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India as Viewed by Ancient and Mediaeval Koreans – Focussing on the Karak Kukki (Records of Karak State)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the scattered references found in the Samguk Sagi, Samguk Yusa and Haedong Kosŭng Chŏn to the first Korean contacts with India and Indian culture. It also examines how those contacts were negotiated via early Chinese states, and looks at how India and Indian culture were viewed by elites and monks in proto-Korean states, and which ideological roles the images of India were to play in the context of the political competition between the proto-Korean states and among the different groups in their ruling classes. Finally, the chapter discusses the linguistic and philosophical impacts that the early interactions between the two nations had on Korea. The legend of Hŏ Hwang'ok's marriage to King Suro found in Samguk Yusa's main article on Kŭmgwan, Karak kukki, is unmatched in Korea's ancient mythology, as it links the founder of a Korean proto-state with the glorious Indian city of Ayodhyā.

Keywords: Samguk Yusa; Chinese states; India; Karak kukki; King Suro; Korea



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