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01

General Gang Gam-chan

This legend, in different variations, depicts Gang Gam-chan (948-1031), the renowned military commander of Goryeo known as one of the three greatest generals in Korean history, as a supernatural hero. Gang’s mythical accomplishments are recorded in documents and publications including Bohanjip (Collection of Writings to Relieve Idleness) of Goryeo; Yongjaechonghwa (Assorted Writings of Yongjae) of early Joseon; and Haedongijeok (Extraordinary Lives from East of the Sea) of Joseon. Haedongijeok,

Korean Folk Literature

02

Japsaek

A member of the nongak (farmers’ music) troupe dressed as a certain character who acts out various skits. Japsaek (Kor. 잡색, Chin. 雜色, lit. mixed colors) are referred to as the dwitchibae, the actors who lead a nongak performance along with apchibae, who play musical instruments, the bearers of different flags including the farming community flag (nonggi) and command flag (yeonggi), and the player of the double-reed oboe (saenapsu). The japsaek lead the second half of the performance (dwitgut) ra

Korean Folk Arts

03

Arrow Throwing

Tuho (Kor. 투호, Chin. 投壺, lit. throwing into a vase) is a game in which players are divided into two teams and throw arrows into a vase placed at a certain distance. The vases into which the arrows are thrown vary both in size and shape. The size of the arrows also differs, and each player is given a set of twelve arrows. Points are earned depending on the proximitiy of the arrow to the center of the vase. The game originated in China prior to the Han dynasty (BCE 206 - CE 220). It is mentioned i

Korean Seasonal Customs

04

Gamnae Gejuldanggigi

A variation of tug-of-war that has been passed down in Gamcheon-ri (Gamnae) of Bubuk-myeon, Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, where the team members hitch a rope, knotted in the shape of a crab, around the shoulders while facing opposite directions from each other, and then crawl forward tugging the rope. Gamcheon was a stream known for a good haul of crab, and the local residents used to fight amongst other for a good spot catching the crabs. The elders of the community would then step forth

Korean Folk Arts

05

New Year’s Flag Greetings

Gisebae (Kor. 기세배, Chin. 旗歲拜, lit. New Year’s flag greetings) is a custom observed during Jeongwol Daeboreum (Kor. 정월대보름, Great Full Moon Festival) with the purpose of praying for an abundant harvest. As its name implies, the custom involves the use of flags that are referred to as nongsingi (Kor. 농신기, Chin. 農神旗, lit. farming god flag). Gisebae is also known under other names such as nonggi sebae (Kor. 농기세배, Chin. 農旗歲拜, lit. greetings of farming flags), nonggi bbaetgi (Kor. 농기뺏기, Chin. 農旗-, lit.

Korean Seasonal Customs

06

Iri Nongak

Nongak (farmers’ music) handed down mostly in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do Province. Iri Nongak largely has two lineages: one is the lineage of the Iri Nongak that has designated National Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 11-3, and the other is the native nongak passed down in the Iksan area. Iksan is geographically located in the middle of the Honam Udo Nongak and Honam Jwado Nongak regions, while having mutual influence with Chungcheong Nongak via the Geumgang River. For this reason, Iksan Nongak has a

Korean Folk Arts

07

Dukkeobijip Jitgi Nori

A game making cave-shaped houses by placing and patting wet dirt or sand over the back of one hand, and then slowly trying to remove it. Also called, Moraejip Jitgi Nori, this iconic folk game of Korea has children making houses with dirt or sand. First, the player places wet dirt or sand on the back of one hand, and then pats the dirt with the other hand to mold it into a solid structure. The patting takes patience and attention since the hand below dirt needs to be remain still throughout the

Korean Folk Arts