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K-CULTURAL HERITAGE

Everlasting Legacies of Korea

  • 1970.7.22
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    Gossaum Nori (Loop Fight) is a fierce type of men’s game performed in Chilseok Village, Daechon-dong, Gwangju around the full-moon period of January 15 on the lunar calendar.

    “Go” in Gossaum means a tall loop-shaped structure made of twisted straw rope that two opposing groups of males push against each other. Upon finishing preparations for the “battle,” including the making of the go (loop), villagers gather together, hold a sacrificial rite, and pay visits to houses for madangbalbigut (performance of treading on the courtyard). They march, playing farmers’ music to create a joyous atmosphere.

    Each group raises and lowers the go to show off that it can outdo the other in the battle. The two leaders, seated at the top of the go, give commands to their people carrying the go, while their lieutenants cheer on the members of their group by waving flags.

    The group that makes the opponents’ go touch the ground wins the battle. If the battle ends in a draw, the groups meet again on February 1 and engage in a tug-of-war with the straw rope used to make the go.

    Gossaum has been handed down as a rite of praying for a good year for crops and as an event intended to bolster the spirit of collaboration among villagers. The name of the event was changed to Gwangju Chilseok Gossaum Nori in September 2005 to distinguish it from similar games held elsewhere and also to indicate the name of the village designated as the site for this important intangible cultural heritage.
  • 1970.7.22
    designated date
    Talchum (mask dance) was performed across the country up to the early Joseon Period (1392 – 1910). Gangnyeong Talchum (Mask Dance Drama of Gangneung) is a type of Sandae Dogamgeuk, which was performed at the Royal Palace. After the mask dance drama came to be no longer performed there by 1634 (the 12th year of King Injo’s reign), it was still enjoyed as a pastime by ordinary people.

    The Mask Dance Drama of Gangnyeong is performed on Dano (May 5 on the lunar calendar) in Gangnyeong-eup, Hwanghaenam-do, and dates perhaps from the late Joseon Period.

    The event is composed of seven acts, Lion Dance, Malttugi Dance, Mokjung Dance, Sangjwa Dance, Dance of the Nobleman and Malttugi, Dance of Chwibari and the Old Monk, and Dance of the Old Couple.

    Prior to the performance, the 20 members of the troupe march, playing music to entertain spectators along the road. The play includes satire about such issues as nobles harassing commoners, depraved monks, and male chauvinism as shown in the custom of allowing a man to take plural wives.

    Dance movements are slow. The main dance is Jangsamchum (Long Sleeve Dance). The rhythms used are dodeuri, taryeong, and jajin gutgeori. Thirty-plus types of narration are used, each of them using its unique rhythm.

    The parts concerning three brothers of a noble family talking about the essentials of the noble class or calling Malttugi, or Malttugi’s gag are similar to those of Ogwangdae (Mask Dance Drama) of Gyeongnam-do. The scene of an old female clown turning a spinning wheel is similar to that of Ogwangdae of Gasan. These similarities have a very important significance in the handing-down of mask dance in the country.

    Performers wearing masks displaying realistic facial expressions and engaging in elegant and slow dancing movements are features of Gangnyeong Talchum, which distinguish it from Bongsan Talchum, another kind of mask dance performed in Hwanghae-do.
  • 1970.7.22
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    Jogakjang refers to the skill of metal engraving or to the artisan who does it.

    Unearthed artifacts lead us to guess that metal engraving was first attempted during the Bronze Age. Diverse engraving techniques were used during the Three Kingdoms Period (57 BC – 668 AD), and they made noticeable developments during the Goryeo Period (877 – 1394).

    During the Joseon Period (1392 – 1910), metal handicrafts started to develop as an independent sector. Techniques used in metal engraving include depressed engraving, bratticing, relief engraving, 3D engraving, and inlaying.

    Materials used are gold, silver, iron, lead, zinc, and tin. Silver is the most commonly used. Favorite designs used are scenery, flowers, birds, clouds, dragons and vines.

    Esthetic quality or propitiousness became the criteria for selection of the patterns of metal engraving in the later Joseon Period and thereafter.
  • 2012.7.23
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    Beopseongpo Danoje is a traditional folk festival held annually around Dano, or the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, in the Beopseongpo area of Yeonggwang-gun, Jeollanam-do.

