Korean Funeral Ceremony

People go through many rites of passage in their lives. There are customs, weddings, funerals, ancestral rites, and various ceremonies, but each rite has its own procedure. Procedures consist of actions that add meaning to the ceremony or put the participants’ minds into it. These actions are often symbolic, and the clothes and tools used during the rites show that they contain human origins.

Funeral rites are the last ceremonies a person performs. What is different from other rituals is that the main person becomes an object, not a subject. The dead cannot drink or sing. He can’t dance and he can’t cry. You can’t do anything about consciousness for yourself. Therefore, it is safe to say that funeral rites are the rituals of the remaining people.

A bier is a tool used to enshrine the dead to the burial site in the process of holding a funeral ceremony. It is a palanquin on the way from this world to the next world. It is an expression of the sad will of the remaining people who have not been able to fulfill their promise to burn a palanquin on the road to the underworld. Like this, the bier has many decorations.

Depending on circumstances, the sangju may raise the bier to the second or third floor and make it in the shape of a pavilion. At the top of the bier, a ridge was raised with blue and yellow dragons. In the center of the ridge of the ridge, a figure riding Haetae was made and decorated. Dongbangsak is a grim reaper and is said to play a role in enshrining the dead in a good place. Kkokdu, Dongja, Dongja, servants, and maids were placed on the top of the ridge. Birds of paradise, phoenixes, and goblins were also drawn. They protect the dead from evil spirits and assist the dead on their way.

There are musicians who play musical instruments and Gwandae Kkokdu who perform tricks. Akgong is a model holding a daegeum, gaegwari, sogo, nabal, and bara. Gwandae Kkokdu is a model of a person who is a talented person who performs somersaults or makes people laugh with humorous movements and takes charge of traditional music or sings. In addition to the figures, there are also animal puppets. It is a bird or an animal, and the chicken is a role in chasing evil spirits because it announces the dawn, and the chicken crest symbolizes the crest.

Bonuses have a series of matrices. Mr. Bang Sang (方相氏) drives out the ghosts from the front and guides Young-gu. Next is Myeongjeong (銘旌), a flag on which the rank, official position, and surname of the deceased are recorded in white letters on a dark red background. Next, Yeong-yeo, a palanquin that enshrines the soul, follows, followed by a chuk-gwan (祝官) who reads a congratulatory message holding a gong (功布). Horror is the burlap cloth that is used to wipe the coffin when it is buried. The bier follows, and the shovels go side by side on the left and right. The shovel is a fan made of wood, containing the wish to guide the soul of the dead to a good place.

“If I go now, when will it come?
(they collectively sing together and it seems like a crying sound)

On the way to Bukmangsancheon, leave all your lingering feelings behind and go, uhhh~ Deheya”

The sound of the bier is sung by the yoreungjap (catfish sound), and the bier bearer responds with a chorus (sound behind the scenes). The lyrics were not fixed, so they improvised and sang according to the deceased.

The bier repeats going and standing. When they meet the bridge, they stop again, the sender cannot bear to let go, and the departing dead cannot bear to leave.


Crying Object

Sometimes I feel the emotions of things.

Those objects do not speak to humans, but their presence gives me a certain feeling. The invisible story of how things are used and discarded in human society can be understood just by being near them. Every time I pass the pottery tomb, where abandoned pottery is buried, I can sense the emotions of the broken pottery. Perhaps, it’s because I can identify with them at some point. They don’t cry out loud. They just remain there silently and are buried with time. To me, the act of crying is not necessarily the fact that water comes out of the body and the body trembles. Every day, just existing, endures the weight of life and embraces all kinds of emotions. The pottery, formed from clay and eventually discarded after it has run out of life, returns to clay again and repeats itself infinitely. In the same time as eternity, I silently look at the clay lumps, crying, and the vessels that are losing their original shape.

I used the broken bowls to serve food and give them a new purpose, hoping to breathe new life into them for a while. These are also human-oriented emotions and actions, but through this, I try to project and heal myself by connecting to those objects, even a little bit.