Shamanic Song of Sim Cheong(沈清巫祭巫歌)

Shamanic Song of Sim Cheong

Headword

심청굿무가 ( 沈清巫祭巫歌 , Simcheonggumuga )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer ParkKyungsin(朴敬伸)

The shamanic myth “Simcheonggumuga” is recited as part of the Simcheong ritual or the Blind Segment in byeolsingut, or the ritual for village tutelary spirit, held on the east coast regions of the Korean Peninsula.

Blind Man Sim and his wife Lady Gwak, being childless, prays with devotion to mountains and rivers, and conceive a child, but soon after giving birth to their daughter Sim Cheong, the wise and virtuous Lady Gwak dies from complications and Cheong is left motherless only seven days after birth. Blind Man Sim endures extreme hardships to raise Cheong and she in return looks after her father with devotion. One day, Blind Man Sim falls into a stream and is saved by a monk in charge of donations at Mongeun Temple, who tells him that a donation of three hundred seok of rice will restore his vision, and Sim promises a donation, but soon regrets it. Cheong, upon learning of this, sells herself to merchant sailors from Nanjing as a sacrifice for the waters of Indangsu, in exchange for three hundred seok of rice, which she sends to Mongeun Temple as donation. On the day she is set to leave for the sea, the sailors come and take her and she is pushed off the ship into the waters of Indangsu, but is rescued with the help of Okhwangsangje (Great Emperor of Jade), and at Yonggung (Dragon Palace) she is reunited with her mother, who has descended from the heavens to see Cheong. Her mother ascends again a few days later and Cheong comes back to life, transported on a lotus blossom. When the Nanjing merchant sailors come across the lotus flower, they take it to the emperor, who, upon encountering Cheong inside the flower, marries her. Sim Cheong, now an empress, dearly misses her father and requests the emperor to host a three month and ten day banquet for all the blind men, during which she reunites with Blind Man Sim and he, overcome with joy, regains his vision.

This myth is a shamanic song version of the classical novel The Tale of Sim Cheong and the solo epic pansori narrative“Song of Sim Cheong.” The story of filial daughter Sim Cheong is one of the most popular narratives in the history of Korean literature, along with the story of the faithful wife Chunhyang, with myriad different versions and variants across genres.

The shamanic song of Sim Cheong is observed in no other region but on the east coast, where it is recited within the community of hereditary shamans, who are all professional shamans connected by blood ties. Among the many shamanic myths transmitted in this region, including“ Song of Princess Bari ”and “ Song of Smallpox Prevention Ritual (Sonnimgut), ” “Song of Sim Cheong” is the longest and the most difficult, and its recitation is used as a gauge of a shaman’s capacities.

Shamanic Song of Sim Cheong

Shamanic Song of Sim Cheong
Headword

심청굿무가 ( 沈清巫祭巫歌 , Simcheonggumuga )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer ParkKyungsin(朴敬伸)

The shamanic myth “Simcheonggumuga” is recited as part of the Simcheong ritual or the Blind Segment in byeolsingut, or the ritual for village tutelary spirit, held on the east coast regions of the Korean Peninsula.

Blind Man Sim and his wife Lady Gwak, being childless, prays with devotion to mountains and rivers, and conceive a child, but soon after giving birth to their daughter Sim Cheong, the wise and virtuous Lady Gwak dies from complications and Cheong is left motherless only seven days after birth. Blind Man Sim endures extreme hardships to raise Cheong and she in return looks after her father with devotion. One day, Blind Man Sim falls into a stream and is saved by a monk in charge of donations at Mongeun Temple, who tells him that a donation of three hundred seok of rice will restore his vision, and Sim promises a donation, but soon regrets it. Cheong, upon learning of this, sells herself to merchant sailors from Nanjing as a sacrifice for the waters of Indangsu, in exchange for three hundred seok of rice, which she sends to Mongeun Temple as donation. On the day she is set to leave for the sea, the sailors come and take her and she is pushed off the ship into the waters of Indangsu, but is rescued with the help of Okhwangsangje (Great Emperor of Jade), and at Yonggung (Dragon Palace) she is reunited with her mother, who has descended from the heavens to see Cheong. Her mother ascends again a few days later and Cheong comes back to life, transported on a lotus blossom. When the Nanjing merchant sailors come across the lotus flower, they take it to the emperor, who, upon encountering Cheong inside the flower, marries her. Sim Cheong, now an empress, dearly misses her father and requests the emperor to host a three month and ten day banquet for all the blind men, during which she reunites with Blind Man Sim and he, overcome with joy, regains his vision.

This myth is a shamanic song version of the classical novel The Tale of Sim Cheong and the solo epic pansori narrative“Song of Sim Cheong.” The story of filial daughter Sim Cheong is one of the most popular narratives in the history of Korean literature, along with the story of the faithful wife Chunhyang, with myriad different versions and variants across genres.

The shamanic song of Sim Cheong is observed in no other region but on the east coast, where it is recited within the community of hereditary shamans, who are all professional shamans connected by blood ties. Among the many shamanic myths transmitted in this region, including“ Song of Princess Bari ”and “ Song of Smallpox Prevention Ritual (Sonnimgut), ” “Song of Sim Cheong” is the longest and the most difficult, and its recitation is used as a gauge of a shaman’s capacities.