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JeonKyungwook

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JeonKyungwook

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Tal

Mask worn to express a certain character. Mask made in the form of human or animal faces and worn by the actors to express certain characters. Tal, or masks, are found around the world. There are masks in a variety of forms in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Melanesia and other regions. However, since the Quran of Islam bans Muslims from making human or animal idols for performance, masks cannot be used in the Near East region, including Arabia, Northeast Africa, and the Balkans as well as in

Korean Folk Arts

Bukcheong Lion Play

Bukcheong Saja Noreum (Kor. 북청사자놀음, Chin. 北靑獅子-, lit. Bukcheong Lion Play) is a mask play performed on the Great Full Moon Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month) in the Bukcheong-gun area of South Hamgyeong Province. In 1967 the performance was designated as Important Intangible Cultural Treasure No. 15. This dance drama was held in all villages within Bukcheong-gun’s jurisdiction, i.e. in eleven myeon and three eup. Prior to the festival between the fourth and fourteenth of the first luna

Korean Seasonal Customs

Gwandeung

A custom of watching the beautiful lanterns of Yeondeunghoe, an event of lighting lanterns and wishing for good fortune to Buddha. In India’s Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival), lanterns are lit up all night while offering flowers and incense. Also, there is a splendid parade of fourwheel carriages where Buddha and Bodhisattvas are enshrined, amid various performances presented by artists. This kind of Yeondeunghoe eventually had a significant impact on Yeondeunghoe and Gwandeung folk culture

Korean Folk Arts

Evil-repelling deity

Deity believed to repel demons and other evil spirits from a funeral procession or narye (Kor. 나례, Chin. 儺禮, exorcism rite). Originating in ancient China, where it was revered as the expeller of demons, Bangsangsi was conceived as a deity wearing the skin of a bear and a gold mask with four eyes, and carrying a spear and shield in his hands. In Korea, the name Bangsangsi refers to the duty to be fulfilled by four fierce, brave men. Its literal meaning is “a man with a strange face.” A low-rankin

Korean Rites of Passage

Five Rites of State

A book of basic rules and regulations on the five state rites of Joseon published during the reign of King Seongjong (r. 1469-1494) by a group of scholar-officials led by Shin Suk-ju (1417-1475). Planned as a book of the five major state rites of the Joseon dynasty, “Gukjo-oryeui” (國朝五禮儀, Five Rites of State) was completed by a group of Confucian scholar-officials including Shin Suk-ju and Jeong Cheok in 1474 during the reign of King Seongjong. In the book, the state rites of Joseon are divided

Korean Rites of Passage

Namsadang Show

Namsadang nori (Kor. 남사당놀이, Chin. 男寺黨-, lit. Namsadang play) refers to shows which were performed by troupes of male entertainers, or namsadangpae (Kor. 남사당패, Chin. 男寺黨牌) who travelled around the country from spring to autumn. The program of these troupes consisted of music and dance performances and a variety of acrobatics including beona (Kor. 버나, saucer spinning), salpan (Kor. 살판, floor acrobatics), and eoreum (Kor. 어름, rope walking). The troupes also staged dramatic genres such as deotboegi

Korean Seasonal Customs

Saja Nori

A series of performances where performers wear lion masks. Among the mask performances of Korea passed down to the modern day, Bukcheong Saja Nori, Bongsan Mask Dance, Gangryeong Mask Dance, Eunyul Mask Dance, Suyeong Yaryu, Tongyeong Ogwangdae, and Hahoe Byeolsingut Talnori, features the quality of a Sajachum (lion dance). The lion dances in the performances are mostly performed for Byeoksajingyeong (keeping away evil spirits and wishing for a good fortune). In particular, Bukcheong Saja Nori h

Korean Folk Arts

Deolmeorijip

Concubine of the old man, Yeonggam. Concubine of the the old man (Yeonggam) in traditional Korean masked dancedramas and the puppet play Kkokdugaksinoreum. Various Korean masked dance-dramas feature a character like Deolmeorijip, who appears as the concubine of Yeonggam. In these performances, the concubine goes by various names that reflect her place of origin: Yongsansamgae Deolmeorijip and Deolmeorijip (in Kkokdugaksinoreum); Jemulju (or Jemulpojip in Goseong Ogwangdae); Jedaegaksi (or Jemulp

Korean Folk Arts

Tightrope Walking

Traditional Korean tightrope-walking performance is referred to as jultagi (Kor. 줄타기) and, in contrast with similar foreign genres, combines acrobatics with dancing, singing, and humor. The tightrope walker exchanges jokes with another member of the troupe who is standing on the ground. The accompanying music is played on string and wind instruments. Jultagi was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in traditional Korea. The performances attracted not only large crowds of common people,

