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
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(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 here).
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 white 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!
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