Angels on the Peak:
Torch-lighting Ritual on
Halla & Baekdu Mountains
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An echo of ancient Korean San-shin and Heaven-worshipping ceremonies, from the Korea Herald in September 2002.  The women above are dressed as "Bi-seon" [flying immortals, or Angels], a.k.a. "Seon-nyeo" [immortal girls], which frequently appear in San-shin paintings, folk-tales and Buddhist art (see pages 81-91 in my book).   Halla-san and Baekdu-san form the extreme (major) southern and northern geographical points of Korea, are both among the top 18 most-sacred mountains of the entire nation, are both the highest peak of each half of divided Korea, and both are extinct volcanos with lakes on their peaks (although Cheonji-ho [Heaven Lake] on Baekdu-san is huge & very deep, while this "Baek-rok-dam" on Halla-san is just a pond).   Therefore these two holy mountains are frequently paired in ritual, art and rhetoric in the Unification-minded Korea of the past 20 years.    LEFT: Paired torch-bearers named after these two mountains enter the Asian Games Stadium in Busan City.  "Baek" [white] is actually a family name in Korea...   It's always good to see this kind of continuity of sacred-mountain traditions, used in modern social and political events...