Sleeve notes by Yi Ja-gyun
(Director of Research Center for Korean Shamanism)
Korean gut 굿 (shamanistic ritual), in general, constitutes certain georis, referring to segments or stages in a particular gut performance, in the entire procedure, and each geori is associated with a specific spirit in Korean shamanism. Each spirit has its own rank called 'singeok 신격神格‘ and its own role. Spirit's rank can be slightly different in its interpretation by the intermediaries, who preside and control the ritual. This subject has already been dealt with some researchers, but there might be some misunderstandings or misinterpretations about its nature. I will take account of ranks of the spirits in guts performed by gangsinmu 降神巫, who became a (female) shaman as a consequence of involuntary possession by spiritual forces, in the areas of Seoul and Gyeonggi province.
Guts generally in these two areas are very rich and diverse in their types and sizes. Seoul guts are distinguished by their sizes1): Of these Jiban-gut 집안굿 (ritual for a household) and Daedong-gut 대동굿 (village gut practised in Hwanghae areas)62) are typical. These performance procedures can be changed or omitted according to the gut types3). I will focus mainly on Jaesu-gut 재수굿 (ritual for good fortune) and a particular song repertory - Hwangjepuri - performed by Gang Ok-rim (b. 1962), a gangsinmu born in the Southern Gyeongsang province.
Jaesu-gut's procedures are as follows:
'Chobujeong' is performed to purify bujeong (a bad luck) in order to invite spirits to gutcheong (the space where the gut takes place) before the gut starts. The female shamans pick up the spirits of the twelve geori and welcome them. Gangsinmu of the Gyeonggi province sit down in a usual dress and later take away and finish bujeong with caustic soda water. When it is done with a hot red pepper powder, this method is not traditional, as the material was introduced Korea after Imjinwaeran, a series warfares with Japan in the 16th century. There is a way of taking away misfortune that 'soji (sacrificial paper)' are used by setting fire in some regions.
The term 'gamang' of 'Gamangcheongbae’ derived originally from the term 'gameung (lit. means 'response' or 'sympathy')' of Chinese Taoism. In fact, 'mugyeok 巫覡’, referring to both shamans of male and female, are not able to tell us about this spirit's rank, and this needs to be explored.
Bonhyangsan 본향산 is performed by raising famous mountains in every province no matter where the gut takes place. It is called 'sangeori'‘ or 'sancheongeori’ in the Hwanghae provinces (situated in North Korea). The gesture of the 'setting up' the mountains symbolises "dispersing mountains" and is to invite spirits.
'Bulsageori‘ 불사거리 is a gut that picks out a baby and wishes longevity. This ritual had been changed to make spirits entertain and please them. It is said that its old practice was that the shamans hold the bara (idiophone that is used in Buddhism and shamanistic rituals) with both hands, and a female shaman who has a good voice sings "Jung-taryeong ('jung' = monks)" by spreading out them. Some performers still practise this method, but it has largely been changed.
'Hoguagassi-gut 호구아가씨굿’ is followed by this, and it is for preventing from contracting smallpox, or for curing its illness. Traditionally smallpox (also called 'mama') was an epidemic disease that is almost impossible to be cured, so people got frightened by it more than anything else.
'Sangsanmanura-geori 상산마누라거리‘ is a ritual that commemorate Choi Yeong (1316-1388) who was a national General but was killed falsely in Gaeseong, a historic city in North Korea during the end of Goryeo dynasty. 'Sangsan' denotes the Deokmul mountains situated in that city. It is also called 'daenjudeurinda’, which is not familiar term today, but largely used by senior female shamans in Seoul areas.
'Byeolsang 별상‘, also called 'Byeolseongmama', is known as a gut for 'Dyjudaewang Sadoseja' whose father was the King Jeongjo (1752-1800). But this theory can be spurious and needs further investigations. 'Byeolsang noretgarak’ is sung as soon as setting up the chains and offering 'myeongjan bokjan', denoting liquor glasses for longevity and good luck.
The term ‘sinjang 신장’ is a generic term that is combined Buddhism with shamanism. Because of its long connection with Sinjungdan of Buddhism, people can easily be misunderstood its character as being Buddhism. But this theory can also be suspicious. Nevertheless, its nature had been changed into the following activities: performers pick up the five colour banner and sing Sinjang-taryeong and then rotate the banner. Sinjanggeori is an entertaining geori, and it was generated in the late 1930s. Before this date jeonnae (or jeonnaegoji) was often performed.
