-- Shrine for a Warrior Grandmother
on the fabled Bamboo Pass --
|North Chuncheong Province
Danyang-gun County Sobaek-san
|barely visible behind the trees
| This historic Neo-Confucian-style shrine, now designated as
Chungcheong-bukdo Provincial Folklore Asset #3, was only
recently refurbished with a narrow farm-road leading to it and
this sign pointing the way -- I had not even known about it until
this cloudy day in April 2011.
It is located on the lower slopes of the northwestern side of
the Juk-ryeong [Bamboo Pass, also spelled Jungnyeong], in
Danyang-myeon District's Yongbuwon-ri Village of Danyang-
gun County, not far from where National Highway #5 starts to
climb over the pass, and Expressway #55 enters Korea's
longest tunnel (5km!) underneath it. It is part of the Baekdu-
daegan Mountain-System, just 3 km from the crest (straight;
longer on the twisting road).
It was established by order of Great King Sejong about 570
years ago, to commemorate an old grandmother who had
helped the royal troops defeat a gang of pirates on this pass,
"becoming as ferocious as a tiger" in fighting them. Remaining
nameless as far as we know, she became regarded as Sanshin
there by the local villagers shortly after her death, when a few
of them started having dreams of her in that status.
Local villagers still hold annual early-spring ceremonies here.
The shrine building was last reconstructed in 1948. It has also
been called a Guksa-dang [National-Guardian Shrine].
This site was a delight for me to discover, despite the strong
cold winds. A senior folklore-historian of the county showed it
to us, and an MBC-TV crew filmed us as he showed me around
the shrine and told me its story.
|twisted-hemp-fiber rope with tags of white cloth periodically-inserted signifies sacred space
architectural details -- the extra compartment on back is a late-Joseon Confucian touch, designed to hold ritual clothing and implements until next year