|Answers to Guestbook Posts:
On this page I will answer posts to this site's
guestbook, because it only handles 500-character
posts, and that's not enough for my replies...
> Date: Sat Sep 6, 2003
> Name: Pam Trainer
> I have been trying to find out more about the Sa Shin Do.
> (That's the way the Korean Doll Artist spelled it.)
> Her creations of 4 Phantom animal spirits of Korea.
> Ju-jak, Bekho, Chyungr-yong, and Hyun-mu.
> Do you know of them? Thank you!
Sure, these are quite familiar. They are known as the Sa-shin [Four Spirits]
or the Four Directional Animals. You say "phantoms" but these are symbolic
animal-spirits representing the 'guardian powers' of the four directions of the
compass or map.
With correct spellings, they are:
Cheong-ryong [Blue Dragon] -- East, associated with water, seas & clouds;
"blue" also includes green
Ju-jak [Red Pheasant or Phoenix] -- South, the direction that most Front Gate's face;
associated with heat, fire & fighting
Baek-ho [White Tiger] -- West, probably derived from the Siberian tiger ;
associated with wisdom & spirit
Hyeon-mu [Black Tortoise] -- North, often with snake entwining the shell ;
associated with death
They are of ancient Chinese origin, anthropomorphic symbols from Daoist
shamanism. They first appeared in current form in China's Later Han Dynasty
(about 0-200 AD), having acquired colors from the "5 Elements Theory" of Han
Confucianism (Yellow Earth is the center). They first appeared in Korean arts in
the 600's, most famously in a Goguryeo tomb now in North Korea. They
became more prominent under Joseon Dynasty Neo-Confucianism, with the bird
& dragon seen as "yin" and the tortoise & tiger seen as "yang."
> Date: Sat Oct 18 2003
> Name: George M. Patton
> I enjoyed the pictures of the sanshin, the lonely saint, dragon king,
> shinjang and etc. I was in Korea most of the time between 1965 and
> 1978 and enjoyed visiting the shrines and temples. Most on the time I
> was in Cholla Puk Do, but did get to make a trip to Kyeryong San.
> Thanks for putting all the wonderful pictures on the web for us to see.
> Your comments were informative. I learned a lot.
> Date: Sun Oct 19, 2003
> Name: George M. Patton
> Added comment: One can find more about the "bullocho" or "yeongji-
> beoseot" that the Mountain God sometimes holds in his hand. Check on
> the web for "Ganoderma lucidum", which is a beautiful shiny scarlet fungi.
As explained in the book, most Oriental scholars have held that the "bullocho"
widely depicted in Daoist & Shamanic arts is in fact NOT "yeongji-beoseot"
[Ganoderma Lucidum Karst], famous for its health-building properties and
widely used in Oriental Medicine (I use it myself, and have some growing on a
rotten log in my living-room), a.k.a. Reshi & Lingzhi; but rather is an entirely
mythical "Immortality-granting Mushroom." However, *I* continue to think that it
IS yeongji-beoseot, due to the similarity of shape and color. I think that the
myth of the "bullocho" as an "Immortality-granting Fungus" found in the remotest
mountain-forests arose in China due to the spreading reputation of the curative
properties of Korea¡¯s yeongji-beoseot (as with its insam / ginseng).