Seoup-chup

While reading a korean novel, I've learned of seoup-chup (seoup = get?, chup = resident mistress), a practice that existed during the Chosun era for divorced women. Back then, men could throw his wife out (a practice called sobak) when she is guilty of any of the seven sins that could be committed by a wife (i.e. not producing a son). As far as I know, wives can't throw their husbands out so it was a one-side practice.

After getting thrown out, a women could a) return to her parents in shame, b) commit suicide, or c) stand near a sunghwang-dang (a kind of local shinto-like shrine I think) at early dawn and follow the first man she sees (fate?). Seoup-chup is certainly an odd practice from modern perspective but very interesting I thought.

I don't know if the man had the right to refuse but I imagine it would be difficult to refuse if the woman threatened to commit suicide. Upper class women back then carried a little silver knife called eonjang-do for that purpose. My grandmother had one too but the blade had rusted away when I saw it.

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