Mountain-spirit (and other) Shrines and Icons
Found On the South Coast of
South Jeolla Province, November 2002
This Page: Jin-do Island - part one
(these seven pages contain the Mountain-spirit
shots we collected at the 34 temples we visited on
this 6-day driving-trip.  The best "tourist" photos
we took on it, if you're interested, can be seen
In northern Jin-do, a remote Island connected to the mainland of Jeolla-namdo by a bridge, Hae-eon-sa Temple
is found up on the base of the amazing-looking Geum-gol-san [Golden Cave Mountain].  A Bodhisattva
cliff-carving is directly above the temple complex, on the sheer southern face.  Inside, the San-shin painting is
unique and cartoonish, the forlorn-looking monkish "King of the Mountain" contrasting with his fierce tiger.  A
screen of precious marble-slabs suggesting landscapes sits in front of him, the
Yong-wang [Dragon-King of the
Waters, patron of fishermen, a common icon down here] is to the right, and a small bronze Buddha-shrine sits
between them.  In the "Assembly of Spirits" painting (see pages 113-117 in my book), a very bushy-facial-haired
San-shin is shown holding both a Feather-fan and
bullocho sprigs.
at Cheong-ryong-sa [Blue Dragon Temple], the painting is ordinary but the
faux-three-storey Mountain-spirit shrine with "burl" signboard is one-of-a-kind.
ABOVE:  at Ku-am-sa [Nine-rocks Temple] on Jin-do's
south coast, an elegant barefoot almost Boddhisattva-like
San-shin delicately touches the ear of his overfed tiger,
beneath a wall-painting of a Buddhist sage being offered 3
peaches-of-immortality by a
dongja servant-boy.

RIGHT: at Ssang-gye-sa [Twin-valleys Temple]  near the
Unlim-sanbang [Cloud-Forest Mountain-Room], the San-shin
has one leg up and the other down, similar to some Korean
icons of
Mireuk-bosal [Maitreya, Boddhisattva of the Future]
-- extremely rare.   His tiger is gleefully insane, and the dongja
offers a piece of coral from the ocean -- an echo of the heavy
Yong-wang worship here.  A boy gazes at the mountain-scape
in the first of the "10-ox Paintings" depicting the stages of the
Zen path to Buddhist enlightenment.  For Koreans, places like
this are where spiritual advancements can easily happen.
Chil-seong-sa [Seven Stars (of
the "big dipper") Temple] hosts
this simply amazing find -- a
San-shin painting with SEVEN
dongja attendants (about 1.5 is the
national average)
in its ample
back-ground.  This was to fit in
with the "Chil-seong" theme of
the temple; the San-shin here
symbolizes "
Chesok" Buddha
(see pages 104-109 of my book).  2 of
the dongja are female, one in a
hanbok.  Up front a boy pets a
deer, while a crouching old man -- in
the role of North-Star Spirit? --
tends the boiling tea-kettle.  A flock
of birds is flying overhead --
extremely rare!