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THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES OF MUSLIMS AND THE HUI HUI COMMUNITY OF KOREA IN MEDIEVAL TIMES

  • LEE, HEE SOO (Department of Cultural Anthropology at Hanyang University)
  • Published : 2017.06.15

Abstract

This paper details the advance of the "Hui" (回) people to Korea and their socioeconomic activities in forming their own community during the late Goryeo and early Joseon period. Hui (回) or Hui Hui (回回) is generally recognized as representative of Muslim culture in Chinese and Korean sources. From the $8^{th}$ century, Korean-Muslim cultural relations accelerated as an outcome of ancient Chinese-West Asian commercial transactions along the Silk Road. These contacts between Muslims and Koreans on the Korean peninsula are borne out by references to Korea found in 23 Islamic sources written between the $9^{th}$ and $16^{th}$ centuries by 18 Muslim scholars, including Ibn Khurdadbih, Sulaiman al-Tajir, and Mas'ud1 i. Ibn Khurdadbih was the first Arab who wrote of Muslims' residence in the Unified Silla Kingdom (661-935CE). However, in the period of Silla, we could not find any reliable written documents in Korea to show encounters between Korea and the Muslim world. In the Goryeosa (GS) chronicle, Muslim merchants who came to Korea were described as "Daesik" (大食: Tashi). Daesik (Tashi) is most probably derived from "Tajir", which means "trader" in Muslim language. Muslims' mass influx and their wide ranging influence on Korean society manifested from the late $13^{th}$ century when the Goryeo Dynasty first came under Mongol control and afterward in the early $15^{th}$ century with the new dynasty of Joseon in Korea.

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