Song of Sun and Moon(日月戏巫歌)

Song of Sun and Moon

Headword

일월노리푸념 ( 日月戏巫歌 , Irwolnoripunyeom )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer SeoDaeseok(徐大錫)

The shamanic myth“ Irwolnoripunyeom, ”recited as part of the sun and moon ritual (ilwolsinje) in Gwanbuk region of North Hamgyeong Province, narrates the origins of the sun and moon gods.

Myeongwolgaksi (Maiden Myeongwol) Haedanggeum and Gungsanseonbi (Scholar Gungsan) hold a humble wedding three years after their first exchange of words. Gungsan is so captivated by Maiden Myeongwol’s beauty that he cannot leave her side, and deprived of income, they come close to starving. Maiden Myeongwol draws a portrait of herself for Gungsan to take to the woods with him to chop lumber. Gungsan is chopping wood, the portrait hanging on a tree, when a gust of wind blows and sweeps away the portrait, which lands at the house of Scholar Bae. Bae, upon witnessing Maiden Myeongwol’s beauty, takes a boat full of gold nuggets to Gungsan and proposes a janggi board game match. The two men play the match, Gungsan wagering his wife and Scholar Bae wagering his boat full of gold, and Gungsan loses three games in a row. Faced with losing his wife, Gungsan is unable to eat or drink, and Maiden Myeongwol proposes that she will disguise a maidservant as to look like her, while she disguises herself as the maid, dressed in a ragged skirt and fetching water with a limp in one leg, but Scholar Bae sees through this and asks for the maidservant who is fetching water. As Bae gets ready to take her away, Maiden Myeongwol secures five days wait, during which she butchers a cow to make slices of dried beef and fills Gungsan’s quilted pants and jacket with the meat slices, along with a bundle of needles and a skein of silk thread. Then she asks Scholar Bae to take Gungsan with them, and along the way, she leaves Gungsan on an island. On the island, Gungsan sustains himself on the beef jerky inside his clothes, and by fishing with the needles and thread. Gungsan also feeds the fish he catches to a baby crane, left behind on the island while the mother crane has ascended to the heavens. When the mother returns and sees that Gungsan has kept her baby alive, she carries Gungsan to the mainland. In the meantime, Maiden Myeongwol is living with Scholar Bae but without smiling or speaking, and Scholar Bae asks her what her wish is, to which she answers that she would like to host a three-day banquet for beggars. Gungsan attends the banquet but is seated at the wrong table and is given nothing to eat for three days. When Myeongwol finds him lamenting, she sets up a separate table for him and shows him a beaded robe, explaining that if he can pick up the robe by the collar and put it on with the back collar up, it will prove that he is her husband. Gungsan is able to put on the robe and ascends to the sky then comes back down, following which Scholar Bae also puts on the beaded robe and ascends to the sky, but not knowing how to take off the robe, is unable to come back down, and turns into a black kite. Gungsan and Maiden Myeongwol are reunited, spending their life together, after which they turned into the sun god and moon goddess.

“Song of Sun and Moon” is the myth of a man and wife from the earthly world turning into the sun god and moon goddess, and it is assumed that the association between the sun and moon from the celestial world, and a man and woman from the human world, originated from the yin-yang thought that the sun and the moon are associated with water and fire of the terrestrial world, and the female and the male of the human world. This mytheme has been widely transmitted in Korean mythology, from the myth of Jumong and the legend of Husband Yeono and Wife Seo of Silla, and the folk tale, “ Brother Sun and Sister Moon. ”

“ Song of Sun and Moon ” is a domestic myth in theme, its narrative structure starting from the birth of a family and followed by the trials that the family goes through, and ending with the completion of the family; in performance, it can be categorized as a shamanic myth, recited as part of a ritual segment for entertaining the audience. The male protagonist is foolish and incompetent while his female counterpart is wise and competent: The plot suggests that the family is faced with trials as a result of Gungsan’s foolishness and greed, while the trials are overcome by Maiden Myeongwol’s chastity and wisdom. This characterization, based on the superiority of women, seems to reflect the perspective of women in the shamanic community. Most Korean shamanic myths, in fact, feature female protagonists who resolve crisis in the community, from families to states, which reveals the matriarchal view of family as union of man and woman, as opposed to the patriarchal view of family that focuses on the father-son relationship.

