The Tomb of King Dan-gun
(Korea's Original San-shin),
Near Pyeongyang in North Korea
-- from official postcards purchased there --
This is supposedly the original stone
monument telling the history of the 'Tomb of
King Dan-gun', found at this site with the
burried ruins of the original  tomb.  Two large
skeletons are now enshrined inside the
reconstruction; they are said to be King
Dan-gun and his wife.

Pyeongyang authorities have not yet allowed
archeologists from South Korea or any other
nation to inspect this site, so nothing claimed
about it can be considered verified.  But it's
very interesting how NK's "communist" regime
is using this ancient myth to bolster it's own
legitimacy, and promote re-unification...
An officially-approved 126-member South
Korean delegation visited important cultural
sites of the Pyeongyang area for 5 days to
celebrate the 4335th annual Gae-cheon-jeol
[Heaven-Opening Day] (Korea's National
Foundation Day; see pages 132-134 of my book)
which fell on October 3rd in 2002.  This is
another positive step towards cultural
re-unification.

They co-hosted a ceremonial festival at the
reconstructed 'Tomb of King Dan-gun' (see page
208).  They toured the shrines of several famous
mountains, and held a symposium on the
legends of and evidence for Dan-gun.  He is
known as the grandson of the Lord of Heaven,
founder of Korea's first Kingdom, a wise
Shamanic ruler; he is said to have "retired as a
Mountain-spirit", probably of Kuwol-san
[Nine-Moons Mountain] SW of Pyeongyang,
when Iron-Age Chinese culture conquered his
kingdom around 1100 BCE.  He is thus sort of
the "Father of all San-shin".
This is a typical portrait of King Dan-gun from a
temple in South Korea.  He sits in a Chinese-style
wooden chair with 'rustic' legs, wears a white robe
and unadorned crown, and has black hair and beard
although he lived for over 900 years (indicating his
'immortal' status, or perhaps it is supposed to be a
portrait at the time of his enthronement.  He wears a
mantle of willow-leaves on his shoulders, and
another of some broader leaves around his waist --
these are symbols of "a man of nature", a ruler in
primitive time. Throughout this website there are
several examples of this motif echoed in a San-shin
painting.  Two bust-portraits installed at
reconstructed Kuwol-san shrines by NK authorities
do not include any leaves on his shoulders, however.

All these iconograghic elements are borrowed from
Chinese portraits of Fuxi, the mythical founder of
Bronze-Age Sinitic civilization (and designer of the I
Ching Trigrams), a very important deity for Daoists.   
King Dan-gun is intended as a Korean counterpart of
this Fuxi; some Korean nationalists claim that Fuxi IS
actually Dan-gun, and the Chinese appropriated him.