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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



Thin belt made of threads twisted together to make a cord (dahoe) that was worn with outer garments such as dopo, jeonbok or changui (scholar’s robe). A type of belt in the category of silk belts (sadae) consisting of a cord made with silken threads, sejodae also had tassels (sul) at either end, and for this reason it was also called sultti. It was worn around the waist and the rank of the wearer was distinguished by the color of the cord. The sejodae was one of the belts, including wondahoe (K

Korean Clothing


Gwangju Chilseok Gossaum Nori

A game clashing two gos, long structures made of logs and straw, to decide a winner. The origin of Gossaum Nori remains unknown due to the lack of any historical record, however, the tradition was passed down through word of mouth. According to the data, Chilseok Village has a strong, earthly energy, based on the principles of Feng-Shui, due to its characteristic of taking the form of an ox laying down. This resulted in the villagers being unable to raise dogs there, leading to their raising gee

Korean Folk Arts


Boat Ritual

Baegosa is a worship ritual to pray for a big catch and safety on a boat. This ritual is held privately by boat owners to worship the boat guardian deity Baeseonang, or as part of communal rituals like pungeoje or dangje. As a private ritual, baegosa is observed on seasonal holidays, among which the biggest is held on Jeongwoldaeboreum (Great Full Moon) on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. It is also held when a new boat has been purchased or constructed; when setting out for a catch;

Korean Folk Beliefs



Depraved monk appearing in masked dance-dramas. A depraved monk who leads a vulgar life although he is a Buddhist monk and ridicules his teacher, Nojang. Meokjung introduces himself as a Buddhist monk, but his speech and behavior is vulgar. In addition, he enjoys singing and dancing and seduces women while playing the beopgo (Buddhist drum). And when Meokjung finds out the identity of Nojang (old monk), he makes fun of him by likening him to an animal or an object. Such features of the character

Korean Folk Arts



Children’s socks with embroidery on either side and colorful tassels attached to the toes. Taraebeoseon are socks for children, who wore them before their first birthday until the age of two or three. In general, beoseon, traditional socks, were mostly made of plain white cotton, but children’s socks were colorfully decorated to make them look more attractive. Depending on season, taraebeoson were lined instead of padded and quilted; and sometimes only tassels were attached without any decorati

Korean Clothing


Coming-of-age ceremony for boys

The coming-of-age ceremony for male members of the Korean society in the past to celebrate their reaching the age of twenty, that is, adulthood. Gwallye was performed for boys who were soon to marry or who had reached the age of twenty. This coming-of-age ceremony for boys took place according to the following procedures. ① Taegil (setting the date): The ceremony had to take place on an auspicious day or, if the families concerned found it difficult to set such a date, a day in the first month o

Korean Rites of Passage