The Wide Variety of San-shin on
Busan City's Geum-jeong-san
in August 2001
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the late-Joseon-Dynasty San-shin-gak of Beom-eo-sa, the oldest and most important temple in Busan City, halfway up the north-eastern slope of Geum-jeong-san.
At Ji-jang-am Hermitage just downhill from Beom-eo-sa, San-shin appears in the Shin-jung painting.  The figure next to him, possibly a Yong-wang [Dragon-king of the waters] is holding a flaming dharma-wheel!   A large stone sign marks the entrance of the path up to the San-shin-gak.  The text of the "San-shin Sutra" -- the prayer that Buddhists recite to the Mountain-spirit -- is carved in granite (in hangeul) at the top of the path.  The "San-shin-gak" turns out to be an outdoor shrine, granite statue on a huge stone altar, with 2 dongja and two Buddhist stone-lanterns (signifying a teacher of enlightenment).
Excellent new painting at Seong-bul-sa [Sagely-Buddha Temple] near Beom-eo-sa.
At Kwan-eum-jeong-sa, a new one. What looks like a broom being held by the girl-dongja is actually a crane-feather insignia of command.
At Saja-am [Lion Sub-temple] of Beom-eo-sa, an excellent antique.
At Geum-cheon-am [Golden Heaven Hermitage] on the middle-eastern slope, the tiger is depicted as a fat house-cat!
At Ho-guk-sa [Defending the Nation Temple], a fine new San-shin & Deok-seong matched-set.
San-shin looking a bit like one of Tolkien's Dwarves, at Bo-gwang-am [Treasure Glowing Sub-temple].
Guk-cheong-sa, also near East Gate.  His light-colored robe is a bit unusual.
Classic Shamanic style at Man-wol-sa up near the East Gate of the old fortress.  This is a popular alpine village for Koreans to drive up to for meals of broiled Black Goat meat and Makkeoli (crude milky rice-wine).
At Geum-gang-sa [Diamond Temple] in the Mt. Diamond Park, an ordinary San-shin icon, but also this unique wall-painting of a San-shin (or Spirit-Immortal or Sage) strolling on a slope with a pride of tigers!
Deok-seong & San-shin statues in front of a small cave, at Do-won-sa.
the San-shin painting inside it is quite standard in its features, except that the tiger's body is rarely facing away from the viewers.
Cheong-ryong-sa [Blue Dragon Temple] is deep in the northern gorge of Mt. Diamond Park (south-eastern Geum-jeong-san), halfway up the mountain, and few people ever visit it because a cable-car carries most tourists far over it.  That's too bad, as it contains three interesting San-shin icons.  Uphill on a small muddy trail is found one with a white-robed (quite rare) San-shin in a small aluminum case, leaning against a boulder.  Another 30 meters steeply uphill was found a faded old painting done directly on another big boulder.  And down at the entrance-gate by the hiking-trail stands a small San-shin-dosa statue, with no tiger, serving as a guardian-spirit of the path itself.
Geum-jeong-san [the Golden Well Mountains] is a massive complex of mountains with a dozen peaks that dominates the geography of Busan, Korea's second largest city and greatest port.  Busan was originally just at its southern end, with the peaks running progessively higher far to the north into the "Yeong-nam Alps", but the metropolis has grown around it in a U-shape.  A huge stone-wall fortress was built on the highlands during the Joseon Dynasty.  It now hosts at least two dozen temples, three parks and several villages.  Hiking trails abound, and are popular.
These two similar San-shin paintings from (left) Geum-yong-am [Golden Dragon Hermitage] and (right) Dong-myeong-sa [Eastern Brightness Temple] were probably done by the same artist.  But as usual with Korean mountain-spirits, they each have their own individual character.
LEFT:  the painting at Dae-ok-bul-sa [Great Jade Buddha Temple], a newly-built Jogye-Order monastery, contains two tigers -- the smaller one with a dongja-boy standing on its back!

RIGHT:  at Dae-deok-sa [Great Virtue Temple], San-shin wears a turban-like bok-geon [royal official's hat] instead of his usual Daoist-scholar's head-covering or king's top-knot-band, as a symbol of high government rank.
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