Nonggi(农旗)

Headword

농기 ( 农旗 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Nongak

Writer KimSuntae(金善泰)

The flag representing a farming village, dure or nongak (farmers’ music) troupe.

Nonggi (Kor. 농기, Chin. 農旗, lit. farming flag) is the flag that represents an individual farming village. The term nonggi is a generic one that applies to flags of varying names and forms used throughout the Korean peninsula. Nonggi is relatively large compared to other flags so that it be seen from a distance, and it expresses the power and status of the group that holds the flag. The name of the flag comes from the slogan nongjacheonhajidaebon (Kor. 농자천하지대본, Chin. 農者天下之大本, lit. agriculture is the prop of the country). In Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, Daejeon, and the Honam region, where people take active part in communal farm labor groups called dure, a dragon is often depicted on the flag, in which case the flag is called yonggi or yongdanggi (yong means dragon). In the Yeongnam region, the flag was considered as the physical manifestation of the village gods and was called seonanggi, cheonanggi, or cheonwanggi. In Jeollanam-do Province the flag is called deokseokgi, meaning it is as wide as a deokseokgi (straw mat covering the back of an ox). In different regions, depending on its size, the flag is called keungi or daegi, meaning “large flag, ” and depending on its size and the design it bears it may also be called yongdaegi (Kor. 용대기, Chin. 龍大旗, lit. large dragon flag).

Nonggi consists of the flagpole tip, the flagpole, and the flag itself, and varies from region to region. Basically, the flag is adorned at the end of the pole with pheasant feathers and bells, cloth winding up the pole or hanging from it (Kor. 색포, Chin. 色布, lit. colored cloth) and a dragon design on the flag and varied shapes and letters with shamanic meaning. The tip of the flagpole is generally decorated with an ornament consisting of bells and a collection of pheasant tail feathers. The flag from regions where dure are active is adorned with jinebal, made by connecting small right-angled triangle patches at the edge of the flag.

Nonggi serves as a symbol of the village at times when collective decision- making and action is needed from community members to carry out communal rites, labor, or nori (folk games, performances and entertainments). In particular, nongak is performed following farming work through various rites related to different times in the farming season such as the New Year, the busy season (when tasks such as weeding are carried out), Baekjung (15th day of the 7th lunar month), after harvest, and the agricultural off-season.

Community rites include jisinbapgi, which means treading on the earth gods to chase away evil spirits; dongje, a rite to pray for the welfare of the village to the village gods, dure rites, the rites accompanying communal farm labor; homissisi, the hoe washing rite at Baekjung; and giuje, the rite to pray for rain. In jisinbapgi the flag plays a role in the performance process. Early in the year, farmers playing nongak go round to all the houses in the village and perform jisinbapgi. When the nongak troupe led by the flag bearer (gisu) arrives at the house, yeonggi (command flag) is held at the front gate, where mungut is performed. When yeonggi is raised, nonggi is carried through the gate into the yard where it is raised in the center. The nongak troupe then moves around to every corner of the house inside and out, playing music and stomping on the ground to tread on the earth gods, then gather in the yard again to dance and play music.

The nonggi is essential in performing the dongje rite. The nonggi is presented in the form of nonggisebae or flag in work and playing. During rice planting or weeding, the nongak group holds the flag in front of the village and guides dure workers to the work sites. When people arrive at the work sites, the nonggi is fixed in one place, and they start working following melodies created by the nongak group and singers. When going back home after the day’s work ends, the nonggi leads the nongak group and moves.

Nonggisebae is a rite in which the nonggi from different villages greet and observe courtesy to each other when they meet according to their respective ranks. Rank is decided by kinship such as younger brother and older brother, and parent and child, or social order such as government positions. In the process of gisebae, sometimes the flags clash and begin to fight. This flag battle is called gissaum.

The nonggi is a product of traditional agricultural society and deeply related to communal farm labor groups called dure. The farming flag is used not only for agricultural activities such as dure but for general cultural activities such as rites and nori. Consisting of the flagpole tip, the flagpole, and the flag itself, and featuring varied shapes and letters with shamanic meaning, the nonggi in traditional society contained symbolic, military and religious elements. It symbolized a village community and through various performances such as flag games, flag fights, and gisebae, it played a part in strengthening collaboration, solidarity, and unity in the community.