'Daegam 대감’ originally refers to the spirit's rank which guide a house site ('teo, 址') in the areas of Seoul and Gyeonggi province. Today it is performed by exchanging the first part into the second one. This Daegamnori is a geori that was formed in the late 1930s, and it became one of the representative repertories that changed into the entertaining geroi.8) Its procedure follows that the house that has teojugari becomes a space for performing mansubaji 만수받이 (reciting to a fellow shaman) and the teojugari is changed to a new one. For a teot-daegam, the shaman carries rice cake in a pot on the head wearing in namkwaeja (male military uniform) and scatter rice beer throughout the house for teot-daegam.
'Noneungeori 노는거리‘, as just mentioned, used to be performed in Bulsageori, not in Daegamgeori. But it was replaced to Daegamgeori from Bulsageori. Andangjeseok 안당제석 is performed after making jinseol (preparing food for spirits) as bulsasang (altar table) is set in a main room of the house. Its procedure is similar to Bulsageori.
'Josanggeori 조상거리‘ is literally to invite ancestors of the household in order to pay off resentment or words that had not been finished in thier lives. 'Malmyeongjosang 말명조상’ differs from Jiban-gut or Daedong-gut in terms of its spirits' ranks and its subjects. Malmyeonggeori9) used to perform independently from other geori. So the current Malmyeongjosang that performs part of the gut is not a traditional practice.
'Gunung-gut 군웅굿‘ is to perform for the gunung spirit, and it is treated as normal in the areas of Seoul and Gyeonggi province where it briefly is raised at the end of Seongju-gut. Compared these guts, other areas such as the northern Gyeongsang, Gangwon province, Hwanghae provinces or Pyeongan provinces treat Gungung-gut as one individual geori. In particular, in the Hwanghae provinces and Pyeongan provinces, both provinces are in North Korea, landscapes are mountainous. There are some interpretations about this gut, and two references can be considered of these:
(i) The spirit's rank refers to the General1, but it renders saseol (text) by combining the gunung spirit with the hunting ritual. (ii) According to the facsimile edition called 'Mudang naeryeok, lit. means 'the story of shamans''11) by anonymous, the Gunung-gut in the Seoul area was used to perform to commemorate Chinese delegates either who had an accident when they crossed the hills or mounds, or killed by a tiger or a hohwan (the house where a person was brought by a tiger, or such haunted spirit). From my long researches, the first reference (the Gunung spirit) would be convinced than the second one, as the manuscript does not provide any specific reference to the names of the Chinese delegates. The gunungjangsu version is clearly evident in the performances of the saseol or rituals of other regions.
Seonang-gut 성주굿 refers to seonghwangdang (shrine for a tutelary deity), and it is for the seonang deity that is the Mongolian oboo counterpart. Some regions, the term 'seonang' changed into seonhwang, which is performed on the boat (also pronouncing 'seonang'). This gut is also called Seonwang-gut 선왕굿 which is performed by the sea or the shore, and its saseol refers to the names of fish or boats. Seonwang-gut is totally different from Seonang-gut 서낭굿, which is performed on the shore.
The Changbu spirit is for the spirit who plays an instrument and sings. Changbu is depicted by wearing a bamboo hat and playing the piri (Korean bamboo oboe) in Musindo (picture of the Shamanistic Ritual Gut) of Gugsadang. By the same token, in Changbugeori of Seoul gut, the shaman puts the bamboo hat on and wears kkaeja (traditional military clothe). Its saseol gives a daemok (scene) that gwangdae (professional actors) of rural areas go up to Seoul and recite such noaekpuri as "one-year ... twelve months, etc" at the end part.
‘Jemyeongeori 제면거리’ is for a jemyeon wife, and its spirit's rank is slightly different from regions. Today Jemyeon-gut is performed in the areas of Seoul, Gyeongsang provinces, Gyeonggi province, the Jeju island. In Seoul and Gyeonggi province, it is done by selling jemyeon cake and singing Ddeok-taryeong that renders by calling all the names of rice cake. In the Jeju island when the jemyeon wife scatters rice made of millet, from their degrees or directions that one collecting/ gathering, they wish seeds of sea fish or rich harvest of all kinds fish. This character is the same as the seaside of Gyeongsang provinces. Dyitjeong 뒷전 is to release and feed to all the sundry evil spirits which did not come into boncheong.
Sometimes people hold 'Maengin-gut 맹인굿‘ (ritual for the blind) in Jiban-gut, and this is performed only for their ancestor who was the blind. In a case of Daedong-gut, in an old society, there were many blind people, so they used to perform this gut in order to treat them properly when they had died.
