Shamans in Asia, 5.

pp. 97-119 Ė 5. John A. Grim : "Chaesu Kut : a Korean Shamanistic Performance".

pp. 97-98 finance & purpose for kut

p. 97

"Financial transactions are a significant element in the arrangement of a kut-performance, but these exchanges of money are traditionally understood as a payment to the spirits through the shaman, who is a channel for power. According to a Korean shamaness, if spirit-power is to be efficacious, if must be correctly solicited and purchased."

"A shamaness who divines the response of the spirit-powers during her

p. 98

thaumaturgy is commonly referred to as a mudang."

"Korean shamanistic ceremonies are identified according to purpose, such as guiding the dead (chinogi or ogu ... kut) and healing the sick (pyong ... kut). In a similar manner the ceremony may be named according to the principal spirit honored, such as the dragon (yongsin... kut) or after the initiation of a new shaman (naerim ... kut)."


c^aesu kut : "The purpose of this kut was to drive away misfortune and to increase prosperity and good fortune."

pp. 99-101 god-hallís altar-room




"The chaesu kut ... was performed in her altar room (god hall, sindang ...) ... . The shamanessís altar was located on the north side of a room ... . There was a smaller altar table set up in the doorway on the west side ... . ... The audience ... was composed of the apprentices or "spirit son and daughters (sinttal)" of the shamaness, friends of the clients, visiting musicians ... . [The shamaness]ís permanent altar, dedicated to her personal spirits, was on the north side of the room because ... this directional location was necessary for the descent of her guardian spirits ... . The altar was set up on top of a large wooden cabinet ... . In the cabinetís glass cases were ritual instruments, costumes ... for the more than twenty types of kut-ceremonies that this shamaness performed. Among the many items on top of the altar were ... large incense containers. Several of these incense containers were filled with ashes from various shamanistic temples in Korean. On the eastern side of the altar was a glass box ... containing a baby doll ... said to represent the "lost spirits" of babies who died young. Their resentment (han ...) arising from their untimely death and their subsequent attacks on living humans are believed to be a source of human illness. A shamaness can transform this resentment into a healing force if she is able to placate the spirits. Near the eastern end of the altar was a statue of the mountain spirit, San Sillyo^n Nim ..., as he is typically depicted with a white beard, dressed in red and blue and seated on a tiger. ...


Behind the main altar and above it were hand-painted pictures of [the shamaness]ís person pantheon. ... Several figures had a singularly personal meaning for the shamaness, for example, a painting of the male shaman who performed her initiating naerim kut; a general associated with Magpie mountain in her home province of Hwanghae; and also a painting of the shamaness herself. The total panorama ... assisted ... to enter imagistically into the ritual action of the kut. This action consisted of the invocation, communication, and playful entertainment (nolda) of spirit presences through the possessed body of [the shamaness]. ... [The shamaness] indicated that the Buddhist figures were inferior to her spirits ... .

Arranged in platters before the paintings ... were rice cakes, pastry mixed with oil and honey, and various sweets and


fruits. Complementing these offerings on the permanent altar was an elaborate arrangement of offerings for the ancestors on the side altar ... . It held several platters of ... cooked ... rice, ... kelp, nuts, ... a cooked pigís head, two dried fish ... . ... Furthermore, she implied that the offerings were esoterically connected to the twenty-eight parts of her complete kut performance."

pp. 101-102 biography of shamaness




At the age of sixteen "she began to experience dizzy spells and loss of consciousness. ... At the age of eighteen, however, she fell into a stupor that was interpreted by her family as "shamanic sickness," or sinbyo^ng ... . She eventually awoke from this stupor condition ... while digging in the ground to recover the ritual implements buried in the grave of a deceased shaman. Gradually recovering ..., [she] began to learn the traditional shamanic dances, songs and costumes, guided by an older male shaman ... and a shamaness ... . She was initiated by the shaman ... .


[She] still uses the cluster of bells on leather straps that she dug from the former shamanís grave ... . ... she married ... a Living National Treasure and head of the Kangryong Mask Dance Group. She now has more than sixty apprentices ... . ... She has guided her apprentices, who also are required to have had their own spirit "call," and has taught them the shamanistic arts of Hwanghae Province."

pp. 102, 105-112 performance of c^aesu kut




"One "spiritual daughter," an older woman, played the changgu-drum. Another played the cymbals ... .... The opening performance of the chaesu kut was pujo^ng ko^ri ... . This rite purified the house by expelling evil spirits and invoking the roof beam spirit (so^ngju ...) and the foundation spirit (chisin ...). ... A special platter was placed just outside the altar room


with food offerings for the spirits. These offerings included kimpche ... and red peppers ... . ... The shamaness invoked the spirits while the apprentices chanted responses. ... [The shamaness] took two iron blades ... and beat them in rhythm with the drum as she read the pujo^ng chant from a sheet of paper placed on the drum. [This] addressed the pujo^ng, or "unclean" spirits ... :"


the pujo^n of __

is in __








"the dead and the living"

"flying birds and crawling insects"


"the white butterfly"

"a strand of hair"


"She then set down the blades and picked up the two dried fish and the kettle in which they had rested ... . Waving the fish in her right hand she occasionally used them to drum the kettle in


her left hand. ... [The shamaness], speaking with the voice of the spirits, engaged ... in conversation."