    During the Joseon Period, Beopseongpo was one of the major trading areas on the Korean Peninsula due to the presence of a warehouse for storing tax grains and a famous seasonal fish market selling yellow corvinas. Thanks to these favorable social and economic circumstances, a large open-air market usually opened whenever the fish market was held, and a local folk festival naturally developed in this area as a result.

    The festival features diverse programs related to the well-preserved characteristics and traditions of the Beopseongpo area, such as the dragon king ritual held for fishermen’s safety, women’s boating, and artistic competitions in the nearby forest.
  • 1988.8.1
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    As nongak (farmers’ music) that has been handed down in Pilbong, Imsil, Imsil Pilbong Nongak belongs to Honam Jwado Nongak (Farmers’ Performance of the Western Jeolla-do). Simple farmers’ music such as that performed on occasions like dangsangut (rite to village guardian) or madang bapgi (treading on the courtyard) had been handed down in this village. The music is said to have become sophisticated around 1920 when the villagers started learning the performing skills from Park Hak-sam, who served as sangsoe (leader of a farmers’ music troupe). The members of a farmer’s music troupe wear white jacket and trousers, with blue vest over the jacket and bands in three colors tied to the head. As for the headgear, only the soejabi (gong player) wears sangmo (hat with feathers or strings attached); others wear gokkal (conical hat). A farmer’s music troupe is composed of yonggi (dragon flag), nonggi (farmers’ flag), long soenabal (trumpet), samul [four percussion instruments, i.e., two kkwaenggwari (small gongs), two jing (large gongs), two buk (drums), and four janggo (hourglass-shaped drums)], beopgo (Buddhist drum), japsaek [referring to a group composed of yangban (nobleman), daeposu (drummer), jorijung (masked clown), changbu (male clown), gaksi (young girl), hwadong (young girl) and mudong (dancing boys)]. The local farmers’ music has many versions according to different occasions: maegut (village ritual held on New Year's Eve on the lunar calendar), madang bapgi, dangsanjegut (rite to village guardians), duregut (performance for villagers’ unity), and pangut (entertainment-oriented performance). Among them, Pangut showcases the best artistic quality. The Yeongsan rhythms contained in the local farmer’s music in Imsil are slow with have many variations, such as gajin yeongsan, dadeuraegi yeongsan, mijigi yeongsan, jaeneomgi yeongsan, gunyeong nori yeongsan, etc. The local farmer’s music in Pilbong, Imsil features clear-cut rhythms of kkwaenggwari (small gongs), powerful/gallant rhythms, and emphasis on teamwork rather than individuals’ skills.
  • 1972.8.1
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    Dancheong refers to Korean traditional decorative coloring of blue, red, yellow, white, and black made on wooden buildings and structures like royal palaces or temples for the purpose of style, or to a painter specializing in the skill. A Buddhist monk with such a skill is called hwaseung. Dancheong is found in tombs dating from the Three Kingdoms Period (circa 57 BC – 668 AD). The skill developed with the development of Buddhism. Let us see how the dancheong work is accomplished. First of all, the space where dancheong is to be done is cleaned. Water boiled with a small amount of glue is applied to the surface of the space five times. Bluish green soil mixed with water is then applied to the surface. A sheet of paper with the original drawing of a pattern is put on the space and the powder pouch is put lightly on the drawing sheet. The process causes powder to attach to the space through awl-made holes in the drawing sheet, thus forming a pattern. Mineral pigments in blue, red, yellow, white, and black are applied to the pattern thus formed on the space. Dancheong helps preserve the wood and make the building look sacred and dignified. The practice was once in vogue also in China and Japan, but has been handed down to the present day only in Korea.
  • 1988.8.1
    designated date
    Badi is part of a loom that weaves hemp cloth. Badijang refers to a skill of making badi, or to an artisan with such a skill. A threaded spindle found at a site dating from the Neolithic Period tells us that fabric weaving started as early as that period. Badi is made of bamboo bark. Three to four-year old bamboo is appropriate for making badi due to its solidness and thickness. The types of badi vary, depending on whether the cloth to be woven is hemp cloth, silk fabric, ramie cloth or cotton fabric. Badi made in Andong and Hansan are known for their good quality. Hansan ramie cloth is known all over the world. Badi production has been in decline amid the development of synthetic fibers, but the tradition is stil maintained in Hansan.
  • 1988.8.1
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    Bedding refers to the art of making clothes and accessories by sewing, and the person with the skill is called a bedclothes.

