What is the Mask Dance of Bongsan (봉산탈춤)?
It has been handed down in Bongsan-gun, Hwanghae Province since the end of the 19th century. That’s why “Bongsan” is included in the name. 봉산탈춤 was designated as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage No.17 on June 17, 1967.
The mask dance refers to a play by one or several people with a mask covering their face or head, disguising themselves as other characters, such as animals or supernatural beings (gods), and performing acts like dancing and reciting lines. It was done in all regions of Korea until the early Joseon Dynasty.
The performance mainly shows :
– the poor life of ordinary people
– satire on Yangban (the ruling class) and apostate Buddhist monks
– men’s tyranny against women due to polygamy
Some mask cultures around the world
A cultural festival celebrating traditional African masks,
called International Festival of Masks and the Arts (FESTIMA)
Topeng, a representative mask play in Java and Bali, Indonesia