'Seongju-gut 성주굿‘ is a main ritual. Seongju is the spirit which guides the house of a family. Its song is called Seongjupuri, and it is called 'Hwangjepuri' in Seoul where its term is exclusively used. Hwangjepuri was played originally by gidae, not shamans. Gidae were gut performers who were generally not received by spirits except for some, neither female shamans.
They had good saseol that contain good stories. Their text repertories included Chobujeong, Gamang, Damgeumaegi-taryeong, the Princess Bari, Seongju-gut (Gajeun-seongju), Hwangjepuri and Doryeong (Batdoryeong and Andoryeong). They performed accompanied by musicians. As the gidae class passed away, their performance context changed: female shamans learned the janggo (hour-glass drum) or their saseol repertories and performed this gut.12) These gut performers used to live within and without the Four Gates of Seoul, and they transmitted their manuscripts which are quite different from each other. Some of these remained in some areas of Gyeonggi province. Seseummu, shamans who are inherited by their own family, practising in the southern Gyeonggi province tend to learn the Seongju-gut from these manuscripts when they learn first.
Seongju-gut is largely performed by divining when a client asks for a gut, the shaman picks up the zodiac signs of the year for the male master of the house and ohaeng (五行 Five Elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth), and makes a decision wether or not the year suits for the Seongju-gut for the house.
In addition, Hwangjepuri is performed at several occasions: (i) after building a house; (ii) currently building up after demolishing the old house; (iii) on construction the house.
In general, when Jaesu-gut takes place, Seongju-gut can be replaced by 'Heullimseongju 흘림성주' when the year does not suit for receiving fortune of Seongju-gut. Jinseolsang 진설상 can be similar to Hwangjepuri or Heullimseongju. When it is performed, a picked pine tree was certainly used: it is customary that the upper part branch was picked up and brought from the direction towards the east. Regarding its material, today shamans use an oak tree, but this was not traditional method in the gut in the past: for the reason that "when the oak tree rustles, seongju (the shaman) is distracted, thus daeju (the master of the house) also distracts.“
Seongju-gut is certainly performed by dangju (main shaman) who is charge of the gut, but Hwangjepuri is sung by gidae. It is customary that the dangju takes all the offering goods by himself/herself: when an affluent household holds the gut, they offer expensive goods such as a roll of silk material, or a pack of sangmi rice (special quality of rice). Traditionally, dangju gives gongsu or well-wishes remarks suit to the different generation of the household. Nowadays its tradition has been almost disappeared, as the gut performs within a limited time. When they choose the generation of the household, this is done by daejabi (expert), who invited to pick up the different generation: s/he points out where s/he wants to go to the person.
In Seongju-gut in Seoul, later a shaman rolls and raises a seongju pole and apply it to the new one by taking out of the old seongju pole, and shouts: "cheonsoekinya, or manseokinya? (A thousand packs or ten thousands packs?)". Then s/he scatters the rice on the spot of the applied seongju pole.
The way of applying seongju pole in Seoul gut proceeds: papers are soaked into a warm rice wine and wrapped by putting three coins into the papers, or without wrapping. the shaman applies this to the spot of the seongju pole. Seongju-gut in the Gyeonggi province is similar13) to that of Seoul. In the middle areas of Chungcheong provinces, shaman applies the seongju pole to the main room. In Hwanghae provinces its procedure is rather complicate: the shaman puts five kinds of grain into a bowl and sets the altar table. The shaman prepares separately foods for seongju and then puts 33 inches of hemp cloth into the bowl and then winds it into a pot. Later this is placed into the seongju pot by reciting to a fellow shaman, that is for making an individual advance.
New Seongju-gut proceeds after preparing food for seongju, and one shaman recites to a fellow shaman. Then a shaman who is on the ground tosses sugar cane pallets rice cake to the top of a roof by saying "Sae ollimnida 새 올린다“, and another shaman on the roof receives the cake and piles up them.14) In Gangwon province and the south and northern Gyeongsang, seongju-gut is performed at Byeolsin-gut. In a case of Seongju-gut which had taken place in 19? Hupo 5ri, Uljingun, north Gyeongsang province, the shamans set the altar table offering at the old folk house of a village and invite the spirits of the ancestors of the house, and offer the myeongjan bokjan. Then they raise chains on the seongju rice with a wooden fulling roller. These shamans, who are not gangsinmu, do the seongju application shortly after putting it up and putting down. The seongju application is completed by cutting a paper with a shape of a person and then put it at the corner of the house. This is done until its application has finished. When it is done, gathered spectators turn into ecstasy saying that "the spirit has just received it well." This area sometimes does not perform this gut, and Seongju-gut is performed according to the individual house. The gut practised in the areas of Jeolla is similar to others: song repertory is Panpaegae that ends with a fast Jungmori by starting Neujeunmori and Jungmori.
