TITLE: Chwibari Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Korea
SUBREGION: Hwanghae Province
ETHNICITY: Korean
DESCRIPTION: Bongsan Talchum Chwibari (Drunkard) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker at Seoul Institute for the Arts
CEREMONY: Talchum Drama
FUNCTION: celebration; entertainment
AGE: 2005
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: cotton hood; stitching; paint

Talchum has been called Korea’s first “professional” masked dance drama, although it originated as part of seasonal festivities in the Bongsan region, it later relocated to Sariwon, on a major trade route, and during the Japanese Colonial Era was performed in a theater for paying patrons. The drama is accompanied by music played on a small samheyon yukgak ensemble, consisting of three aerophones, one chordophone, and two membranophones.

This mask represents a drunkard (chwibari) who performs the kaekki chum dance. In the Fourth Act of the drama, a very holy monk abandons his doctrines and seduces a shaman girl. Later, a drunkard appears and, challenging the monk, wins the girl for himself.  After she bears his baby, she abandons him, and chwibari undertakes to educate his child himself.

For more on Korean masquerade, see Jeon Kyung-wook, Korean Mask Dance Dramas: Their History and Structural Principles (Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea: Youlhwadang Pub. 2005).

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TITLE: Chwibari Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Korea
SUBREGION: Songpa-dong, Seoul
ETHNICITY: Korean
DESCRIPTION: Chwibari (Drunkard) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in Seoul
CEREMONY: Songpa Sandae Nori Drama
FUNCTION: celebration; entertainment
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; varnish; polyester cloth

Songpa Sandae Nori is a traditional masked play from the Songpa-dong and Garak-dong neighborhoods of Seoul, South Korea. Traditionally, the play begins with a parade circling the Songpa Market area to announce the performance. The actors and musicians then perform a ritual (seomakgosa) to sanctify the play and honor the ancestors.

The drama itself consists of either seven (short version) or twelve (long version) acts dealing with class conflict and human weakness and nobility.  In the play, thirty-three different masks are used to represent different characters.

This mask represents a drunkard (chwibari) who performs the kaekki chum dance. In the Fourth Act of the drama, a very holy monk abandons his doctrines and seduces a shaman girl. Later, a drunkard appears and, challenging the monk, wins the girl for himself.  After she bears his baby, she abandons him, and chwibari undertakes to educate his child himself.

For more on Korean masquerade, see Jeon Kyung-wook, Korean Mask Dance Dramas: Their History and Structural Principles (Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea: Youlhwadang Pub. 2005).

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TITLE: Eight Heavenly Maidens Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Korea
SUBREGION: Korean expatriates in China
ETHNICITY: Korean
DESCRIPTION: Eight Heavenly Maidens Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Kuunmong Drama
FUNCTION: entertainment
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; stitching; cotton cloth; dyed cotton cords; elastic band; hardware

This mask was probably made by Korean expatriates living in China for use in a performance of the Kuunmong drama.  Kuunmong, or “The Cloud Dream of the Nine,” is a 17th century Korean novel set in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). Although probably originally written in Chinese, it was early translated into Korean and is considered one of the main masterpieces of Korean literature.  Kuunmong tells the story of two young men who live strict Buddhist and Confucian lives, respectively.  The Confucian hero, So-yoo, marries or takes as concubines eight beautiful maidens, of which this mask probably represents one.  The mask is thus not made for a traditional cultural ceremony of Korea, but rather as a form of entertainment and cultural education.

For more on Korean masquerade, see Jeon Kyung-wook, Korean Mask Dance Dramas: Their History and Structural Principles (Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea: Youlhwadang Pub. 2005).

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TITLE: Eldest Daughter Talchum Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Korea
SUBREGION: Yangju
ETHNICITY: Korean
DESCRIPTION: Jangnyeo (Eldest Daughter) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Byeolsandae Drama
FUNCTION: entertainment
AGE: 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; stitching; cotton cloth

Sandae noli is a type of masking tradition from the Gyeonggi region near Seoul, Korea. It was traditionally performed on seasonal holidays as part of an annual village festival. The drama is accompanied by music played on a small samhyeon yukgak ensemble, consisting of three aerophones, one chordophone, and two membranophones. The full performance involves dozens of characters in different masks.

This specific mask represents the jangnyeo (장녀) eldest daughter of impoverished aristocrats.

For more on Korean masquerade, see Jeon Kyung-wook, Korean Mask Dance Dramas: Their History and Structural Principles (Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea: Youlhwadang Pub. 2005).

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TITLE: First Yangban
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Korea
SUBREGION: Hwanghae Province
ETHNICITY: Korean
DESCRIPTION: Bongsan Talchum First Yangban (Educated Nobleman) Mask
MAKER: Gim Gisu
CEREMONY: Talchum Drama
FUNCTION: celebration; entertainment
AGE: 1977
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: cotton hood; animal fur; paint

Talchum has been called Korea’s first “professional” masked dance drama, although it originated as part of seasonal festivities in the Bongsan region, it later relocated to Sariwon, on a major trade route, and during the Japanese Colonial Era was performed in a theater for paying patrons. The drama is accompanied by music played on a small samheyon yukgak ensemble, consisting of three aerophones, one chordophone, and two membranophones.

This mask represents a superficial nobleman (yangban) with a cleft lip. In the play, this character is shown to be undignified and unworthy of his title.

For more on Korean masquerade, see Jeon Kyung-wook, Korean Mask Dance Dramas: Their History and Structural Principles (Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea: Youlhwadang Pub. 2005).

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REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Republic of Korea
YEAR PRINTED: 1967
VALUE: 4 won

This stamp was issued by the South Korean government in 1967 to celebrate the country’s traditional dance dramas. This one depicts a Yangban (aristocrat) mask of exceptional ugliness from the Tongyeong Ogwandgdae.

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REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Republic of Korea
YEAR PRINTED: 1967
VALUE: 5 won

This stamp was issued by the South Korean government in 1967 to celebrate the country’s dance dramas. This stamp depicts a Chwibari, or boorish villain, mask from the Toegaewon Sandae-nori of the 1920s.

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REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Republic of Korea
YEAR PRINTED: 1967
VALUE: 7 won

This stamp was issued by the South Korean government in 1967 to celebrate the country’s dance dramas. It depicts a Yangban, or aristocrat, the main subject of mockery in the drama.

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REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Republic of Korea
YEAR PRINTED: 1969
VALUE: 1 won

This monochromatic stamp was issued by the South Korean government in 1969 to celebrate the Hahoe dance drama (Hahoe pyolsin-gut). It depicts a Yangban, or aristocrat, the main subject of mockery in the drama.

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REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Republic of Korea
YEAR PRINTED: 1975
VALUE: 10 won

This stamp is part of a set issued by the South Korean government in 1975 to celebrate the country’s dance dramas. This stamp appears to depict a Yangban (aristocrat) mask.

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