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Everlasting Legacies of Korea

  • 1964.12.24
    designated date
    Ogwangdae refers to a form of traditional folk performance developed in the southern part of Korea including Tongyeong, hence the name Tongyeong Ogwangdae. Initially, Tongyeong Ogwangdae was performed on the eve of the Daeboreum (full moon of the 15th day of the first lunar month), but it gradually came to be performed on other festive days in spring and autumn. Some specialists claim that Tongyeong Ogwangdae originated from a form developed in Changwon Ogwangdae (Mask Dance Drama of Changwon) about a century ago - either by a group of local entertainers or Yi Hwa-seon, an Ogwandae player who moved from Changwon to Tongyeong. Each performance of Tongyeong Ogwangdae is composed of five episodes in which a total of 31 players play diverse characters by donning masks intended to represent them, including Leper, Malttugi, First Yangban, Second Yangban, Hongbaek Yangban, Faltering Yangban, Pockmarked Yangban, Black Yangban, Jorijung, Eight Heavenly Maids, Yeongno, Yeongnong Yangban, Halmi, Jeja Gaksi, Sangjwa, blind Man, Sangju, Hunter, Mongdori, Lion, and Dambi. Each episode is focused on the complicated relationships between commoners and their views on Korean society and the ruling class. The words exchanged between the characters are typically barbed with sharp satire, effectively mocking the absurdity and hypocrisy of Confucian aristocrats and Buddhist monks. Tongyeong Ogwangdae is also famous for some of its dances, and most particularly the Leper’s Dance, which convincingly expresses the bitter life of a leper, and is also the only Ogwangdae troupe to present the Lion Dance during its performance. Tongyeong Ogwangdae is inscribed on Korea’s list of Important Intangible Cultural Heritages.
  • 1985.2.1
    designated date
    When a person died on Jindo island after a long life, villagers came to console the bereaved family and had professional entertainers perform all night, which was part of the custom of praying for the peace of the spirit of the dead. Dasiraegi is a term referring to this custom.

    Goguryeo (circa 37 BC – 668 aD) tomb murals and books on the history of Goguryeo and Silla (57 BC – aD 935) show that people sang and danced during the funeral period.

    Jindo Dasiraegi is composed of five acts. In act I, a person pretending to be a member of the bereaved family exchanges jokes with mourners. In act II, a blind man, a female member of the troupe and a monk engage in a round of play. In act III, mourners carry an empty bier on their shoulders and sing a funeral song. In act IV, the mourners assume an act of digging a tomb, while singing a song. In the final act, food and liquor are served to the invited entertainers.

    Jindo Dasiraegi is the country’s only folk play performed during a funeral period and handed down among professional entertainers belonging to Sincheong (an organization of exorcists and music performers). It is a valuable source of material for those studying funeral customs and folk plays. ☆