Origin of Smallpox Goddess Manura(玛努拉本解)

Origin of Smallpox Goddess Manura

Headword

마누라본풀이 ( 玛努拉本解 , Manurabonpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer LeeSooja(李秀子)

The shamanic myth“Manurabonpuri”from Jeju Island, recited as part of the island’s keungut, or grand rituals, narrates the origins of Manurasin, the goddess of smallpox, which was very common among children, and greatly feared due to the socially debilitating effects of the pockmarks that the disease left behind.

The following is a version of the myth as recited by shaman An Sa-in:

One day, the goddess of childbirth Saengbulhalmang (Samsinhalmeoni) crossed the bridge at Seocheongang, the river flowing between the world of the living and the underworld, and headed toward a four-way intersection, in order to bring new life to all the people of the world. At the intersection, she encountered Daebyeolsangsin (Great Deity of Smallpox), leading a parade of fancy, colorful banners and 30, 000 clerks and servants, on her way to bring smallpox to children, carrying a book of their names and faces. Saengbulhalmang knelt and begged to the deity to please let the children to whom she has given life to not suffer too much from smallpox. Daebyeolsangsin glared at the goddess, bawling angrily that a woman, considered an inauspicious being, was standing in his way, and he made the children given life by Saengbulhalmang suffer severe smallpox, their faces ending up ugly as a gourd. Angry at what happened despite her humble pleading, Saengbulhalmang impregnated the smallpox god’s wife using her life flower (saengbulkkot), keeping her from giving birth fourteen months into her pregnancy. As his wife lay dying, Daebyeolsangsin had no choice but to beg Saengbulhalmang for forgiveness and built a bridge of kites for her to cross Seocheongang to his house to help his wife’s delivery.

The myth is recited as part of Boldumaji, the Jeju ritual for praying for conception, safe delivery, and healthy childhood, held in worship of three goddesses: the childbirth goddess Mengjinguk Daughter Baby (also called Saengbulsin, Samseunghalmang); East Seas Dragon King Daughter Baby (Jeoseunghalmang, Gusamseunghalmang), who brings disease or death to children; and Manurasin, the goddess who gives children smallpox.

The narrative structure of this myth comprises conflict between female and male deities, male deity’s contempt and insulting attitude toward the female deity, and revenge by the female deity, assumed to provide psychological relief and compensation for women in traditional society, suffering under male oppression.

Origin of Smallpox Goddess Manura

Origin of Smallpox Goddess Manura
Headword

마누라본풀이 ( 玛努拉本解 , Manurabonpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer LeeSooja(李秀子)

The shamanic myth“Manurabonpuri”from Jeju Island, recited as part of the island’s keungut, or grand rituals, narrates the origins of Manurasin, the goddess of smallpox, which was very common among children, and greatly feared due to the socially debilitating effects of the pockmarks that the disease left behind.

The following is a version of the myth as recited by shaman An Sa-in:

One day, the goddess of childbirth Saengbulhalmang (Samsinhalmeoni) crossed the bridge at Seocheongang, the river flowing between the world of the living and the underworld, and headed toward a four-way intersection, in order to bring new life to all the people of the world. At the intersection, she encountered Daebyeolsangsin (Great Deity of Smallpox), leading a parade of fancy, colorful banners and 30, 000 clerks and servants, on her way to bring smallpox to children, carrying a book of their names and faces. Saengbulhalmang knelt and begged to the deity to please let the children to whom she has given life to not suffer too much from smallpox. Daebyeolsangsin glared at the goddess, bawling angrily that a woman, considered an inauspicious being, was standing in his way, and he made the children given life by Saengbulhalmang suffer severe smallpox, their faces ending up ugly as a gourd. Angry at what happened despite her humble pleading, Saengbulhalmang impregnated the smallpox god’s wife using her life flower (saengbulkkot), keeping her from giving birth fourteen months into her pregnancy. As his wife lay dying, Daebyeolsangsin had no choice but to beg Saengbulhalmang for forgiveness and built a bridge of kites for her to cross Seocheongang to his house to help his wife’s delivery.

The myth is recited as part of Boldumaji, the Jeju ritual for praying for conception, safe delivery, and healthy childhood, held in worship of three goddesses: the childbirth goddess Mengjinguk Daughter Baby (also called Saengbulsin, Samseunghalmang); East Seas Dragon King Daughter Baby (Jeoseunghalmang, Gusamseunghalmang), who brings disease or death to children; and Manurasin, the goddess who gives children smallpox.

The narrative structure of this myth comprises conflict between female and male deities, male deity’s contempt and insulting attitude toward the female deity, and revenge by the female deity, assumed to provide psychological relief and compensation for women in traditional society, suffering under male oppression.