Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Goseong Ogwangdae Masked Dance

When it was still warm out, I attended a free masked performance in downtown Seoul. Having already attended a Hahoe mask performance down in Andong, I had some idea of the basic structure of Korean masked dances. A brochure was provided, but unfortunately was only in Korean and Japanese. I would have to be a careful observer to try and figure things out. As in the Hahoe mask performance, the Goseong Ogwandae (from the southern coast of Korea) masked dance is broken up into distinct scenes - five in total. Ogwandae indicates that five clowns appear in the play. Like the Hahoe mask performance, Goseong Ogwandae is rather satirical and pokes fun at certain people in society. Goseong indicates the region of Korea where it originated, located by the southern coast. Originally, the Goseong Ogwandae was performed on the first lunar month of the year, but later it was danced in the spring and summer.  
Unlike the masks of the Hahoe in Andong which were constructed out of wood, these masks were papier mâché. The Goseong masks appeared to me to be less refined and simpler.

The first scene is known as the Mundung clown dance, so named as the noble descendant the was suffering from mundung disease (leoprosy). Both angry and sad for not being able to succeed in life, the nobleman complains that his disease is the result of his ancestors' sins.

Read more about the Goseong Ogwandae and other masked dances of Korea at

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