Means of Korean Traditional Design – 3

crow : incarnation of the sun. messenger of god. disorder. knell. denial. liver. male. filial piety


At this time, in Silla, the sun and moon had no brilliance. May Il-gwan inform the king,
“The spirit of the sun and the moon fell in Korea, but now it has gone to Japan, so this weirdness is happening.”
and I’m sorry
– From 「The Three Kingdoms Yusa」, Volume 1, Kii 1, [Yeonorangse Ohnyeo]

The etymology of crow is ‘gamagori’, which simply means ‘black bird’. According to the ancient Chinese literature, Huainan, it is said, “In the sun there is a crouching crow, in the moon there is a toad.”
However, for what reason did the black crow become a symbol of the essence of the sun? The likely answer to this is sunspots.
About 1,600 years ago, one day when the sky was overcast due to yellow dust and the sun could be seen with the naked eye, a Chinese astronomer observed a strange point on the surface of the sun and recorded the following:
“The sun was red and it was like fire. There was a three-legged crow in the sun, its shape clearly and distinctly visible. After five days it was gone.”
Once upon a time, when ten suns rose, people were burned to death, and the mountains and streams were scorched, King Yao ordered them to shoot down the sun.

Where the sun had set, a gigantic golden three-legged crow was killed by an arrow.
The Han dynasty stone carvings depicting this story are carved with crows open instead of the sun on a huge tree.
Just as not all chickens are golden, not all crows are three-legged crows.
The three-legged crow icon as a symbol of the sun is mainly found in the murals of tombs of Goguryeo, which were influenced by Chinese culture from an early age, and in the ornaments found in tombs.
A fragment of a crow remains in the names of Yeon Orang (延烏郞) and Seo Ohnyeo (細烏女), mythical figures known as the spirits of the sun and moon.
However, since ancient times, the symbolism of the crow, which means the energy of the sun, has been slowly forgotten.

In general, we have bad feelings for crows.
The crow’s cry is an ominous omen of death, because the crow is a messenger of the gods who travels between this world and the underworld, and among them is mainly a messenger of bad news.
It was the crow that informed King Soji of Silla of the plot of adultery and treason, and it was the crow who caused the people to die in disorder by losing the enemy package he received from the messenger of the dead.

If you place the steamed rice in front of the gate after performing the ritual, it is also the crow that brings food to the ancestors in the underworld. In this way, the crow is a bird with an important mission that is indispensable, and the ill-will that people have on this bird is unfair from the crow’s point of view.


The pattern is the order and face of that era.

I know that you have written a lot of books on the history of patterns in general. From what point of view did you write the book?
There are two Chinese characters for ‘pattern’.
There are ‘紋樣’ and ‘文樣’. Literally, the word “pattern” has both the meaning of a pure ‘pattern’ and the meaning of ‘pictography’.
When I first published 「The History of Korean Patterns」 in 1983, the approach I took was in the direction of art style history. The patterns engraved on the relics act as records as they are.
It is not only an important criterion for organizing the year, but also an essential part of exploring the characteristics of our culture.
What would be the unique characteristics of our people that appear in traditional patterns?
The first thing I want to say is that the word ‘unique’ should not be abused when referring to a culture that is unique to a nation.
There is no such thing as purely ‘native’ to any culture. It is about accepting and passing on the surrounding culture in its own way for each region and each era.
In the case of Korea, the word ‘native’ is often more appropriate than ‘native’.

In the case of our people, the origin is often found in the belief of ‘bear’, which is influenced by the myth of the northern peoples and Dangun, but I think we should pay more attention to the image of the ‘sun’ and the ‘bird’ that symbolizes it.
Many images can also be found in the artifacts. The image of the sun also symbolizes Taegeuk and furthermore, the universe.
For example, I think the lotus flower pattern is also related to the original sun motif. However, looking at its use these days, it has become difficult to find the character of our culture in the pattern. There are many things whose original form has been destroyed.
Are you talking about the transformation of traditional patterns or modern expressions?
However, the patterns so far have not remained in a fixed form, but have changed from time to time?
Of course, it is true that even though the same pattern was expressed, it showed different appearances from time to time. However, it has only changed according to the material, the religion of the time, and the nature of the society.