Korean Seasonal Customs

Yut Stick Divination

Yut-jeom (Kor. 윷점, Chin. 柶占, lit. fortune-telling with yut) is a divination practice intended to read one’s fortune or predict the outcome of farming for the year. The practice uses the sticks of the popular folk game yut (Kor. 윷). Yut-jeom is also known under the Sino-Korean name sajeom (Kor. 사점, Chin. 柶占). This custom, which was widespread in traditional Korea and is still popular today, can be done individually or in groups. On New Year’s Day yut sticks are thrown three times, and each time t

Korean Seasonal Customs

Kite Flying

Yeonnalligi (Kor. 연날리기, Chin. 鳶-, kite flying) is a popular folk game played in winter. The frame of the kite is made with thin bamboo pieces, and the kite is controlled by winding and unwinding its string around a reel. The oldest surviving record concerning kite flying is found in the biography of Kim Yu-sin (595-673) in the “Samguk Sagi” (Kor. 삼국사기, Chin. 三國史記, History of the Three Kingdoms, 1145). Historically, kites were flown for military purposes. In ancient documents and books, kites are

Korean Seasonal Customs

Minsokgeuk

Traditional Korean folk drama. Traditional folk drama handed down among the common people including gamyeongeuk (masked dance-drama), Kkokdugaksinoruem (title of a puppet play), mudang gut nori (shaman ritual drama), baltal (foot mask drama), and Jindo Dasiraegi. Forms of traditional folk drama, or minsokgeuk (Kor. 민속극, Chin. 民俗劇, lit. folk drama), performed in Korea today include gamyeongeuk, Kkokdugaksinoruem, mudang gut nori, baltal, and Jindo Dasiraegi. The diversity of this genre in the p

Korean Folk Arts

Gamyeongeuk

Traditional masked dance-drama. Traditional masked dance-drama where dramatic scenes are acted out by performers wearing the masks of human or animal characters. Aside from gamyeongeuk (Kor. 가면극, Chin. 假面劇, lit. mask drama), this form of traditional masked dance-drama is also called talchum (Kor. 탈춤, lit. mask dance), talnori (Kor. 탈놀이, lit. mask play), and talnoruem (Kor. 탈놀음, lit. mask play). It also goes by different names such as sandaenori, yaryu (Kor. 야류, Chin. 野遊, lit. playing in the fie

Korean Folk Arts

Bukcheong Sajanori

Lion play from the Bukcheong region of Hamgyeongnam-do Province. Lion masked dance-drama originating in Bukcheong, Hamgyeongnam-do Province. Bukcheong Sanjanori was a seasonal event originally performed on the evening of Jeongwol Daeboreum, the first full moon day of the year, by the farmers and residents of all villages of Bukcheong, Hamgyeongnam-do Province. However, it has not been performed in the Bukcheong region in North Korea since the mid-1960s. In South Korea, Bukcheong Sajanori contin

Korean Folk Arts

Eunyul Talchum

Masked dance-drama from Eunyul-gun, Hwanghae-do Province. A type of Haeseo Talchum handed down in So-eup, Eunyul, Hwanghae-do Province. Although there are no records or other materials providing evidence of the origin or emergence of Eunyul Talchum, it is surmised that this masked dance-drama emerged around the 19th century. Like other talchum (masked dance-dramas) of Hwanghae-do Province, it was performed on the major holidays celebrated in North Korea: for two or three days straight at Dano

Korean Folk Arts

Toegyewon Sandaenori

Masked dance-drama from the Toegyewon area in Gyeonggi-do Province. A type of masked dance-drama that originated in sandaenori handed down in the Toegyewon area of Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do Province. Toegyewon Sandaenori was performed mostly at Jeongwol Daeboreum (first full moon day of the year), Buddha’s birthday (eighth day of the fourth month), Dano (fifth day of the fifth month), Baekjung (fifteenth day of the seventh month), and Chuseok (fifteenth day of the eighth month) as well as during th

Korean Folk Arts

Somu

Name of a tavern woman or concubine. A tavern woman who appears in traditional masked dance-dramas as a character responsible for the fall of an elderly monk or as a concubine who makes the original wife’s life a misery. Somu (Kor. 소무, Chin. 小巫, lit. young shaman) is a key character appearing in gamyeongeuk (masked dance-drama). As a young woman, particularly a woman of pleasure, she is very attractive. The fact that Somu wears rouge on her white face and fine clothes like a bride emphasizes the

Korean Folk Arts
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