Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Three duck" folk art

The 진또배기 (jinddobaegi) is a cosmic symbol in Kangneung. It consists of a wooden pole or structure which is mounted with a trio of ducks in a modified tricorn pattern. These wooden structures were found near entrances to villages and were worshipped by the villagers. The 진또배기, as a cosmic tree, symbolizes a connection of people with god, the sky and the earth. (I find this quite interesting as the Chinese symbol for king 王 also has nearly the same metaphysical meaning!) Kangneung was principally a fishing village, and the villagers living a communal life, and one in communion with both land and sea, believed that the 진또배기 prevented floods, fire and wind damage, and would ensure a safe life. They also believed that it would bestow peace, a good harvest and good catch. The 진또배기 is now just a reminder of a shamanic past, and the cosmic trees are found now as tourist symbols but having no further spiritual or metaphysical meaning beyond that in the burgeoning capitalistic society grounded in science which denies the illogical and unexplainable.

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