This article questions notions of continuation and, in particular, change as reflected in burial traditions of the late Goryeo and early Joseon kingdoms. People of Goryeo largely buried their dead in the ways of their ancestors, but the introduction to Korea of Zhu Xi’s the Family Rituals in the late thirteenth century marked the beginnings of a new means of interment. Zhu Xi’s writings were to have a paramount influence on burial procedures as they were increasingly adhered to over the course of the Joseon period. In detailing how funerals should be carried out and in outlining how people should be buried, Zhu Xi mapped out ‘proper’ Confucian ways of dealing with death. In focusing on archaeological material, this article discusses how the increasing influence of Zhu Xi’s writings on rituals is reflected in ways of burial over the course of the late Goryeo and early Joseon periods. It will be demonstrated that the Confucianization of burial practices is seen first and foremost in the ways in which graves were made, followed by how objects were placed inside the burial pit and, finally, in the types of burial goods used.
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