Guksa-Seonghwang
and San-shin Shrines
of Odae-san's
Daegwan-ryeong Pass
오대산 대관령
a key and mysterious factor of
the Gangneung Dano-je Festival
The Seonghwang [Tutelary royal-spirit, common
guardian of villages in Korean folk-religion] altar-
painting in the larger Seonghwang Shrine here,
the main ritual-spot of this ceremony.  In this case
he is the
Seonghwang for all this side of Odae-
san along the Baekdu-daegan Ridgeline, the Pass
and all the Gangneung City area -- a huge territory,
far larger than that of most such village deities --
and so he must be regarded as very powerful..!
He is entitled
Guksa [National Master] Seonghwang.

The strange mystery is, this Seonghwang is said
by long Gangneung tradition to be the ghost of
Buddhist Master Beomil, of Gulsan-sa Temple in
SW Gangneung, far below here.  But this painting
is clearly of a military general, on horseback with
a squire and holding a bow-&-arrow set.  Unusual
to have a tiger here, which together with the red
pine tree make this almost a
Sanshin icon.  Two
tigers in parallel curves might suggest the two
mountain-ridges on either side of the twisting Dae-
gwanryong Pass?  But who IS this guardian, if not
the monk?  One tradition that I heard from a local
shaman back in 1989 says that it is Shilla Kingdom
General Kim Yu-shin, know from a
Samguk Yusa
tale to have led a successful attack up in this
region that was assisted by heavenly spirits -- and
so maybe this famed royal-blood warrior is serving
as another Guardian-Spirit of Daegwan-ryeong
Pass, and the post-1960 artist depicted him thus...?
The San-shin Shrine
From a Gangneung Dano-je Brochure
my 1993 photo of the Sanshin painting   -- it's impossible to shoot well, covered with reflective glass
my 2008 photo  -- even worse
Shots from the 2003 Ceremony here,
on the foggy morning of the 4th Full Moon, by my kind friend: