This study is to review the process of the disputes over the order of spirit tablets occurred in Okdong Seowon had been spread to Sangju and the Namin line seowons in Yeongnam region. The conflicts started from the activities of requesting for granting the board by Okdong Seowon in the 18th Century, and lasted for around 80 years until the early 19th Century. The houses of Hwang of Jangsu and Jeon of Okcheon in Sangju, who were descendants of the scholars enshrined in Okdong Seowon were in the middle of the conflicts, and the study summarizes the start of the disputes between both the houses and the process of their spreading and steadiness in Yeongnam region.
T he f irst dispute s tarted when the appeal f or r equesting to grant a board for Okdong Seowon in 88(the 12th reigning year of King Jeongjo).
T he s econd one o ccurred in t he p rocess to r ecord t he h istory o f the enshrined persons preparing for the King’s sacrificial writing after determination of g ranting the board in 89. T he t hird a ccident was the reoccurrence of the conflicts between both the houses over the method of enshrinement, gakchuk(各祝: individual enshrinement) or habchuk(合 祝: united enshrinement).
T he s tudy f ocuses o n the fourth event. It o ccurred due to t he rearrangement of the order of spirit tablet for Saseo Jeon Sik(沙西 全湜) according to the generation instead of its original one, when repairing the temple of Okdong Seowon and returning the enshrined persons’ spirit tablets in 1804(the 4th r eigning year o f King S unjo) T hen, t he descendants of Jeon Sik enshrined additionally their ancestor’s nameplate in the temple of Donam Seowon with permission by small numbers of the staffs of Donam Seowon only. As the accident occurred without the official discussions and procedure, the conflict became exaggerated, dividing the factions into two over the responsibilities for the accident and leaving even in Saron of Namin in Sangju. The conflict lasted over one year without resolution, even spreading among the Namin line seowons in Yeongnam region. The fifth dispute started when the spirit tablet of Jeon Sik returned to the temple of Okdong Seowon with its original order by the official document by Gyeongsang Gamsa in 1808(the 8th reigning year of King Sunjo), and the house of Hwang of Jangsu opposed it fiercely and the house of Jeon of Okcheon responded to oppose the order of generation. As a result, King Gojong ordered the order of spirit tablet in the seowon should be in its original one, notifying to shut down the seowons with the board given by king following closing the private seowons in large scale at that time, and the disputes for about 80 years were resolved, finally.
Since the th Century, even though there were differences depending on the seowons, in general, the institute of seowon changed its characteristics from the local community to focusing on the houses of literati c lass. T he d isputes over t he o rder o f spirit tablets i n Okdong Seowon could be its expansion. The academic function of seowons was decreased, while its enshrinement function was emphasized as a tool for competing power among the houses in local society and representing individual house’s socio-economic interests. In particular, hyangjeon (local house conflicts) focusing on seowons including various disputes over the order of ancestors and that of spirit tablets in seowons were largely derived from the changes of characteristics of seowons. As Okdong Seowon was originally run mainly by the descendants of the enshrined persons and became the institute granted with the board by king, the conflicts had to become more expanded in order to secure priority in running the seowon.