National Intangible Cultural Property No.6 Tongyeong Ogwangdae +
||Intangible Cultural Heritage / Traditional Performing Arts / Yeonhee
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.