The middle areas of Chungcheong provinces are similar to this, but the seongju application differs: it is applied to the main room. In the Jeju island, it is done after preparing the altar table for seongju, and at the end of the gut shamans hold an axe and sing it for 'gangtaegong'. Then they walk around the house and make a gesture of chopping woods after they built up a tiny tile-roofed house in front of gutcheong. They toss and "paereul garigo“ in order to whether the gagtaegong soengju spirit received it well with knives instead of the shaman sword. In the Jeju Island, the seongju spirit is replaced by gangtaegong, and this is the same in all the areas. After the first day of spring by the lunar calendar when Yeongdeung-gut 영등굿 has finished, this gut is performed in every house. But today it has been nearly stopped performing since about 1999.15)
The content of Hwangjepuri
The content of Hwangjepuri in this CD consists of a lengthy saseol that includes the procedures of building a house such as wall cabinets, inside and outside walls, roofs, all kinds of doors, main doors, and so on throughout the kitchen decoration, cupboards, kitchen shelves, other rooms and main room. This process is done by bringing all the timbres after having prepared the house site and made offerings to spirits. Hwangjepuri is to present such procedures of building the house realistically with a saseol.
Hwangjepuri has the same character with Seongjubonga 성주본가 (the so-called 'Seongjubaji') in the spirit who guides the house, and it is the saseol for daeju of the house which will receive seongju. However, its context is different a lot. Hwangjepuri is performed in most of Seongju-gut. But it is a current situation that most female shamans would not know such saseol and omit it completely when they perform at the house that is subject to receive seongju. Nonetheless the current Seongju-gut includes Hwangjepuri and this issue remains to be considered.
Along with Hwangjepuri, stories of 'Mr Hwangwuyang and Mrs Mangmak'16) performed in the Geyonggi province and other areas had been transmitted in part orally, and it is known until the early 20th century that its myth also was transmitted to Seoul areas. Today shamans recite only the saseol of building a new house in the Seongju-gut, and they are no longer abel to add its story and 'Sojinnang' as well. This means that there would be rare for the house to receive seongju. It would derive from the fact that gidae who were only able to recite such long and magnificent saseol had passed away, and only Hwangjepuri has been transmitted to the present time.
There must be another reason that such two stories had not been transmitted to the shamans: the saseol of Mr Hwangwuyang and Mrs Mangmak would not be attractive to the female shamans, so it did not draw attention to them, except for Hwangjepuri. This would be the same context that pansori (narrative song accompanied with a drum) had been survived by the Five Repertories from many stories. As these Five embody tension and expression that make a good balance between its story and singing, their arts attracted enough to both pansori singers and their listeners.
The genealogy of Hwangjepuri transmission
Hwangjepuri saseol has been transmitted to Gang Ok-rim tracing back to Yi Sang-soon --> Choi Soon-ja (1919-1980) and her previous generations. This lineage is not much different from that of female shamans in Seoul, as these practitioners tend to learn by ear, not from the manuscripts as seseummu would do. This feature made a number of different versions exist. Thus according to the relationship between students and their teachers, its saseol can be added or omitted, even borrowed or lent.
There is an anecdote about a fine female shaman relating to rendition to Hwangjepuri saseol. Choi Soon-ja, a female shaman, died in Heukseok Bondong, Dongjakgu, Seoul, but it was not unknown her birth place. She performed Seoul gut during her life, and from her career, she probably was born in Seoul. According to her followers and disciples, she was famous for her thoroughness for reciting saseol that were picked up every detailed words. When her students perform the saseol with omitting or missing certain phrasing, they were heavily reprimanded by her. Because Choi Soon-ja was born with a natural talent, the contents of her saseol possessed a 'solid frame' with magnificence. In particular, in such scenes as 'roof decoration’, ‘decoration of rooms', 'ceiling', walls, windows and doors fittings, doors (main door, sliding doors to shut the main floor of the yard), and so on, terminologies were depicted and expressed in great detail featuring in ancient architecture as in other scenes or phrasings, compared with any other manuscripts.