White Ritual Paper(白纸)
Baekji is the term for sheets of white paper used in shamanic rituals as sacred objects or as offerings, or in soji, the burning of sacred text.
White ritual paper symbolizes cleanness and purification, but also serves as a symbolic currency offered to the gods to wish for material wealth. At homes, sheets of white paper are folded as sacred objects in worship rites for Seongju (House Guardian God), Josang (Ancestor God) or Samsin (Goddess of Childbearing). White paper is also added to straw garlands hung over the gate as taboo rope (geumjul) following the birth of a child in the family, as an attempt to utilize the purifying effect of white paper to keep away bad fortunes.
In village tutelary rituals (dongje), sheets of white paper are placed on the table along with other offerings and also hung inside the shrine, as offerings to the gods. White paper is also used in wrapping sacrificial food or in setting up the ritual table, or in soji, both the personal and communal rites. Paper burning can be viewed as an act of purifying uncleanness with fire, but also as a prayer to the gods, in which case the white paper serves as a medium between man and the gods.
Shamanic rituals include segments that extend the shaman’s invitation to the gods, and the papers used here are also examples of paper as sacred objects. Sanji refers to an invitation requesting the visitation of Sansin (Mountain God); gamangji an invitation for Gamang (God of Origins); and mulgoji for Sangsan (High Mountain) Wife. These three invitations are sacred papers featured in village rituals in the Seoul area, an example of paper used for prayer, serving as a communication medium between man and the gods in shamanic rituals.