Dragon King(龙王)

Headword

용왕 ( 龙王 , Yongwang )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs

Writer OhSegil(吳世吉)

Yongwang, or Dragon King, is a deity of the river or the sea, overseeing peace in the house, good health and longevity in the family, the harvest, catch and safe sailing.

Yongwang is also called Yongsin (Dragon God). The dragon is a divine creature that appears throughout Korean mythology and ancient history, including the Jumong myth of Goguryeo and the state protector dragon worship of Silla Buddhism. Communities worshipped Yongwang as a water god, holding divine powers to control rainfall. Dragon King worship is closely related to the contemporary practice of staging rituals at village springs or wells that are believed to be dwelling places for Yongwang. Around the country there are also legends regarding dragon springs and dragon wells, created by a dragon that brought rain to repay humans by turning wasteland fertile, which shows that Yongwang is closely related to farming. Dragon King is also believed to oversee fishermen’s catch and the wind and the waves, residing in the undersea Dragon Palace (Yonggung), filled with wonderful treasures.

Yongwang worship can be categorized into three forms. In the worship of village gods, Yongwang is the most important deity in pungeoje, or big catch ritual, held in fishing villages in the beginning of the year to pray for a big catch and safety for the fishermen. In shamanism, Yongwang oversees not only fishing, but the souls of those who have drowned and died. In the worship of household gods, it is a deity that oversees peace in the household, good health and longevity in the family, the harvest, catch and safe sailing.

Among rituals held for Yongwang in the home by women, the most widely spread is yongwangmeogigi (feeding the dragon king), also referred to as yongsinje (dragon god ritual) and gaetje (fishing ritual). This ritual can take place in three different venues: First is a private well in the backyard; second is the communal well, where, in some cases, a spring ritual (saemje) is held, then water from the well is brought to the home and placed in the kitchen or on the sauce jar terrace for the Dragon King; and third is along the village waterside, the most common venue since the principal rule is that Dragon King feeding should be practiced outside the home.

In the home, Yongwang is worshipped in the form of an earthenware jar, a sacred entity referred to as yongdanji (dragon jar). Some homes keep one or three, but generally a pair.

Dragon King

Dragon King
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs

Writer OhSegil(吳世吉)

Yongwang, or Dragon King, is a deity of the river or the sea, overseeing peace in the house, good health and longevity in the family, the harvest, catch and safe sailing. Yongwang is also called Yongsin (Dragon God). The dragon is a divine creature that appears throughout Korean mythology and ancient history, including the Jumong myth of Goguryeo and the state protector dragon worship of Silla Buddhism. Communities worshipped Yongwang as a water god, holding divine powers to control rainfall. Dragon King worship is closely related to the contemporary practice of staging rituals at village springs or wells that are believed to be dwelling places for Yongwang. Around the country there are also legends regarding dragon springs and dragon wells, created by a dragon that brought rain to repay humans by turning wasteland fertile, which shows that Yongwang is closely related to farming. Dragon King is also believed to oversee fishermen’s catch and the wind and the waves, residing in the undersea Dragon Palace (Yonggung), filled with wonderful treasures. Yongwang worship can be categorized into three forms. In the worship of village gods, Yongwang is the most important deity in pungeoje, or big catch ritual, held in fishing villages in the beginning of the year to pray for a big catch and safety for the fishermen. In shamanism, Yongwang oversees not only fishing, but the souls of those who have drowned and died. In the worship of household gods, it is a deity that oversees peace in the household, good health and longevity in the family, the harvest, catch and safe sailing. Among rituals held for Yongwang in the home by women, the most widely spread is yongwangmeogigi (feeding the dragon king), also referred to as yongsinje (dragon god ritual) and gaetje (fishing ritual). This ritual can take place in three different venues: First is a private well in the backyard; second is the communal well, where, in some cases, a spring ritual (saemje) is held, then water from the well is brought to the home and placed in the kitchen or on the sauce jar terrace for the Dragon King; and third is along the village waterside, the most common venue since the principal rule is that Dragon King feeding should be practiced outside the home. In the home, Yongwang is worshipped in the form of an earthenware jar, a sacred entity referred to as yongdanji (dragon jar). Some homes keep one or three, but generally a pair.