Song of Sun and Moon

Song of Sun and Moon
Headword

일월노리푸념 ( 日月戏巫歌 , Irwolnoripunyeom )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer SeoDaeseok(徐大錫)

The shamanic myth“ Irwolnoripunyeom, ”recited as part of the sun and moon ritual (ilwolsinje) in Gwanbuk region of North Hamgyeong Province, narrates the origins of the sun and moon gods.

Myeongwolgaksi (Maiden Myeongwol) Haedanggeum and Gungsanseonbi (Scholar Gungsan) hold a humble wedding three years after their first exchange of words. Gungsan is so captivated by Maiden Myeongwol’s beauty that he cannot leave her side, and deprived of income, they come close to starving. Maiden Myeongwol draws a portrait of herself for Gungsan to take to the woods with him to chop lumber. Gungsan is chopping wood, the portrait hanging on a tree, when a gust of wind blows and sweeps away the portrait, which lands at the house of Scholar Bae. Bae, upon witnessing Maiden Myeongwol’s beauty, takes a boat full of gold nuggets to Gungsan and proposes a janggi board game match. The two men play the match, Gungsan wagering his wife and Scholar Bae wagering his boat full of gold, and Gungsan loses three games in a row. Faced with losing his wife, Gungsan is unable to eat or drink, and Maiden Myeongwol proposes that she will disguise a maidservant as to look like her, while she disguises herself as the maid, dressed in a ragged skirt and fetching water with a limp in one leg, but Scholar Bae sees through this and asks for the maidservant who is fetching water. As Bae gets ready to take her away, Maiden Myeongwol secures five days wait, during which she butchers a cow to make slices of dried beef and fills Gungsan’s quilted pants and jacket with the meat slices, along with a bundle of needles and a skein of silk thread. Then she asks Scholar Bae to take Gungsan with them, and along the way, she leaves Gungsan on an island. On the island, Gungsan sustains himself on the beef jerky inside his clothes, and by fishing with the needles and thread. Gungsan also feeds the fish he catches to a baby crane, left behind on the island while the mother crane has ascended to the heavens. When the mother returns and sees that Gungsan has kept her baby alive, she carries Gungsan to the mainland. In the meantime, Maiden Myeongwol is living with Scholar Bae but without smiling or speaking, and Scholar Bae asks her what her wish is, to which she answers that she would like to host a three-day banquet for beggars. Gungsan attends the banquet but is seated at the wrong table and is given nothing to eat for three days. When Myeongwol finds him lamenting, she sets up a separate table for him and shows him a beaded robe, explaining that if he can pick up the robe by the collar and put it on with the back collar up, it will prove that he is her husband. Gungsan is able to put on the robe and ascends to the sky then comes back down, following which Scholar Bae also puts on the beaded robe and ascends to the sky, but not knowing how to take off the robe, is unable to come back down, and turns into a black kite. Gungsan and Maiden Myeongwol are reunited, spending their life together, after which they turned into the sun god and moon goddess.

“Song of Sun and Moon” is the myth of a man and wife from the earthly world turning into the sun god and moon goddess, and it is assumed that the association between the sun and moon from the celestial world, and a man and woman from the human world, originated from the yin-yang thought that the sun and the moon are associated with water and fire of the terrestrial world, and the female and the male of the human world. This mytheme has been widely transmitted in Korean mythology, from the myth of Jumong and the legend of Husband Yeono and Wife Seo of Silla, and the folk tale, “ Brother Sun and Sister Moon. ”

“ Song of Sun and Moon ” is a domestic myth in theme, its narrative structure starting from the birth of a family and followed by the trials that the family goes through, and ending with the completion of the family; in performance, it can be categorized as a shamanic myth, recited as part of a ritual segment for entertaining the audience. The male protagonist is foolish and incompetent while his female counterpart is wise and competent: The plot suggests that the family is faced with trials as a result of Gungsan’s foolishness and greed, while the trials are overcome by Maiden Myeongwol’s chastity and wisdom. This characterization, based on the superiority of women, seems to reflect the perspective of women in the shamanic community. Most Korean shamanic myths, in fact, feature female protagonists who resolve crisis in the community, from families to states, which reveals the matriarchal view of family as union of man and woman, as opposed to the patriarchal view of family that focuses on the father-son relationship.