Saeong is a small brass pot for cooking rice or porridge, used in village rites as a ritual prop.
Me, or steamed rice, is one of the most important sacrificial foods on any ritual table, and saeong refers to the pot that is used to cook the rice to be offered, especially for rituals that observe strict taboos, mainly Buddhist rituals and village rituals in mountainous regions including Gangwon Province. When rice is cooked inside a saeong, it must be served on the table in the pot. Wild insam (ginseng) diggers use this brass pot to cook rice for a mountain god ritual (sansinje) before setting out into the mountains. Its use is also observed in village rituals and other shamanic rites where the rice is cooked at the ritual venue. Rice cooked in this small pot, called saeongme, is considered cleaner and cooked with more devotion than rice cooked in a large cauldron and scooped into a bowl, thereby more suitable for rituals that require perfect cleanness.
The rice to be cooked in saeong must be taken from a new sack, and must be rinsed using chopsticks made of tree branches, not touched by hands. When fetching water for the rice from a spring near the ritual venue, the gourd dipper must not be flipped over but kept straight, and the rice must be rinsed three times.
Then the rice is ready for steaming, and the lid must remain closed, never to be opened in the process since it was believed that lesser spirits will get to the rice first if the lid is opened.