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Namhaean Pyolshin-gut

Shamanistic ritual of Namhaean Sea coastal region


Leading shaman performing Son-gut (one of 18 smaller Gut that constitute Namhaean Pyolshin-gut in total).

Being a sacrificial ceremony for the welfare and large fish of fishing villages, this shamanistic ritual displays an array of colourful performance, music, dance and music dance drama.

Reasons for selection

Namhaean Pyolshin-gut is one of the best-known fishermen's communal rites in Korea. Being a Shamanistic ritual, it retains the simple purity of the traditional communal rite.

Area where performed

Ch'ungmu Area, Kojedo, Hansando, and Soryangdo Islands, and nearby areas along the South coast.

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance, Theatre

Detailed explanation

Namhaean Pyolshin-gut is a shamanistic ritual held at villages on such islands as Kojedo, Sarongdo and Kaldo Island along the South Seacoast in Kyongsangnamdo Province as a villagers sacrificial ceremony for their welfare and large fish catches. This ritual is held every two years, between the 1st and 15th days of the 1st lunar month, sometimes on the 3rd and 4th.

The ritual consists of the preparatory part, main part, and closing part and its contents are briefly as follows: In the preparatory part, the site for the ritual is cleansed of all evil and the gods are informed that the ceremony is about to take place. In the main part, many gods are invited to hear the villager's supplications. The rite for the Dragon King is held at the seaside. Here, the shaman strikes a gong to console the spirits of those who died at sea and to pray for safety at sea and large catches of fish. The rite for the harvest God is held by inviting the God of Heaven, Earth and Wind, and supplicating for a good harvest, large catches of fish and the prosperity of the village children. In the closing part, the various gods are sent back to their original place while demons and hungry ghosts who might be lurking in the ritual area are entertained so as not to cause any trouble or ill-fortune. The origin of this ritual is not clearly known, but its history is assumed to date back to ancient times.

Publication and textual documentation

National Research Institute of Cultural Properties of Korea
1998 Namhaean Pyolshin-gut.

Audio documentation

National Research Institute of Cultural Properties of Korea
1998 Namhaean Pyolshin-gut: A documentary film.

Visual documentation

The above documentary film contains the visuals and audio as well.

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

Namhaean Pyolshin-gut Preservation Society, located in the City of Tongyong.

Data provider

Mr. Im Jang-Hyuk
Senior Researcher (Folkloric Studies Division)
National Research Institute of Cultural Properties of Korea
Address: 1 Sejong-Ro, Chongo-ku, Seoul, 110-050
Republic of Korea