San-shin icons with 'Bodhisattva' Figures
at the Ancient Koryeo-Foundation Temples
South of the Rooster-Dragon Mountain
-- Kae-tae-sa (this page) and
Kye-seong-sa (next page) --
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Kyeryong-san [Rooster-Dragon Mountain] has long been belived to manifest very strong San-shin spiritual powers, primarily Female with Male spirit working along side it.  For much more about this holy mountain, see these pages.
      Almost 1100 years ago, Gen. Wang Geon was establishing the strongly Buddhist Koryeo Dynasty with himself as first king, and its capital at Kae-seong City (north of what is now Seoul).  He built a large San-seong [mountain-fortress] in a long narrow valley just south of sacred Kyeryong-san, to defend his new kingdom from the south.  He built the temple Kae-tae-sa inside its walls, near the center, at the foot of Cheon-ho-san [Heavenly Protection Mountain], to pray for spiritual protection.  Later, Kye-seong-sa [Rooster-Fortress Temple]
(next page) was built within these walls on the western slope of KRS's southernmost peak Hamji-bong.  Both flourished during the 500 years of Koryeo, but lay in ruins during the subsequent Joseon Dynasty.  They were rebuilt after the Korean War.
ABOVE: the San-shin painting of Kae-tae-sa includes three main figures, each with their own dongja attendant (but only one tiger).  I believe this to be unique, or nearly so, in the entire nation!  This is a Wife-Husband San-shin couple, holding bullocho (yin) and a feather-fan (yang) respectively.  A figure in male-San-shin robes but with the face and hat of a Buddhist Bodhisattva sits between them, holding a ginseng root (yang).  A teapot and single cup is in the foreground.  It's not easy to interpert this triad with any certainty; the monks of Kae-tae-sa could not say what it is supposed to represent. If any of you readers out there has info or a good theory, let me know...

RIGHT: three 10th-Century Buddha statues, 3 meters tall but fairly crude, found in the ruins of Kae-tae-sa and newly enshrined in a Main Hall.
Portrait of National Fouunder-King Dan-gun, enshrined next to a photo of the peak of Baekdu-san, one of Korea's holiest mountains (and a potent symbol of national re-unification).  Patriotic icons, going along with the theme of Dynasty-Foundation.
In the Chil-seong [Seven Stars] painting of Kae-tae-sa, the Ok-hwang-sang-je [Jade Emperor of Heaven, supreme Daoist god] is front-and-center below the Cheseok Buddha, holding a leaf-fan (like San-shin) and a small thin bottle (like the Bodhisattva of Compassion).  Does this represent Wang Geon, or his ancestor? (see page 36 of my First Edition).
In the new and complex Shin-jung [Assembly of the Guardian Spirits] painting of Kae-tae-sa, San-shin is seen in the upper left, wearing a turquoise cloud-cap and holding a bullocho sprig.   Front-and-center in this photo, just left of the Dong-jin-bosal [Leading Guardian Bodhisattva-Spirit] is Founder-King Wang Geon [Goryeo Taejo] himself, helping to protect his own temple.
San-shin -->