Even if the same pattern is engraved on stone or painted on pottery, the technique is different, and there is always a shape that suits it. In other words, it is expressed with different degrees of abstraction and omission. Also, the pattern always moves with the social meaning it represents.
The lotus pattern seen during the flourishing and declining periods of Buddhism cannot be the same. But now the meaning itself has disappeared from the glyph. In the old days, it was unimaginable to have a pattern without meaning.
However, it seems difficult to see that the meaning has completely disappeared.
For example, in the case of a lucky sign that goes into hanbok or furniture, doesn’t the meaning of wishing for happiness live on?
It also happens because you don’t know the glyphs.
It seems that the ‘wearing hanbok’ movement, which was in full swing the other day, has rather abandoned the hanbok. It is not about putting every pattern in hanbok.
Has anyone ever put a pattern on a hanbok worn at any time in the past? It was specially engraved on the hanbok worn on holidays.
If you think it’s too much to ask for every single thing, why do you keep holidays like Lunar New Year’s Day or Chuseok? To be honest, the meaning of the holidays has disappeared a lot (laughs).
Also, if you watch historical dramas on TV these days, you’re using dishes that were used only for pottery in the past. The world has become difficult to distinguish between vessels from the grave and vessels used in real life.

Even if the meaning of the pattern is alive, it is as if it has disappeared if the meaning is misunderstood and used for its intended purpose.
It’s true, but it would be a little difficult to hope that you use all the meanings of the patterns in today’s world.
Perhaps the loss of meaning is a characteristic characteristic of the patterns of our time. Lastly, please tell us a little about the meaning of traditional patterns.
Glyphs are order. It is the face of that era. You can tell the era by looking at the patterns that appear on the ancient relics.
When the times get chaotic, the first thing that gets messy is the patterns. The old balance is disturbed and exaggerated forms appear.

The patterns seen in the Silla language are a good example. It can be seen that the harmony and unity of its heyday disappears, and deformed patterns that pursue only splendor appear.
Even when a nation is established and a culture is reorganized, it will always appear first in the pattern.

When we give and inherit various and rich meanings to patterns, our culture will be able to become more diverse and richer.


The mathematical prototype that appears in traditional patterns, ‘three’

Why did you have to make only three wishes when making a wish in an old story? The mountain spirits grant only three wishes, not two or four, and then disappear.
When you give out a pouch containing the solution to a problem, you have to choose three, and when choosing an ax that has fallen into a pond, you have to choose one out of three. Three seems too small for those of us who are trained to pick an answer out of four or five.
However, it is said that the original human sensibility regards less than three as incomplete and more than three as excessive.

Because ancient philosophers considered 1 and 2 to be the parent of all numbers, they considered 3 to be the first and oldest number prototype.
Since ancient times, Koreans’ attachment to the 3 is unusual. Dangun formed a trinity with Hwanin and Hwanung, and led a group of 3,000 men with three Cheonbuin to this land.

Heaven and Earth, March, Samji Day, Grandmother of the Three Gods, Samjak Norigae, Three Legs, Three-story Stone Pagoda, Three Buddhas… Even after having a child, he was most careful about three or seven days, he called for hurray three times, and even made a bet three times.
The prototype of the number and the door leading to another dimension beyond the borders of the two poles, that is the meaning of three.

Interest three-point sentence

The three-pointed three-point pattern, commonly seen in temples, has three dots forming a triangle and symbolizes the three treasures: Buddha, Dharma, and Victory.
This pattern, also called the circle three-point gate, symbolizes Buddhism along with the ten thousand characters, and symbolizes three in one order, one in one unfailingly, and one in a non-conceived way. It also contains the meaning of before and after).
In almost all religions, including the Christian Trinity and the Egyptian pyramids, the three, or triangle, appears as the most prominent symbol of divinity.

