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Silhak was a Korean Confucian social reform movement in late Joseon Dynasty. Sil means "actual" or "practical," and hak means "studies" or "learning." It developed in response to the increasingly metaphysical nature of Neo-Confucianism (성리학) that seemed disconnected from the rapid agricultural, industrial, and political changes occurring in Korea between the late 17th and early 19th centuries.

In a broad sense, the beginning of Silhak can be traced to the aftermath of the Seven Year War, the devastating 16th century invasion by Japan. After the Manchu invasions in the 17th century, Korean art and science continued under the Silhak scholars. Generally, the term...
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