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The Shaman Legacy

Mudangnaeryeok (The Shaman Legacy) is an illustrated book of each of the segments that make up the shamanic rituals of the Seoul area, written by an author with the pen name of Nangok. The book, now part of the collection at the Kyujanggak Archives at Seoul National University, comprises two volumes, each 14 pages long. The two volumes contain identical introductions, and the illustrations and the writings indicate that they were done by a single author. Date of publication is the fourth lunar m

Korean Folk Beliefs

Myth of Maiden Danggeum

The shamanic myth“ Danggeumaegi ”narrates the origins of Jeseok, the god that oversees farming and productivity, which is transmitted in all parts of the Korean peninsula. The following is a summary of the Myth of Maiden Danggeum based on the version from the northern regions, considered to best preserve the mythological characteristics of the narrative: A long time ago, in a certain place there was a noble family with nine sons but no daughter, so the family offers prayers asking for a daughter

Korean Folk Literature

Myth of Dangun

“Dangunsinhwa ”is the first sovereignty myth in Korean mythology, which tells the story of the founding of Korea’s first kingdom Gojoseon. The myth of Dangun is recorded as follows in the section on Gojoseon in the chapter“ Gii (Records of Marvels) ”of Samgungnyusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms): A long time ago, Hwanin, the God of the Heavens, noticed that his son Hwanung was nurturing interest in the human world under the heavens, and as Hwanin gazed down at the area around Mt. Taebaek, h

Korean Folk Literature

Mt. Chiak

The legend of Chiaksan explains the origin of Mt.Chiak in Wonseong, Gangwon Province, borrowing the plot structure of the animal-returns-favor narrative (boeundam). A long time ago, a young man from the country set out to Seoul for his state examinations and came across Mt. Jeokak in Gangwon Province. He heard the shrill cry of a pheasant (or magpie) and saw two birds about to be eaten by a serpent, its body wrapped around them. (Or in some variations, he sees a magpie nest on a large tree, insi

Korean Folk Literature

Song of Sun and Moon

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 draw

Korean Folk Literature

Divine Serpent Scholar

The tale “Gureongdeongdeongsinseonbi” is a widespread folk narrative about a divine scholar who had the appearance of a serpent, and his separation and reunion with his wife. A long time ago there lived an old man and his old wife, who became pregnant and gave birth to a serpent. The old wife took the serpent out to the backyard and kept it next to the chimney under a conical bamboo hat (sakkat). The couple had a rich neighbor with three daughters, who heard about the serpent and came to visit,

Korean Folk Literature
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