Three Mountain Gate

From an early age, people selected three of the many mountains to be sacred, and believed that gods and people lived there.
The most well-known three mountains are Mt. Bongrae, Mt. Bingjang, and Mt. Yeongju, which the Chinese talked about. Since they are located in the east, they are often considered to refer to Mt. Geumgang, Mt. Jiris, and Mt. Halla in Korea.
Also, in Silla, three mountains around the royal capital (Nahyeol, Osseohwa, and Hyeolrye) were designated to hold ancestral rites and considered it a great national event.
Samsanmun can be seen in blue and white porcelain from the Joseon Dynasty.

gold crown

According to the “Samil Shingo (三一神誥)”, if the five elements are expressed as symbols, yang corresponds to a circle, yin corresponds to a square, and the five elements correspond to a triangle.
The Silla gold crown from Seobongchong in Gyeongju has three horns in the shape of the letter ‘出’, which represent the yang, and combine with the deer antlers at the back to represent the yin to form the five elements, that is, a triangle.

In addition, the three horns (bird, deer, and tree) seen on the gold crown excavated from Geumgwanchong also show the world view of the Silla Dynasty. In other words, if the bird is the sky, the deer is the earth, and the tree as a medium connecting the sky and the earth is assumed to form a triangle as a whole.

Samjak Norigae

The norigae, which was loved by women while saving the beauty of the hanbok, is composed of various types, ranging from single to seven pieces, depending on the number of suits.
However, the most widely used among them was the tri-color norigae based on the three colors of red (紅), male (藍), and yellow (黃).

In the royal court, on special holidays such as Hangawi in August, weddings, and birthdays, the queen and the ladies who participate in the event all wore the samjak norigae.

Samjae (三災) amulet

The samjae (wind, water, fire) that periodically return to people stay for three years once they come.
In particular, it is said that the incoming and outgoing sun are dangerous, and the amulet to prevent them was called Samjaebu (三災符) and was attached to the doorpost or carried on the body.
In addition to the trinity eagle shown here, the trinity fish is also a regular customer who frequently appears in the samjae amulet.


clouds : sacredness. richness. harmony of nature. example. transcendence. Ganshin. Immigration Yangmyeong (Confucianism). Anguish, gratuitous (Buddhism)


Hwanin then gave Hwanung three heavenly women to rule the human world. Hwanung came down with a group of 3,000 men under the Sindansu at the top of Taebaeksan Mountain.
This place is called Shin City. And this person is called Hwanung Cheonwang.
He governed and edified the world by supervising more than 360 human affairs, including grain, longevity, disease, punishment, good and evil, under the leadership of Pungbaek (雨師) and Unsa (雲師).
– From 「The History of the Three Kingdoms」 Volume 1, Kii 1, from [Gojoseon Wanggeom Joseon]
Clouds are common and common in this land where the sky is wide and there are many mountains.

When the sky is high, it is high, when the mountain is low, it is low, and the clouds have been watching people’s lives since the beginning of this earth. (Yellow page.2-1-1)
Clouds are the ones that change in a thousand and ten thousand ways, so there could not be one or two shapes representing them.
First, clouds can be divided into realistic expressions and patterns. divided into, etc.
The yunun pattern represents the shape of a flowing cloud, and the fortune cloud pattern embodies the shape of scattered dots.
In addition, rain luck was developed from the Dragon Tang dynasty that occurred during the Warring States period and the Han dynasty in China, and expresses the appearance of clouds blown by the wind.

Wanjamun refers to the shape of a pattern with the character ‘卍’, an archaic expression of ‘萬’, which means work, and Boun is a flower-shaped cloud pattern under the influence of Boundangchomun (寶相唐草紋) in the West after Unified Silla. points to
Its meaning also varies from simply representing the sky, to symbolizing the heavenly realm, and to longevity as one of the ten longevity.
Among them, it can be said that it symbolizes the mystery of the heavenly world and at the same time has the strongest meaning as a tool with the ability to travel between heaven and earth.
Such is the case with the clouds appearing on the ceiling of the Goguryeo tomb murals, and the red cloud that the founder Haemosu, the founder of Bukbu Yeo, conceived Jumong with Yuhwa and returned to the sky, is also an example.
Since ancient times, people have looked at the clouds to understand the meaning of the sky, and fortunes of the year have been predicted through him.

They also prayed that the auspiciousness of the cloud would reach them by engraving the pattern on the vessels and clothes they used.
He learned the principles of life through the shape of clouds that seem to exist and not exist, and seem to have stopped yet flow.



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