Tigers in Korean culture

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Tigers in Korean culture
Songhamaenghodo.jpg
Minhwa (Korean folk painting)
Korean name
Hangul
호랑이, 범
Hanja
虎郞이, none
Revised Romanization horang-i, beom, ho
McCune–Reischauer horang-i, pŏm, ho

The tiger has been strongly associated with Korean people and Korean culture. It appears in not only the Korean foundation mythology but also in folklore, as well as a favorite subject of Korean art such as painting and sculpture. The mascot of the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea is Hodori, a stylized tiger to represent Korean people. [1]

Contents

History

The oldest historical record about the tiger can be found in the myth of Dangun, the legendary founding father of Gojoseon, told in the Samguk Yusa, or the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms. According to the myth, a bear and a tiger wished to become human beings. The bear turned into a woman by observing the commandments to eat only mugwort and garlic for 100 days in the cave. But the tiger couldn't endure the ordeal and ran off, failing to realize its wish.

There are 635 historical records about tigers in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. [2] The story of a tiger that began from a myth can be also found in daily life as well. For example, the 19th-century painting named “Sansindo” depicts the guardian spirit of a mountain leaning against a tiger or riding on the back of the animal. The animal is also known to do the errands for the mountain's guardian spirit which is known to wish for peace and the well-being of the village. So, the tiger was ordered by the spiritual guardian of the mountain to give protection and wish for peace in the village. People drew such paintings and hung them in the shrine built in the mountain of the village where memorial rituals were performed regularly. In Buddhism, there is also a shrine that keeps the painting of the guardian spirit of the mountain. Called “Sansintaenghwa”, it is depiction of the guardian spirit of the mountain and a tiger.

The painting “Jakhodo” (in leopard paintings, "Jakpyodo"; "pyo" means leopard) is about a magpie and a tiger. The letter “jak” means magpie; “ho” means tiger; and “do” means painting. Since the work is known to keep away evil influence, there is a tradition to hang the art piece in the house in the first month of the lunar calendar. On a branch of a green pine tree sits a magpie and the tiger (or leopard), with a humorous expression, looks up at the bird. The tiger in “Jakhodo” doesn't look anything like a strong creature with power and authority.

Kkachi horangi, paintings depicting magpies and tigers, was a prominent motif in the minhwa folk art of the Joseon period. Kkachi pyobeom paintings depict magpies and leopards. In kkachi horangi paintings, the tiger, which is intentionally given a ridiculous and stupid appearance (hence its nickname "idiot tiger" 바보호랑이), represents authority and the aristocratic yangban, while the dignified magpie represents the common people. Hence, kkachi horangi paintings of magpies and tigers were a satire of the hierarchical structure of Joseon's feudal society. [3] [4]

They can be also found around the royal tombs. In front of the burial mound stands the stone tiger sculptures. People believed that tigers also safeguarded the tomb, the permanent home for the dead. The sacredness of the tiger was also utilized for holding rituals that pray for rain. According to the historical records of the early Joseon era, the head of a tiger was offered as the sacrificial offering when performing a ritual praying for rain while Joseon was under the reign of kings such as Taejong, Sejong, Munjong, and Danjong.

See also

 · · Cat03.jpg   Catsportal  · Ballerina-icon.jpg   Artportal

Related Research Articles

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Gojoseon Ancient state, based in northern Korean peninsula and Manchuria

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Haneullim

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Korean folklore Aspect of Korean culture

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Korean art

Korean arts include traditions in calligraphy, music, painting and pottery, often marked by the use of natural forms, surface decoration and bold colors or sounds.

Korean painting

Korean painting includes paintings made in Korea or by overseas Koreans on all surfaces. The earliest surviving Korean paintings are murals in the Goguryeo tombs, of which considerable numbers survive, the oldest from some 2,000 years ago, with varied scenes including dancers, hunting and spirits. The Takamatsuzuka Tomb in Japan, from the 7th-century end of the Goguryeo period, has paintings in Goguryeo style that were either done by Korean artists, or Japanese one trained by Koreans. But more often influences came into Korea from China. Until the Joseon dynasty the primary influence was Chinese painting though done with Korean landscapes, facial features, Buddhist topics, and an emphasis on celestial observation in keeping with the rapid development of Korean astronomy.

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Minhwa

Minhwa refers to Korean folk art produced mostly by itinerant or unknown artists without formal training, emulating contemporary trends in fine art for the purpose of everyday use or decoration. The term "minhwa" was coined by Yanagi Muneyoshi.

National Folk Museum of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea is a national museum of South Korea, located within the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Jongno-gu, Seoul. It uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the history of traditional life of the Korean people.

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Hodori

Hodori (Korean: 호돌이) was the official mascot of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. The stylized tiger was designed by Kim Hyun as an amicable Amur tiger, portraying the friendly and hospitable traditions of the Korean people.

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Kkachi durumagi

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Sansin

Sanshin or Sansin are local mountain-spirits in Korean Shamanism and folk-beliefs. In South Korea, most Buddhist temples and major Shamanic-shrines, and some traditionalist villages have a dedicated shrine called a sanshin-gak or an altar called a sanshin-dan dedicated to the local sanshin. This nature-deity is typically represented in the enshrined icons as an elder male figure in royal-Confucian clothing, always accompanied by at least one tiger and a Korean Red Pine tree. There are many other symbols being held by the Sanshin, offered to him by servants or in the backgrounds of the more elaborate paintings, derived from Oriental Daoism, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, shamanic-folklore and Korean 'spiritual-ethnic nationalism' -- making these multi-religious icons unique in the entire world.

Samseonggung

Samseong-gung is a shrine along the slopes of Jiri Mountain, Hadong county in South Gyeongsang Province, that was created for paying homage to the three mythical founders of Korea:

Mu (shaman)

Mu (무) is an ancient Korean word defining a shaman in the Korean traditional religion. Korean shamans hold rituals called gut for the welfare of the individuals and the society.

Chaekgeori

Chaekgeori, translated as "books and things", is a genre of still-life painting from the Joseon period of Korea that features books as the dominant subject. The chaekgeori tradition flourished from the second half of the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century and was enjoyed by all members of the population, from the king to the commoners, revealing the infatuation with books and learning in Korean culture.

References

  1. 호랑이 [Horang-i (Tiger)] (in Korean). Encyclopedia of Korean Culture . Retrieved 8 January 2010.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "사냥-전통수렵 방법과 도구". 문화콘텐츠닷컴 (in Korean). Retrieved 14 August 2018. 『조선왕조실록』에 실린 호랑이 관련 기사는 모두 635건에 이른다.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. "까치호랑이". Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture. National Folk Museum of Korea. Retrieved 1 December 2017.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. KOREA Magazine March 2017. Korean Culture and Information Service. 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)