Record of Bequeathal by An Gyejong’s Wife Lady Kim

Academy of Korean Studies

Academy of Korean Studies
Seongnam-si, South Korea

This document records the distribution of the estate held by Lady Kim of the Uiseong Kim family to her husband An Gyejong (1477-unknown), who was an astronomy official and junior sixth-rank civil official, and their three children. The total estate was fiftyeight slaves, three hundred and twenty two majigi of rice paddies, four hundred and forty nine majigi of fields, and two tile-roofed houses. The preface specifies adherence to the principle of equal distribution, but also states that the eldest son An Sun (1504–1578) should receive more property for ancestral services. Although Kim had three children, the death of one of her daughters meant that the actual inheritors were her son An Sun and her younger daughter, the wife of Yu Ui. An Sun inherited thirty three slaves, one hundred and fifty two majigi of rice paddy, two hundred and majigi of field and a tile-roofed house, out of which three slaves, thirty majigi of rice paddy and forty eight majigi of field were reserved for ancestral rites. Yu Ui’s wife also received twenty slaves, one hundred and fifty majigi of rice paddy, one hundred and seventy-four majigi of field and a tile-roofed house. Aside from slaves reserved for ancestral services, the eldest son received ten more slaves and extra farmland. In the eldest son’s share, the reserve for ancestral rites occupied twenty percent, but less than ten percent of the inherited slaves were reserved for that purpose. In addition, Kim gave one female slave belonging to the house owner, twenty majigi of rice paddy and fifteen majigi of field to Aesim, the house owner’s daughter by a concubine.The biggest problem with this inheritance was the share of Jang Eungpil, husband of the late second daughter who did not produce a child. It was customary in such cases to only bequeath the direct lineal antecedent with land and slaves reserved for ancestral service, and Lady Kim only bequeathed slaves who were originally sent along with her daughter when she left the family for marriage. In her testament, Kim expressed her admonition at the fact that her son-in-law Jang Eungpil neglected his wife for years while she suffered from a fatal disease, and upon hearing the news of his wife’s impending death, he ordered all of his wife’s household goods to his servant’s residence and visited her residence only on the day of her death. Furthermore, he remarried before the first anniversary of his wife’s death, and when Lady Kim also fell ill and spent months on her deathbed, he neither visited her nor sent someone to visit her. Therefore, was determined to rescind all of the property she had already given him, but she bequeathed him the slaves sent along with her daughter upon their marriage, as reserve for memorial services for her daughter. The bequeathal included four
slaves and fifteen durak of field. Interestingly, the list of distributed property specifies various information on whether the property concerned is from Lady Kim or her husband, thereby clearly categorizing Kim’s estate, and those of An Gyejong’s stepfather, stepmother, father, mother, and special bequeathals. An Gyejong was the second son of An Geon (1448-unknown), and later became a foster son of his uncle An Gi. Therefore, An Gyejong received a substantial amount of property from both his biological parents and stepparents, which allowed him to leave his ancestral home of Yecheon and relocate to Jidong (present-day Galjeon-ri), Pungsanhyeon, Andong. This was also made possible as his father An Geon had married into the family of Ryu Gapson of the Pungsan Ryu family, who had settled in Hahoe, while his stepfather An Gi had also become a son-in-law of Ryu Seokin from the same family, leading to An Gyejong inheriting their place of residence. Additionally, his wife Kim was a daughter of Kim Mangeun of the Uiseong Kim family, which had resided in the adjacent area of Cheonjeon for generations. Witnesses to this document included Kim Ryebeom, who was recorded as the “biological older brother of Lady Kim, last name Kim and holding the title of Assistant Official to Junior Third-Rank General of the Division of the North,” and Kim Jin (1500–1580), who was the son of Kim Ryebeom and recorded in the document as “Kim’s nephew, last name Kim and holding the title Saengwon.” The witness and author of the document is recorded as “Younger brother of Kim’s husband, last name An and holding the title Saengwon,” whose name was An Seungjong.


  • Title: Record of Bequeathal by An Gyejong’s Wife Lady Kim
  • Date Created: 1535
  • Physical Dimensions: Single sheet
  • Original Language: Chinese

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