|Shamanic Shrines in western
outside the entrance to Baekdan-sa-gol Valley, with unique icons
Taebaek-san's Dang-gol Dan-gun Seongjeon [Saint-Hall shrine for Korea's Founding-King]
is very famous, and perhaps only the third of its kind to be built in the nation. In the past
decade, however, they have been sprouting like mushrooms after rain; I have found at least
two dozen by now, some quite large. This one was built in 1999, within a cluster of
shamanic shrines at the entranceway to Baekdan-sa Valley on Taebaek's north slope.
Its owner commissioned the above painting as its main icon after having a dream ordering
him to do so -- it is absolutely unique in the genre so far, and a notable evolutionary step,
because the fairly standard Dan-gun figure is sitting in front of a lush mountain-forest
background, like is usually seen in a San-shin painting! All of the other Dan-gun images I
have collected, seen around this website, have only a plain white background behind him,
with no landscape. This painting is then an important development in Korea's religious
iconography, moving Dan-gun portraiture closer to the common San-shin iconography.
Above: signboard of the Main Hall reading (unusually for signboards
with Chinese characters) left-to-right Daewang-sa [Great King Temple].
Left: in the San-shin Hall, a kitschy image of a tiger roaring at
the Moon is above an unusual image of Danjong-wang sitting on
his throne in a Heavenly setting, as he would have been if he had
not been dethroned and killed by his uncle, and his ghost on a
white horse being offered-to by the Mayor of Yeongwol.
Right: the main icon in the San-shin
Hall is this excellent painting of the
Mountain-spirit, clearly done by the
same artist that did the Dan-gun one
above. it's quite dynamic and filled
with many of the usual symbols.
|Baekdansa-gol Dan-gun Seongjeon