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조선시대 밀부는 국왕의 명령에 의해 병력을 동원할 때 밀부관에게 내려지는 符信으로 세조 연간에 시행되었다. 1746년(영조 22)에 반포된 󰡔續大典󰡕에 밀부 관련 규정이 수록되어 처음으로 법제화되었고 1895년(고종 32)까지 시행되었다. 밀부는 전면의 중앙에 第一符에서 第四十五符까지 차례로 새기고 左隻에는 左자를, 右隻에는 右자를 새겼으며, 후면의 중앙에 국왕의 서명인 御押을 새겼다. 밀부에 새긴 御押 때문에 선대의 국왕이 승하하고 새로운 국왕이 즉위할 때에 반드시 밀부를 다시 만들어서 교체하였다. 조선 후기에 밀부의 개조와 교체는 승정원에서 국왕에게 啓辭를 올려서 啓下를 받았고, 이어서 밀부의 改造와 교체에 대한 국왕의 명령을 승정원에서 有旨로 작성한 후에 밀부관에게 유지를 전달하였다. 밀부관은 각 道의 觀察使와 節度使·留守·統制使·統禦使·防禦使·摠戎使 등이 있었다. 국왕은 밀부관이 숙배하고 하직할 때에 궁궐에서 밀부를 전달하였다. 궁궐 이외에 새로 임명된 밀부관이 朝辭를 면제하고 부임할 경우에 부임지에서 밀부를 전달하거나 전임관의 밀부를 인수인계 받았다. 또한 밀부관이 除朝辭赴任으로 관직을 이동할 때에는 기존에 받은 밀부를 그대로 사용하였다. 승정원에서는 밀부의 인수인계를 체계적으로 관리하기 위하여 󰡔命召虎符密符冊󰡕과 같은 密符置簿冊을 작성하여 관리하였다. 밀부가 국왕과 지방 관원 사이에 군사권을 이어주는 매개체이기 때문에 철저하게 관리되고 운용되었다.


In the Joseon Dynasty, the Milbu(密符), a round shape signal plaque made of wood, was given to the Milbukwan(密符官) when the troops were mobilized by the king's order. This system was implemented in the period of King Sejo. In Sokdaejeon(續大典), which was promulgated in 1746 (King Yeongjo 22), the Milbu-related regulations were legislated and recorded first and were enforced until 1895 (King Gojong 32). Milbu had the first to forty-fifth sections recorded in the center on the front page in order, and Letter Jwa(left) on the left side and letter Wu(right) on the right side and the engraving of kings' signature(Eoap, 御押) on the back page. When a king passed away and the succeeding king was enthroned, the Milbu was replaced with a new one because of the engraved signature of the previous king, In the later Joseon Dynasty, the Milbu was reconstructed and replaced according to the procedure: The Seungjeongwon Office submitted Gyesa(啓辭) to the king and received Gyeha(king's approval, 啓下), and then Seungjeongwon compiled the king's order about the reconstruction and replacement into Yuji (Official Letter of King's Command, 有旨) and delivered it to the Milbukwan (official). There was the Milbukwan office in Gwanchalsa(觀察使), Jeoldosa(節度使), Yusu(留守), Tongjesa(統制使), Tongeosa(統禦使), Bangeosa(防禦使), and Chongyungsa(摠戎使). The king delivered the Milbu to a Milbukwan at the palace when he was leaving the palace. If a Milbukwan was newly appointed and exempted from being present before the king, the Milbu was delivered to him at the place of appointment or he received the Milbu from his predecessor. And when a Milbukwan was appointed to a new official position with an appointment on exemption of being present before the king, he continued to use the Milbu. In order to systematically manage the handover of the Milbu, the Seungjeongwon Office wrote and managed Milbuchibuhaek(密符置簿冊) such as Myeongso Hobu Milbuchaek(命召虎符密符冊). Because the Milbu was the medium which connects the military power between the king and local officials, it was strictly managed and operated.