"the second stage of the kut : san ch>on ko^ri ... . During this part the spirits of mountains and of the heaven were invoked. The mountain spirits ... guard the entrance and exit to the regions in which the deceased ancestors stay. The shamaness put a dark-blue skirt and blue jacket, symbolic of warrior spirits, over her turquoise outfit. She also donned a full-length scarlet coat ..., symbolic of the most regal spirits ... . ... The shamaness also wore a black hat typical of Confucian officials of the Korean Yi dynasty (1392-1910). The hat had a broad brim and a flat conical headpiece with two feather pieces on which the invoked spirits were said to perch during the shamanessís dances. ... Taking up ... a large fan picturing the mountain and heavenly spirits, [the shamaness] gently rocked on the balls of her feet as she invoked these spirit powers. ...


As the shamaness became enraptured by the presence of the invoked spirits, she whirled around the dance area with various ritual instruments after setting aside the fan ... . First she danced holding the two wands with white paper cuttings (no^kchong ...), then two swords, followed with a trident and a broad blade and, finally two tridents. She recited the names and ranks of the spirits who were possessing her and who were ordering her to dance with the various ritual instruments. The spirits began to speak through the shamaness, initially scolding the clients and then extolling their devotion. While chanting the spiritís approval, the shamaness performed the rice grain divination. ... The speech of the shamaness was ... rapid and jovial ... . ... the shamaness used archaic terms in describing the place of origin and the life history of the attending spirits. ... . ... the shamaness began a boisterous chant to which the drummer and p>iri player responded. ... [the shamaness] sang exuberantly until she ceased singing to execute a series of dance steps with whirling movements, sudden knee bends, and full body extensions ... . Performed for the delight (nolda, "play") of the spirits, this elaborate dance and its accompanying music are singularly identified with Hwanghae Province in North Korea. ...


... the shamaness now divined the will of the spirits through flag divination."


"The third part of this kut was called kamang ..., or responding to the spirits." It was performed by the female apprentice ... who was ... sixteen years old. ... The young shamaness ... put on the rose-colored skirt of the kamang-disease spirits. ... Also, her basic ceremonial dress was a light pink ... . ...


Her lively, humorous demeanor was in ... her joking with the clients ... . As this third ritual step concluded with flag divination, an interlude occurred in which the clients were encouraged to put on the costume ... and dance before the altar. This hiatus in the kut is called mugan ... ssuda. ...


[Thus was the] mugan ssuda, for the client was allowed to call up his own bodyís troubled spirit for "play" (nolda)."


"the next stage, ch>ilso^ng ko^ri ... . ... She ... gently danced about the altar room invoking the ch>ilso^ng spirits with this waving motion of her arms ... . The shamaness took up a ... staff as her ritual instrument while being possessed by the ch>ilso^ng spirit and narrating the spiritís mythic story. ... After the dances with the ... staff, the shamaness ... handed out rice cakes and fruit to all the guests. ... Then she took a platter ..., heaped with a mound of powdered rice cakes, and proceeded to balance it on a drumstick perpendicular to the edge of the changgu-drum. ... She then took the iron drumstick and rapped the drum sharply ... . ...


A young male apprentice ... put on ... a bright-green jacket symbolic of the kamang-disease spirits. Over these clothes he put on ... outer costume ... symbolic of the troublesome taegam spirits. {or was the bright-green symbolic of taegam?} He ... opened ... ritual fans to invoke the spirits of taegam ko^ri ... . He read from a printed list that was placed on top of the drum and called the taegam spirits from their resting places in the boulders, trees, rivers ... of Korea. ... A grimace spread over his .. countenance and the blood seemed to drain from his face as the taegam spirits possessed him. The shaman ... then danced ... with ... knives. ... Raising one knife high in the air he stabbed violently into the pigís head. ... The apprentice shaman now danced with the pigís head ... . He stuck the pigís head onto a one-meter forked trident. ... He proceeded to divine the approval of the taegam spirits by attempting to balance the trident mounted with the pigís head on the rice cake. ...


... the trident balanced."


"youngjo^n ko^ri ... . The young shamaness dressed herself... . The young shamaness dressed herself in ... a red embroidered waistband and a red hat of an officialís travel garb. This youngjo^n ko^ri was the "farewell to the spirits." ... In the same costume ... the apprentice shamaness performed so^ngju ko^ri ... directed toward the spirits of the house".

pp. 116-117 idols on altar (arranged in 3 rows : 1-9, 10-18, 19-23)







Im Kyo^no^p C^angun

"general who died a tragic death at an early age."



Pyo^nma C^angun

"mythic general of sickness."



P>alman Sinjan

"warrior spirit who leads the 80,000 spirit army."




"dead shaman who has become ... a pantheon deity".



Yont>ae Puin

"grand madame of dragons."



So^san Taesa

"great western mountain teacher."



Yaksa Sinjan

"healing master in the retinue of Yaksa".



Pu>gun / Hanaban

"polite reference to father and grandfather."



Kim Kibaek




Pyo^lsan Mama

"messenger god".



So^rin C^angun

"auspicious mythic general."



Kac^>isan Pyo^nma C^angun

"general of Magpie Mountain in Hwanghae Province."



Howi-pyo^n & Waryon So^nsaen

"auspicious tactician, Kung-min, of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms."



P>al So^nnyo^

"fairy maiden leading 8,000 hosts."



Sambul C^aesok

"Birth Spirit".




"the seven stars of the Big Dipper, which spirit helps to raise children."




"mountain spirit".



Toryon & Aegissi

"young boys and girls who died as virgins and have become powerful spirits."



San Sillyo^n Nim

"mountain spirit on his mount, the tiger."

Clark Chilson & Peter Knecht : Shamans in Asia. RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2003.