Nonggi

Nonggi
Headword

농기 ( 农旗 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Nongak

Writer KimSuntae(金善泰)

The flag representing a farming village, dure or nongak (farmers’ music) troupe.

Nonggi (Kor. 농기, Chin. 農旗, lit. farming flag) is the flag that represents an individual farming village. The term nonggi is a generic one that applies to flags of varying names and forms used throughout the Korean peninsula. Nonggi is relatively large compared to other flags so that it be seen from a distance, and it expresses the power and status of the group that holds the flag. The name of the flag comes from the slogan nongjacheonhajidaebon (Kor. 농자천하지대본, Chin. 農者天下之大本, lit. agriculture is the prop of the country). In Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, Daejeon, and the Honam region, where people take active part in communal farm labor groups called dure, a dragon is often depicted on the flag, in which case the flag is called yonggi or yongdanggi (yong means dragon). In the Yeongnam region, the flag was considered as the physical manifestation of the village gods and was called seonanggi, cheonanggi, or cheonwanggi. In Jeollanam-do Province the flag is called deokseokgi, meaning it is as wide as a deokseokgi (straw mat covering the back of an ox). In different regions, depending on its size, the flag is called keungi or daegi, meaning “large flag, ” and depending on its size and the design it bears it may also be called yongdaegi (Kor. 용대기, Chin. 龍大旗, lit. large dragon flag).

Nonggi consists of the flagpole tip, the flagpole, and the flag itself, and varies from region to region. Basically, the flag is adorned at the end of the pole with pheasant feathers and bells, cloth winding up the pole or hanging from it (Kor. 색포, Chin. 色布, lit. colored cloth) and a dragon design on the flag and varied shapes and letters with shamanic meaning. The tip of the flagpole is generally decorated with an ornament consisting of bells and a collection of pheasant tail feathers. The flag from regions where dure are active is adorned with jinebal, made by connecting small right-angled triangle patches at the edge of the flag.

Nonggi serves as a symbol of the village at times when collective decision- making and action is needed from community members to carry out communal rites, labor, or nori (folk games, performances and entertainments). In particular, nongak is performed following farming work through various rites related to different times in the farming season such as the New Year, the busy season (when tasks such as weeding are carried out), Baekjung (15th day of the 7th lunar month), after harvest, and the agricultural off-season.

Community rites include jisinbapgi, which means treading on the earth gods to chase away evil spirits; dongje, a rite to pray for the welfare of the village to the village gods, dure rites, the rites accompanying communal farm labor; homissisi, the hoe washing rite at Baekjung; and giuje, the rite to pray for rain. In jisinbapgi the flag plays a role in the performance process. Early in the year, farmers playing nongak go round to all the houses in the village and perform jisinbapgi. When the nongak troupe led by the flag bearer (gisu) arrives at the house, yeonggi (command flag) is held at the front gate, where mungut is performed. When yeonggi is raised, nonggi is carried through the gate into the yard where it is raised in the center. The nongak troupe then moves around to every corner of the house inside and out, playing music and stomping on the ground to tread on the earth gods, then gather in the yard again to dance and play music.

The nonggi is essential in performing the dongje rite. The nonggi is presented in the form of nonggisebae or flag in work and playing. During rice planting or weeding, the nongak group holds the flag in front of the village and guides dure workers to the work sites. When people arrive at the work sites, the nonggi is fixed in one place, and they start working following melodies created by the nongak group and singers. When going back home after the day’s work ends, the nonggi leads the nongak group and moves.

Nonggisebae is a rite in which the nonggi from different villages greet and observe courtesy to each other when they meet according to their respective ranks. Rank is decided by kinship such as younger brother and older brother, and parent and child, or social order such as government positions. In the process of gisebae, sometimes the flags clash and begin to fight. This flag battle is called gissaum.

The nonggi is a product of traditional agricultural society and deeply related to communal farm labor groups called dure. The farming flag is used not only for agricultural activities such as dure but for general cultural activities such as rites and nori. Consisting of the flagpole tip, the flagpole, and the flag itself, and featuring varied shapes and letters with shamanic meaning, the nonggi in traditional society contained symbolic, military and religious elements. It symbolized a village community and through various performances such as flag games, flag fights, and gisebae, it played a part in strengthening collaboration, solidarity, and unity in the community.