    It is said that it was before the historical era that people began sewing. The Silla metalwork, similar to the current needle, was discovered, and the Goguryeo tomb murals and "The Three Kingdoms Period" show that a considerable level of bedding had already been developed since the Three Kingdoms Period. As the bedding continued from the Goryeo and Joseon periods, it was further developed and passed down to this day.

    The necessary tools for the bedding include cloth, needle, thread, failure, thimble, scissors, ruler, iron, iron, nail needle, etc.

    As for fabrics, silk, cotton, ramie, and linen are mainly used. In fact, many cotton yarn are used, and the choice of yarn depends on the material, color, thickness, etc. of the fabric.

    The stitching method is basic persimmon and groove, stitching, stitching, topknoting, whipping, squinting, drawing, etc., and the necessary stitching method is used depending on the area of the garment.

    According to seasonal changes, seams are sewn thinly in summer, and cotton is added in spring and fall to make warm clothes.

    In the old days, all women had to know how to make a bed, so they learned how to sew and learned how to do it. In the royal court, the technique was inherited.
  • 1988.8.1
    designated date
    In this performance, an exorcist disguised as an ox prays for a good harvest, good commercial business, and success for children. It is presumed that the performance started during the Joseon Period (1392 – 1910). This performance is preceded by Jeseokgeori (Ritual Song for the Deity Jeseok) that is said to control things relating to longevity, grains, clothes and fortune/misfortune. It used to be held in Giho and Haeseo, Hwanghae-do. The performance starts around sunset and continues until the daybreak of the following day. Six female exorcists play janggo (hourglass-shaped drum), jing (large gong), jeo (bamboo flute), and piri (flute). Eight fabric straps are hung from above indicating the path through which Eight Heavenly Maids will descend. At the bottom of the fabrics are placed eight tubs, where the fairies will take a bath. An exorcist disguised as Sambuljeseok (Three Heavenly Deities) in a white robe and a hat sings a song about how he arranged the foundation of Joseon as instructed by the Jade Emperor of Heaven. By this time, a cowman appears, leading a cow. The performance ends with a scene of the deity Jeseok taking a trip to Seocheon Seoyeokguk (ancient India), while patrolling officers engage in a round of dance. Buddhist deities appearing in the performance, including Sambuljeseok Buddha, are a unique sight that cannot be found in any other exorcism performances. Pyeongsan Sonoreumgut (Shamanic Ox Performance of Pyeongsan, Hwanghae-do) was able to be maintained thanks to Jang Bo-bae, an exorcist from Pyeongsan, who continued the performance after the country’s liberation. As an event strongly influenced by Buddhism, the performance also combines elements of entertainment and high artistic quality. It serves as an occasion to pray for the happiness of local people and to strengthen the ties among them.
  • 1988.8.1
    designated date
    Jewajang refers to the skill of making roof tiles, or to an artisan with such a skill. Roof tiles were used to make the buildings look better, in addition to their inherent function. In olden days, they symbolized the authority and wealth of the building’s owner. Roof tiles were first used in areas along the Daedonggang River during the 2nd – 1st Century BC. They were introduced from Han Dynasty China and gradually spread throughout the Korean Peninsula. Roof tiles are divided into convex and concave types. Ancillary ornamental tiles include convex roof-end tile, concave roof-end tile, roof tile with demon face design, dragon finial, and tiles placed at both ends of the top ridge. Looking at how roof tiles are made, sticky clay mixed water is put into a wooden mold. After a period of drying, the clay is cut to an appropriate size and pattern and then put into a kiln, which is heated to a temperature higher than 1000℃. Adequately baked roof tiles are black or silver gray in color. Each region developed its own unique roof tiles, but concrete or slate-roofed buildings have lately pushed aside buildings with roof tiles. At present, roof tiles are produced only in Ulsan and Jangheung, Jeollanam-do.
  • 1985.9.1
