New Goddesses on Mt. Paektu: Transformation, Myth and Gender in Korean Landscape

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Mountain worship has always been one of the central features of Korean cultural landscape. While specific traditions of mountain culture have been utilized by North Korea’s leadership for the purpose of promotion of the state ideology, in South Korea mountain culture has acquired different forms. We argue that contemporary South Korean ki sury?n (? ??) practices for perfection of mind and body constitute such manifestation of mountain-related culture. The ancient tradition of mountain gods (??, sanshin) is a source from which the legendary figures of New Goddesses on Mt. Paektu emerge. We study origination and development of Paektu-related myths of South and North Korea, focusing on two divinities. The first goddess is Ch’?ns?nny? (???, the Woman of Heaven) from the contemporary legend of GiCheon (??, Kich’?n), one of the ki sury?n training methods. Our second goddess is Kim Ch?ng-suk, the first wife of Kim Il-s?ng, founder of North Korea. In order to study simultaneous processes of origination and development of Mt. Paektu-related myths of South and North Korea, we consider sources from different fields of knowledge, such as folklore, art, philosophy and religion, politics, literary criticism, political science and environmental science. We apply an interdisciplinary approach to two seemingly incompatible processes of mythmaking of contemporary South and North Korea. The two countries, divided geographically, politically, economically, have for many centuries been one nation and one people, one language and one culture. This commonality has not disappeared into the depth of history, but comes to the cultural surface even in this most difficult contemporary time.

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New Goddesses on Mt. Paektu: Transformation, Myth and Gender in Korean Landscape

New Goddesses on Mt. Paektu: Transformation, Myth and Gender in Korean Landscape   By Victoria Ten (Jeon Yeon Hwa) and Rober... Read Chapter

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