Category: yuan dynasty

Name tags (in Korean: hopae) were, at times, legally required for all adult males under the Joseon government. First introduced in 1413 by King Taejong they were apparently modeled after a similar system under the contemporary Yuan Dynasty. Hopae were required on and off until the early 1600s, usually when the government saw the need to control internal migration. The tags are made of wood or horn, and showed the man’s name plus other required identification. Some also included rank and permissions.

These particular tags belonged to soldiers. They list the soldiers’ name, year of birth, year of entering service, position, and place of residence/troop. The last two on the right were for two brothers, both cannoneers (別破陣).

Dating to the 1300s CE, the unusual tomb has eight sides and a pyramid-shaped roof. (Quick trick: don’t count the top bricks on the roof, but the walls below them.)

Seven of the walls have beautiful, still-colorful murals (the eighth has the door). They depict a husband and wife and some daily life scenes, including musicians playing songs, tea being prepared, and horses and camels led by a man wearing Mongol-style clothes. At the time, China was under the Yuan Dynasty, a Mongolian dynasty descended from Kublai Khan.

Toghon Temür was installed as the tenth emperor of the Yuan dynasty in 1333, aged just 13 years old. He is also remembered as the last Khagan (khan or emperor) of the Mongol Empire. A series of natural disasters occurred in his reign, and he helped things go downhill by being especially interested in mixing pleasure and religious matters – such as practicing obscure sexual/magical rites from Tibet. Unsurprisingly he was deeply unpopular. Even his son plotted to overthrow him!

But in the end, it was native Chinese rebellions that did him in, the last and most successful of which is today known as the Red Turban Rebellion. Toghon Temür was forced to flee China for the Mongolian steppes, where the Yuan retained control, and the Ming were installed as the next (ethnically Chinese) dynasty in China.