Taboo Rope(禁绳)

Taboo Rope

Headword

금줄 ( 禁绳 , Geumjul )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Village Gods > Ritual Props

Writer RyuJongmok(柳鍾穆)

Geumjul, or taboo rope, is a straw garland hung over a gate, in the entrance of an alley, around a divine tree (sinmok) or on the sauce jar terrace to keep out impurities.

The garland is made of left-hand lay straw rope, tied with a number of symbolic items, which vary by function and occasion: When a son is born, a rope is hung over the two pillars of the gate of the house, with fresh pine branches (solgaji), pieces of wooden charcoal (sut), and red peppers (gochu); when a daughter is born, with pine branches, charcoal and folded paper. For village tutelary festivals (dongje), taboo ropes with folded paper or pine branches are hung not only at the village shrine and on the village guardian tree but all other venues considered as sacred, including the gates of the houses of the ritual officials.

Left-hand lay rope is not a regular type of rope and is not used in venues for everyday routines. This practice is related to the belief that evil spirits that possess yin elements fear the left, which is of yang elements.

The straws used to make the rope are stalks that bear rice grains and this symbolizes strength. White ritual paper is the symbol for money and reflects a prayer for material fortune, and its color contributes to the function of clearly marking forbidden territory.

Pine branches are evergreen, representing unchanging energy, and the sharp pine needles symbolize sorcery powers for driving away evil forces. Red peppers symbolize the phallus, and red is a yang color that is most feared by evil spirits. Charcoal is black, a yin color, and its purifying capacities are believed to prevent evil forces by absorbing them.

Taboo Rope

Taboo Rope
Headword

금줄 ( 禁绳 , Geumjul )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Village Gods > Ritual Props

Writer RyuJongmok(柳鍾穆)

Geumjul, or taboo rope, is a straw garland hung over a gate, in the entrance of an alley, around a divine tree (sinmok) or on the sauce jar terrace to keep out impurities.

The garland is made of left-hand lay straw rope, tied with a number of symbolic items, which vary by function and occasion: When a son is born, a rope is hung over the two pillars of the gate of the house, with fresh pine branches (solgaji), pieces of wooden charcoal (sut), and red peppers (gochu); when a daughter is born, with pine branches, charcoal and folded paper. For village tutelary festivals (dongje), taboo ropes with folded paper or pine branches are hung not only at the village shrine and on the village guardian tree but all other venues considered as sacred, including the gates of the houses of the ritual officials.

Left-hand lay rope is not a regular type of rope and is not used in venues for everyday routines. This practice is related to the belief that evil spirits that possess yin elements fear the left, which is of yang elements.

The straws used to make the rope are stalks that bear rice grains and this symbolizes strength. White ritual paper is the symbol for money and reflects a prayer for material fortune, and its color contributes to the function of clearly marking forbidden territory.

Pine branches are evergreen, representing unchanging energy, and the sharp pine needles symbolize sorcery powers for driving away evil forces. Red peppers symbolize the phallus, and red is a yang color that is most feared by evil spirits. Charcoal is black, a yin color, and its purifying capacities are believed to prevent evil forces by absorbing them.