Festival of masks in Korea are Incredible

The tradition of music and dance closely intertwined in any culture. They serve as means of performance of religious rites, are art and a form of entertainment. It is difficult to overestimate the originality of Korean dance art – due to historical conditions, Korean culture developed quite isolated, especially from Western influence. It is this fact and love to their roots helped to revive the ancient dances, which in the autumn attracts many tourists.

Traditional village

Annual dance festival with masks is held in the province of Kyung-San Do in the village of Hahoe near Andong, three hours away from the Korean capital. The hahoe village is the only traditional village in Korea. Puninski Liu clan lived here for over six centuries, from the time of the Koryo dynasty. Interestingly, this is not a stylized village, built specifically to attract tourists, but the authentic patrimony of a single noble clan. It is located in a quiet place: on one side of the village, like the screen, separated by a mountain, on the other hand a natural boundary is a tributary of Nekton-Gan. In the times of Joseon by order of the Minister Liu University Nena, to protect the village from the wind from the river, there were ten thousand planted pine trees. Part of this pine forest has been preserved until now.

Descendants of the 120 families of genus 450 now live in traditional houses. Some Housewives in the village of Hahoe is still farming the old fashioned way – make a fire in the stove in the kitchen and heated a century-old house with ondol – the Korean traditional floor heating system. Here are preserved not only the ancient building, a strong spirit of antiquity, because it is embodied in living people. At the entrance to the village welcomes travelers a wooden idol-the guard with the carved mask. To create a true guardian, the master must breathe in the sculpture part of its energy, only then Cancun – traditional Korean wooden statue, will be effective.

At the entrance to the village welcomes travelers a wooden idol-the guardian

The tree of wishes

As before in the village there is the sanctuary of the three spirits called Samangan. Locals believe that it protects their village, and if we pray in this sanctuary and to ask the spirits about the baby for one hundred days, then this desire will come true. It is near this place the villagers staged ritual dances in masks, to ask the spirits to protect the village from harm and keep her in peace and quiet.

There is also another wonderful place: close to the manor Enciendan, if you turn to the next alley, you can see the huge 600-year old Zelkova tree. Next to him are the masks Yang-bans – Korean nobles. People write their wishes on a piece of paper and go straight to these masks. Adopting a deferential posture, put the hands on the mask and try to clear your mind from all the excess and focus only on his desire. Huge Zelkova tree entwined with a garland of straw, which is bound from top to bottom countless small pieces of paper with desires of different people, adults and children, overseas Koreans and foreigners.

Actors preparing for the show

Mask surround visitors on all sides, but the most interesting action takes place when the performance begins – the famous masked dance at Hahoe phasingout.

National treasure

Dance performance with masks, or sundae, nori, together with peasant, shamanistic and court dance is an element of the dance culture of the Joseon era, when music and dance were considered honorable role. In the early Joseon period were even created two public institutions devoted to music, and efforts were made to systematize the musical texts.

Unfortunately, many traditional Korean dances were lost during the Japanese colonial domination, and in the process of industrialization and urbanization of the Republic of Korea in 1960-1970-ies. Artists had to work on the revival of long-forgotten dances. Despite this, to date, only a few are well aware of the 56 original court dances. These include Choana (mask dance) of Silla era, Hachum (crane dance), created in the times of Goryeo, and Chuanjun (dance of Nightingale singing in spring) of the Joseon dynasty. All of these dances has a status of “treasures of spiritual culture”, and the professional performers have been granted the title of “man-treasure of culture”, the highest honor awarded to masters of traditional arts and crafts.

The masked dance at Hahoe pelsinger -a very ancient view that local residents arrange in Andong village for 800 years. We can say that this is one of the most ancient and characteristic of national representations Korea, which also received a national heritage status. Now for 13 years it formed part of a programme of regular performances in the village and is always held with great success with the audience.

Represent in masks, connecting dance, song and oral narrative included shamanistic elements and were very popular among the common people. Their execution was carried often satirical in nature and contained elements of criticism of the nobility, which caused great excitement among the common people. Such views are ridiculed to know in a series of comic scenes, which were given to the shamans, monks, lecherous, foolish aristocrats, quarreling spouses and many other characters. Dancing hidden faces stylized masks. It is interesting to note that the actor who was playing the role of a nobleman, in the day of the presentation people were really respectful and observed all the ceremonies required, as compared to this aristocrat. Telling stories of their characters, the dancers squat down into a deep plie (when the legs are deployed as widely as possible, and the toes are pulled apart), soar above the stage in jumps and use a variety of head movements. While the plot is understandable without words, so you can enjoy even without understanding the Korean language.

The modern festival

It is believed that the famous masked dance originally went from Hahoe village, so the place of annual international festival selected this place. Local dances are a compulsory part of the program of the festival.

View of hahoe village

The festival of masks in Andong you can see not only known but also unfamiliar to the audience dancing in masks, such as, for example, Chajon nori with actors-men or Notary Palki in which one person bends down and another to go over it like a bridge. In the ten-day program presented not only Korean but also foreign dances in masks and MIME and puppet shows.

Do not forget here and about the audience: for them is prepared a variety of activities in which they can participate themselves, for example, competition dance in masks, which will give a unique opportunity for festival guests to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of traditional holiday. There is in this holiday and innovations: recently the audience has the opportunity to choose the subject that they want to see the play. For those wishing to also open up shop where it is possible to produce a mask or a small wooden sculpture under the guidance of experienced craftsmen.

In former times, while the common people rejoiced at the presentation of the masks, know, riding down the river in boats, enjoyed the pastime called “Conjectural nori”. This was the name of Korea’s traditional fireworks. While sailing on the boats on the river nobles, not only admired the colorful fireworks, but also read each other poems and sang traditional songs. Thus, in one village harmoniously co-existed two different cultures – folk and aristocratic, and now combines the ancient traditions and modernity.

 

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