves…

其花有纏枝花, 樹如大桑, 高二丈, 歲二收.
기화유전기화, 수여대상, 고이장, 세이수.

Among their flowers, there is the coiled branch flower. The tree is like a great mulberry tree. Its height is two jang (丈, 장) (about 6m or 20ft) and on its second year [can be] harvested.

天方自古號天堂 천방자고호천당
極樂圖成傳十方 극락도성전십방
春風不老纏花樹 춘풍불로전화수
幕底城中望墓光 막저성중망묘광

The “Direction of Heaven” was from long ago called the “House of Heaven.”
Their plan for paradise was formed and transmitted in ten directions.
The spring winds do not become tired of the coiled blossom trees.
In the middle of the sand floored city, there is a famed tomb’s light.

Heaven • direction • from • old times • to call • heaven • house
Extreme • joy • illustration/plan • to achieve • to transmit • ten • directions
Spring • winds • not • to be tired • to be rolled • flowers • trees
Sand • floor • city • middle • to be famous • tomb • light

    • 極樂圖(극락도) – Also refers to a painting with Buddha and his disciples.
    • 十方(십방) – Literally “ten directions.” Refers to all directions. Islam was spread to Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

獅子中門夜市開 사자중문야시개
何年黑石降天來 하년흑석강천래
絲籠競割馨香壁 사롱경할형향벽
歲歲回回禮拜回 세세회회례배회

At the lions in the middle gate, the night market opens.
In what year did the black stone fall and come from heaven?
Threaded baskets contend and cut the flowery fragrance wall.
Year after year, all the Muslims return for the prostration rites.

Lions • grammatical particle • door • middle • night • market • to open
What • year • black • stone • to fall • heaven • to come
Threads • bamboo basket • to be high • to cut • flowery • fragrance • wall
Year • year • Muslim • Muslim • ritual • to prostrate • to return