Geurimja Nori

Geurimja Nori

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game making various shadows casted by placing and moving hands in front of candlelight or lamplight.

Geurimja Nori is a nationwide game played by one or multiple players, mostly during winter at night until electricity became widely used. A shadow generally reflects the exact contour of an object. However, depending on the direction of the light, the shadow may increase, or decrease, in size, or even change shape entirely. Since the inception of fire, different shadows generated by the light has been interesting enough to stimulate human curiosity. The form of this game was simple mimicking at first, and gradually developed into a more complex game using paper, wooden sticks, and other props. Eventually, Geurimji Nori, or shadow puppetry, emerged.

Korean traditional shadow puppetry is comprised of Manseokjung Nori or Pail Nori. This game began as a play making straight-forward shapes, before developing into an art, to this day, the game continues crossing the boundary between play and art. A candle light, an overhead projector, or a slide projector, provides a luminous source, while a screen, or a wall, is used to cast shadows. The darker a surrounding is, the clearer a shadow becomes. Therefore, blocking other lights is crucial. Next, several shapes are attempted using only one hand or both hands. At first, players create a shape and name it. After becoming familiar with creating shadows, they start to guess what others have made, or compete to create an improved shadow of a certain animal or an object. Simple tools, including wood or dishes, can be used to cast a shadow part that cannot be created with the use of hands. Moreover, the more skilled of players can perform Geurimja Nori much easier.

The West traditionally shunned the dark, regarding it a chaos and an evil, or possessing a demonic energy, while Egypt worshiped the sun, calling their king, “pharaoh, ” meaning “the son of the sun.” On the other hand, the East worshiped the moon, which breaks the darkness, generating numerous games and traditions requiring moonlight. One good example could be the lunar calendar, which was more commonly used than the solar calendar in the East.

Today, electricity overwhelms not only darkness, but also shadows. Accordingly, children feel fear and dread of the darkness, rather than coziness;. cloudy weather scares people, making them frivolous of the dark; and the night keeps people in rural areas from leaving their homes. Geurimja Nori can then serve as a medium for recovering that lost sense of the dark, providing an opportunity to restore this cultural tradition.

Geurimja Nori

Geurimja Nori
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game making various shadows casted by placing and moving hands in front of candlelight or lamplight.

Geurimja Nori is a nationwide game played by one or multiple players, mostly during winter at night until electricity became widely used. A shadow generally reflects the exact contour of an object. However, depending on the direction of the light, the shadow may increase, or decrease, in size, or even change shape entirely. Since the inception of fire, different shadows generated by the light has been interesting enough to stimulate human curiosity. The form of this game was simple mimicking at first, and gradually developed into a more complex game using paper, wooden sticks, and other props. Eventually, Geurimji Nori, or shadow puppetry, emerged.

Korean traditional shadow puppetry is comprised of Manseokjung Nori or Pail Nori. This game began as a play making straight-forward shapes, before developing into an art, to this day, the game continues crossing the boundary between play and art. A candle light, an overhead projector, or a slide projector, provides a luminous source, while a screen, or a wall, is used to cast shadows. The darker a surrounding is, the clearer a shadow becomes. Therefore, blocking other lights is crucial. Next, several shapes are attempted using only one hand or both hands. At first, players create a shape and name it. After becoming familiar with creating shadows, they start to guess what others have made, or compete to create an improved shadow of a certain animal or an object. Simple tools, including wood or dishes, can be used to cast a shadow part that cannot be created with the use of hands. Moreover, the more skilled of players can perform Geurimja Nori much easier.

The West traditionally shunned the dark, regarding it a chaos and an evil, or possessing a demonic energy, while Egypt worshiped the sun, calling their king, “pharaoh, ” meaning “the son of the sun.” On the other hand, the East worshiped the moon, which breaks the darkness, generating numerous games and traditions requiring moonlight. One good example could be the lunar calendar, which was more commonly used than the solar calendar in the East.

Today, electricity overwhelms not only darkness, but also shadows. Accordingly, children feel fear and dread of the darkness, rather than coziness;. cloudy weather scares people, making them frivolous of the dark; and the night keeps people in rural areas from leaving their homes. Geurimja Nori can then serve as a medium for recovering that lost sense of the dark, providing an opportunity to restore this cultural tradition.