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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 24(2); 2015 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2015;24(2): 497-532.
doi: https://doi.org/10.13081/kjmh.2015.24.497
『역시만필(歷試漫筆)』의 사례로 재구성한 조선후기 여성의 삶과 질병
The Lives and Diseases of Females during the Latter Half of the Joseon Dynasty as Reconstructed with Cases in Yeoksi Manpil (Stray Notes with Experienced Tests)
Ggodme Yi
Department of Nursing, Sangji University, Wonju-si, Kangwon-do, Korea. yime@sangji.ac.kr
Received: July 9, 2015;  Accepted: August 5, 2015.  Published online: August 31, 2015.
Through the cases of approximately 80 females in the case records of traditional physician Yi Sugwi (1664-1740?), the present study divided and reclassified the lives and diseases of females during the latter half of the Joseon Dynasty into childhood, obstetrics- and gynecology-related problems in adulthood, other diseases in adulthood, and old age and analyzed them. According to the results, female children were treated less preciously than were male children so that treatments by traditional physicians were sought out less when they were ill than in the case of male children, and acute infectious diseases were the most serious health problems. In the process of receiving treatment from traditional physicians as adults, females came in contact with traditional physicians, who were male, when necessary including face-to-face sessions and the reception of pulse examination but the yangban (literati-official) class practiced sex segregation as much as possible while the lower classes were considerably free from such restrictions. For female adults, the most serious health issues were pregnancy and childbirth so that they received help from traditional physicians and midwives when there were problems. Traditional physicians determined females' pregnancy and the health of fetuses and pregnant women through pulse examinations and medication and actively responded to diverse problems that surfaced in the process with medication and other treatments. Acute infectious diseases, too, were serious diseases suffered by females, and problems involving cold damage and the digestive system were among diseases frequently suffered by females in adulthood and old age. In old age, females often became ill in the arduous process of dealing with the deaths of adult descendants, siblings, and spouses, and tumors were among the major causes of their deaths. The deaths of those aged 70 or above were accepted as quite natural. Aged females endeavored to maintain their health and played the role of elders giving care to their descendants.
Key Words: Yeoksi Manpil, Yi Sugwi, latter half of the Joseon Dynasty, females, diseases, acute infectious diseases, pregnancy, childbirth, traditional physicians, midwives
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