Gisu(旗手)

Headword

기수 ( 旗手 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts

Writer KimSuntae(金善泰)

The person who holds a flag and leads the nongak (farmers’ music) troupe.

Although the main responsibility of the gisu (Kor. 기수, Chin. 旗手, lit. flag bearer) is to lead the nongak troupe by holding a flag, he also plays a major role in flag games or flag battles. The number of gisu is decided by the number of different flags used by each nongak troupe, including the yongdaegi (large dragon flag), nonggi (farming flag), yeonggi (command flag), and danchegi (group flag). The average number of gisu is four, but in some parts of Gangwon-do Province there is only one.

The costume worn by the gisu varies according to the nature of each nongak troupe, period and other factors. The costume consists of hat, clothes, and shoes. There are three types of hats: jeollip, gokkal, and dugeon. Jeollip, usually worn by the command flag bearer (yeonggisu) is a type of hat that was traditionally worn by soldiers, and the jeollip worn by nongak troupes took on a similar form. The gokkal is a peaked hat adorned with flowers, sometimes uniformly white and other times different colors. Dugeon, a type of head scarf made of black or white cotton, is generally undecorated but sometimes has flowers attached. The clothing consists of white pants and jacket with a navy or black vest. A tri-colored sash is worn around the shoulders, the bands crossing over one another and tied around the waist.

The gisu stands in front of the nongak troupe and his basic role is to lead it. But flag bearers plays various other roles: yeonggisu performs mungut, while nonggisu (farming flag bearer) perform games and battles such as gisebae (greeting between flags) and gissaum (flag battle). The varying roles of the gisu are as follows:

First, the nonggisu holds the flag representing the farming village in a performance. The gisu leads the group to the performance venue, standing at the head of the troupe. When the musicians play nongak, he stands behind or beside the group. At this time, holders of large flags such as the danchaegi, yonggi and nonggi stand at the center while yeonngi flag bearers stand at either side of them. All the flag bearers stay in the same place until the performance nears its end, then stand at the head of the nongak troupe again and lead the group away from the venue.

Second, the yeonggisu plays a role in mungut, the process of leading the nongak group troupe to the performance venue. Two yeonggisu cross their command flags and control the entrance of the group. The group performs one round of nongak before they are allowed to pass by. Controlling the entrance of the nongak troupe with the use of such command flags means transformation of the place where geollip (performance to collect money or rice) or jisinbapgi (treading on the earth gods to chase away evil spirits) are held from an ordinary space into a special place.

Third, the gisu perform various skills and games holding the farming flag. In Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, Daejeon, Chungcheongdo Province and the Honam region, where communal farming labor groups called dure are active, gisu from two or more different villages gather to hold big performances or games, namely gisebae or gissaeum.

The act of the gisu leading a troupe holding a flag visually signifies presentation of a specific nongak group to a non-specific audience. The flag bearer does not play any instruments but solely serves as a guide. When many villages gather together for a nongak performance, each village is represented by its own village flag. Through gisebae and gissaeum, villages show off their power and establish relationships and order among the villages. Before these games take place, the gisu from the different villages usually hold a show of various skills using the village flag. The command flag holder wears a jeollip on his head, signifying the military nature of the command flag.

Gisu

Gisu
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts

Writer KimSuntae(金善泰)

The person who holds a flag and leads the nongak (farmers’ music) troupe. Although the main responsibility of the gisu (Kor. 기수, Chin. 旗手, lit. flag bearer) is to lead the nongak troupe by holding a flag, he also plays a major role in flag games or flag battles. The number of gisu is decided by the number of different flags used by each nongak troupe, including the yongdaegi (large dragon flag), nonggi (farming flag), yeonggi (command flag), and danchegi (group flag). The average number of gisu is four, but in some parts of Gangwon-do Province there is only one. The costume worn by the gisu varies according to the nature of each nongak troupe, period and other factors. The costume consists of hat, clothes, and shoes. There are three types of hats: jeollip, gokkal, and dugeon. Jeollip, usually worn by the command flag bearer (yeonggisu) is a type of hat that was traditionally worn by soldiers, and the jeollip worn by nongak troupes took on a similar form. The gokkal is a peaked hat adorned with flowers, sometimes uniformly white and other times different colors. Dugeon, a type of head scarf made of black or white cotton, is generally undecorated but sometimes has flowers attached. The clothing consists of white pants and jacket with a navy or black vest. A tri-colored sash is worn around the shoulders, the bands crossing over one another and tied around the waist. The gisu stands in front of the nongak troupe and his basic role is to lead it. But flag bearers plays various other roles: yeonggisu performs mungut, while nonggisu (farming flag bearer) perform games and battles such as gisebae (greeting between flags) and gissaum (flag battle). The varying roles of the gisu are as follows: First, the nonggisu holds the flag representing the farming village in a performance. The gisu leads the group to the performance venue, standing at the head of the troupe. When the musicians play nongak, he stands behind or beside the group. At this time, holders of large flags such as the danchaegi, yonggi and nonggi stand at the center while yeonngi flag bearers stand at either side of them. All the flag bearers stay in the same place until the performance nears its end, then stand at the head of the nongak troupe again and lead the group away from the venue. Second, the yeonggisu plays a role in mungut, the process of leading the nongak group troupe to the performance venue. Two yeonggisu cross their command flags and control the entrance of the group. The group performs one round of nongak before they are allowed to pass by. Controlling the entrance of the nongak troupe with the use of such command flags means transformation of the place where geollip (performance to collect money or rice) or jisinbapgi (treading on the earth gods to chase away evil spirits) are held from an ordinary space into a special place. Third, the gisu perform various skills and games holding the farming flag. In Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, Daejeon, Chungcheongdo Province and the Honam region, where communal farming labor groups called dure are active, gisu from two or more different villages gather to hold big performances or games, namely gisebae or gissaeum. The act of the gisu leading a troupe holding a flag visually signifies presentation of a specific nongak group to a non-specific audience. The flag bearer does not play any instruments but solely serves as a guide. When many villages gather together for a nongak performance, each village is represented by its own village flag. Through gisebae and gissaeum, villages show off their power and establish relationships and order among the villages. Before these games take place, the gisu from the different villages usually hold a show of various skills using the village flag. The command flag holder wears a jeollip on his head, signifying the military nature of the command flag.