Dong Yi, Court Lady Rankings, part 2

In my last Dong Yi post I looked at the ranking system for the King’s concubines in the Joseon period. The  내명부 (內命婦) ne-myeong-bu were the concubines and court ladies in the palace and they were divided into two groups  - the higher 내관 ne-gwan (for concubines) and then the lower  궁관 kung-gwan (for court ladies). There were 9 ranks altogether. The top 4 ranks were held by the concubines and the remainder by the court ladies. In episode 12 Dong Yi moves into the kung-gwan inner court and becomes a court lady 궁녀 kung-nyo working in the investigations bureau. We are not told what her rank is but she has to speak plain Korean to the palace slaves as she is now above them and finds this difficult. The other court ladies in the investigation bureau don’t want to accept her though, because they still see her as a slave.

episode 12 Dong Yi becomes a court lady, MBC

So the concubines in the ne-gwan held the top 4 ranks for females in the palace with the Royal Noble Consort ranked number 1 with the title Bin. The court ladies in the kung-gwan had various jobs around the palace and held a rank from 5 to 9 (see below) and. They could not move up to concubine level in the ne-gwan unless they were noticed by the king.

Outside the  ne-myeong-bu, were girls and ladies working in the palace who held no rank at all.

내명부 궁관

Here’s the ranking system for the 궁관 kung-gwan court ladies that I found here For each rank there were two, three or four titles. (there was a separate system for the concubines and court ladies of the Crown Prince)

rank

romanization

hangul

hanja

Rank 5A 5

Sang-gung

Sang-ui

상궁

상의

尙宮

尙儀

Rank 5B 5

Sang-bok

Sang-shik

상복

상식

尙服

尙食

Rank 6A 6

Sang-chim

Sang-kong

상침

상공

尙寢

尙功

Rank 6B 6

Sang-chong

Sang-gi

상정

상기

尙正

尙記

Rank 7A 7

Chon-bin

Chon-ui

Chon-son

전빈

전의

전선

典賓

典依

典膳

Rank 7B 7

Chon-sol

Chon-che

Chon-on

전설

전제

전언

典設

典製

典言

Rank 8A 8

Chon-chan

Chon-shik

Chon-yak

전찬

전식

전약

典贊

典飾

典藥

Rank 8B 8

Chon-dung

Chon-che

Chon-cong

전등

전채

전정

典燈

典彩

典正

Rank 9A 9

Chu-gung

Chu-sang

Chu-gak

주궁

주상

주각

奏宮

奏商

奏角

Rank 9B 9

Chu-byon-chi

Chu-chi

Chu-oo

Chu-byon-gung

주변치

주치

주우

주변궁

奏變徵

奏羽

奏變宮

3 thoughts on “Dong Yi, Court Lady Rankings, part 2

  1. OMG thank you so much for doing this and the concubine ranks as i was getting really confused while watching !. i tried to find out my self but couldnt get any where.

    any chance you could translate what the tiles mean eg do they have a name in english ex with the Bin title u did their new name then bin.

    if i dont make sense sorry.

  2. How about the clothes they wear (hanbok)? Are the colors really significant? Does the series Dong Yi really follow the correct hanbok for their concubine positions?

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