|Jiri-san's Naedae-cheon Valley
지리산 내대천골 filled with shrines and scenery
PAGE ONE: #1 Seokcheon-sa & Cheongcheon-am
in the Inner-Southeast Sector of Jiri-san
This long vast valley south of Jiri-san's Cheonhwang-bong Peak forms the western side of Shicheon-myeon, the westernmost
District of Sancheong-gun County. Its pure waters originate up at Yeongshin-bong Peak and the Seseok-pyeongjeon Ridge,
flowing south for 3 km and then SE for 7 more (all the first 5 km is called Geolim-gol) before joining the main Shicheon Valley
(National Highway 20). I found several interesting temples and Korean-Shamanic shrines there. Seokcheon-sa [Stone-Heaven
Temple] is a small Shamanist place in Naedae-ri Village, easily overlooked, but with stunning modern icons, especially this one!
The eight other San-shin, like "her sons" representing the mountains of Korea's traditional Eight Provinces [Paldo-sanshin] --
instead of daughters as is usual in this motif, unique! They each hold ginseng and other sacred symbols. Other symbols of
longevity and enlightenment complete this scene. If we consider that there are 9 sanshins total here (8 male & 1 female), this icon may
also be representing the Gu-san [Nine Sacred Mountains of Korea]. Note the an extraordinary 'realistic' dragon-head on her staff!
|It's deep in a bamboo forest, steeply up the eastern slope of the upper valley.
|A great rare modern painting of Samshin-halmoni [Three-Spirits Grandmother], Korea's top fertility/birth goddess (and
representative of Humanity in the thought of my mentor Zo Zayong), shown here with her husband the Grandfather-fecundity Spirit.
|a variety of Guardian-Spirits! including Generals on flying horses...
|Shamanic Chil-seong [Seven Stars] icon, with twinned Bodhisattvas (statues also) and the
Shipi-ji [Twelve Auspicious Animals of the Oriental Zodiac] along the bottom -- unique!
|Cheongcheon-am [Azure-Heaven Hermitage] is a small
shamanic place in the middle reaches of the valley,
where Changrae-gol Gorge branches off to the north.
|The San-shin painting of
Cheongcheon-am is female,
following the local theme; it's
simple but complete, and depicts
her as relatively young. The
Shamanic Shin-jung icon-altar
(below) displays the full range of
folk-deities, with a San-shin
statue in front of them all.
|the Naedae-cheon Stream near this shrine, with low water in April
The above Shamaninic San-shin taeng-hwa
depicts the spirit of Cheonhwang-bong as
an immortal-female-sanshin front-&-center.
An enormous white (holy color for Koreans)
tiger stands behind her, with ordinary tigers
on each side. She holds a horse-tail
fly-wisk, symbol of an enlightened
meditation-master, and in her other hand is
a master's wooden-staff. Many dongja are