San-shin Worship on North Jeolla's
Golden Sage Mountain
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Deok-cheon-sa [Virtue of Heaven Temple] on the southwest side of Geum-seong-san contains this magnificent Mountain-spirit painting.  San-shin sits on a Chinese-style throne in green robes (very rare!) with official-rank insignia-patch, wearing an official's hat decorated with the Sun & Moon (symbol of eum-yang or yin-yang polarity in Oriental philosophy).  A mother-tigress licks her cub, with another behind; the boy holds staff, ginseng, bullocho and flowers (no peaches this time), the girl makes a Buddhist mudra-sign.  Hidden behind the statue on the lower-right, another boy pours his master a cup of tea next to the portable stove.   Clearly, this great painting was done by the same artist who did the one at Daewon-sa nearby (shown on the previous page) --- and yet, it is different / individual / unique, in the Korean San-shin tradition (which is what makes this subject so fascinating).  In another very rare (unique, I think) twist, the San-shin statue is holding a ring-topped staff, characteristic of Jijang-bosal (the popular Boddhisattva who saves suffering souls from Hell) !!!   San-shin has frequently been artistically conflated with other 2nd-level Buddhist figures, but never before with Jijang-bosal, as far as I know.
Ji-seon-sa at Geum-seong-san [Golden-Sage Mountain, a San-shin reference; 330m high] is found just south of Jeonju City in North Jeolla Province.  It features a large open San-shin Altar decorated with unusual stones (above left), about 30 meters uphill behind the humble Main Hall, which contains a rather simple shamanic San-shin painting (above right).  Note the Lotus-flower motif on his fan, a symbol of Buddhist enlightenment, and the plentitude of waterfalls.  Plenty of Buddhist-style memorial-candles sit in front, to commemerate donors.  Also in the Buddha-hall, a long-whiskered San-shin stands in the Assembly of Spirits icon (lower left), holding multi-colored bullocho [yeongji-beoseot or reshi mushrooms].  A stone with "San-shin" [Mountain-spirit] chinese characters sits among cairns (below center) on the trail up to the outdoor Altar, at which an ordinary Korean man prays in supplication (lower right).