Throughout the whole period of the Yi dynasty(1392-1910) the female entertainer called kisaeng 妓生, yŏgi, 女妓, kinyŏ 妓女, ch anggi 倡妓 etc., played an important role in the field of court performing ans particularly, for example, court dance known as chŏngjae 呈才. The most repertoire of court dances including tangak chŏngjae 唐樂呈才 and hyangak chŏngjae 鄕樂呈才 of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Ans Center (Kungnip kugagwŏn 國立國樂院) have been entirely related with the performing ans tradition of female entertainers in the late Yi period. Since its significant role in the historical development of Korean music and dance, the study of female entertainers in the early Yi period have been published in the academic journal by the late Chang Sa-hun 張師勛(1916-1991) and others. It has not been, however, paid much attention on the study of the female entertainer in the late Yi period. Thus, the purpose of this essay is to investigate the role of court female entertainers in the late Yi period on the basis of the Chinch an ŭigwe 『進饌儀軌』, which was compiled in the 29th year(1829) of King Sunjo s 純祖 reign.
A great number of literary sources containing court performing arts of the late Yi period have been preserved at the Royal Palace Library called Kyujanggak 奎章閣 Collection of Seoul National University Library. They are, for example, several editions of Chinch an ŭigwe 『進饌儀軌』, Chinyŏn ŭigwe 『進宴儀軌』, Chinjak ŭigwe 『進爵儀軌』, and so on. Among these literary sources, this study is based upon one of these Chinch an ŭigwe preserved at the Kyujanggak Collection.
This essay deals with 1) Introduction: Present State of Studying Court Female Entertainers in the Yi period, 2) Survey of the Literary Source, Chinch an ŭigwe(1829), 3) An Institutional Approach to the Female Entertainers Attended at Court Banquests in 1829, 4) Conclusion: Understanding the Important Role of Court Female Entertainer.
In conclusion it is pointed out that the court female entertainers may be divided into two groups according to their origin: one group called kyŏnggi 京妓. being recruited from such central government offices as Royal Medical Office(Naeŭiwŏn 內醫院). National Medical Center (Hyeminsŏ 惠民署), Royal Costume Office(Sangŭiwŏn 尙衣院). and the Public Work Board(Kongio 工曹); and the other called hyanggi 鄕妓. selected from such provincial governments as Kyŏngsang Province 慶尙道, Chŏlla Province 全羅道, Kangwŏn Province 江原道, Ch ungch ŏng Province 忠淸道, P yŏngan Province 平安道, and Hwanghae Province 黃海道. The author suggests that the tradition of court female entertainers seems to have been not established in the late Yi period but transmitted from that of the early Yi period.