Posted by: rbbadger | June 14, 2009

Tutelary Shrine

One thing which used to be commonly seen in Korean villages were tutelary shrines to the village gods.  During the presidency of Park Chung-hee (1961-1979), Korean Shamanism was looked down on as being superstitious and an element of society that Korea could do well without.  Nevertheless, Shamanism hasn’t died off entirely.  While Korean Shamanism may not be as obvious as Chinese Daoist temples are, what with their temple mediums and fortunetellers, Korean shamans still continue to do a brisk business.  Many of them advertise their services in the newspapers. 

Anyhow, this tutelary shrine to the village gods is at the Korean Folk Village in Yong-in, Gyeonggi Province, Suwon. 

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Often, Buddhist temples will have a shaman shrine or two, but they are sort of appendages to the temple complex.  The Buddha and meditation halls are the main focus of the temple anyway.

Another item associated with Korea’s folk culture are the totem poles.  These often feature grotesque faces and are, I presume, meant to protect the village from evil spirits.

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These are on the grounds of Gyeongbok Palace near the National Folk Museum.

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