Samjichang is a three-pronged spear used as a prop in shamanic rituals.
A shaman acquires her samjichang through four different routes: by inheritance from her spirit mother; by discovery while experiencing spirit sickness or during a possession ritual (naerimgut); by purchase; or by donation from followers. In the past, the spears were custom-ordered through blacksmiths but are now mostly bought ready-made at stores.
Spears of different sizes are used for different functions.
In rituals staged in the Seoul area, small threepronged spears are used in shamanic dance staged as part of the guardian gods segment (sinjanggeori), the segment for the government office deity (bugungeori), and others. The shaman holds the moon knife woldo in her right hand and the spear in her left, the props symbolizing the power and authority of the deities.
Medium-sized spears are used in the stickerecting procedure (saseulseugi) in a ritual, as a support for sacrificial offerings including a cow foot, beef rib, or a whole pig. The procedure is aimed at inquiring the intent of the gods by making a knife and spear stand while holding up the sacrifice, determining that the god is satisfied with the ritual if the prop holds the sacrifice in place without falling.
The biggest spears are used as decorations to convey solemnity, some as tall as 150 centimeters. These spears are placed by the ritual table or at the entrance of the ritual venue, to signify that the gods are present at the site and to reflect their sanctity and authority.