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    Gurye Hyangje Julpungnyu refers to a piece of instrumental music depicting the scene of Shakyamuni preaching the Lotus Sutra handed down in Gurye, Jeollanam-do at Vulture Peak, Gijjhakuta Hill. There are two versions of this music, one centered around daepungnyu (wind instruments) and the other around julpungnyu (string instruments). The way julpungnyu is played differs a little between those handed down in Seoul and those handed down in the provinces. The latter are named Hyangje Julpungnyu (julpungnyu of provinces). Originally, this was a piece of vocal music, but it changed to an instrumental and developed into a voluminous suite by adding other instrumental music pieces. It became a leading concerto in the country toward the late Joseon Period (1392 – 1910). It is presumed that it was divided into daepungnyu and julpungnyu in the mid-Joseon Period. Julpungnyu developed as a quiet piece chiefly played indoors. The separation between julpungnyu played in Seoul and those played in the provinces appears to have been made toward the late Joseon Period. Instruments used for julpungnyu are geomungo (six-stringed zither), gayageum (twelve-stringed zither), yanggeum (dulcimer), sepiri (bamboo reed flute), daegeum (bamboo flute), danso (vertical notched flute), and janggo (hourglass-shaped drums). As a quiet piece of music played indoors, julpungnyu is centered around string instruments such as geomungo, gayageum, and yanggeum, with wind instruments making as small a sound as possible. The piece takes about 70 minutes to perform.
  • 1985.9.1
    designated date
    Iri Hyangje Julpungnyu is a piece of instrumental music handed down in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do, depicting the scene of Shakyamuni preaching of the Lotus Sutra, at Vulture Peak, Gijjhakuta Hill. It has a cousin centered around daepungnyu (wind instruments), which differs from julpungnyu in terms of tone and instrumental composition. Iri Hyangje Julpungnyu, which originated in Iksan in 1958, is played on eight instruments (geomungo (six-stringed zither), gayageum (twelve-stringed zither), yanggeum (dulcimer), piri (flute), daegeum (bamboo flute), haegeum (two-stringed fiddle), danso (vertical notched flute), and janggo (hourglass-shaped drums). It is composed of 15 separate pieces of music.
  • 2019.9.2
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    National Intangible Cultural Property No. 11-7 "Gimcheon Geumneung Binnae Nongak" is a nongak inherited from Binnae Village in Gwangcheon-ri, Gaeryeong-myeon, Gimcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and has the characteristics and characteristics of nongak in inland Gyeongsangbuk-do. In particular, Gimcheon Geumneung Binnae Nongak is characterized by a grand drum play with both hands, and the military service that is displayed in Pangu (Yeongpoonggut, Yeongsan Daryeongi).
  • 2019.9.2
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    "Namwon Nongak" is a nongak handed down in Ongjeong-ri, Geumji-myeon, Namwon-si, North Jeolla Province, and has the characteristics and characteristics of Honam left-hand Nongak. Namwon Nongak reflects the characteristics of geollipgut along with the village rite consisting of Deuldangsangut, Madangbapi, and Pangut. In particular, the back-gut (stolen jab, talent) composition of pangut is unique, and the winners are still making their own boulevards, which are only used in left-hand farming music in Honam.
  • 2001.9.6
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    Yeomsaekjang refers to a craftsman who dyes cloth with natural pigments. Specifically, the art of dyeing, which has been designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage, involves dyeing with indigo. In the Joseon Dynasty, dyeing was a highly specialized skill such that a dyeing specialist was attached to the royal court. Natural dyes used for coloring cloth are plant, mineral, or animal matter, used as is or slightly processed. There are all kinds of dyes, but the indigo bush (Persicaria tinctoria) was the most difficult to use; the complicated dyeing process also required a high level of skill. With modernization as well as the introduction of chemical dyes, traditional dyeing has all but vanished. Thanks to a handful of dedicated craftsmen who have worked to revive the art since the 1970s, however, the art has been kept alive.