Saturday, June 18, 2011

Donghwasa Temple in Palgong-San Provincial Park

Enjoying iced coffee and waiting to depart on our morning expedition, we were greeted by Dr. Park's Art Department colleagues who shared with us the work of design students. We discovered this feminist role reversal of classic advice for women: here men were advised not to dominate conversations, not expect women to take their collect phone calls and dress better, among other advice.
This temple complex, currently maintained and including an active monastery as well as a lay community, is located on Palgong-San (Mt. Palgong), a beautiful mountain, which is offered views all the way from the early road up along the stream. We walked up the road to the complex, and received the services of a guide, translation courtesy of Ryu Seesook who had driven us to the park. We learned this was the site of numerous strategy sessions and meetings of administrators and rulers during invasions, notably during the Imjin War in the late 16th C. Built in 493 CE, it has been rebuilt 8 times. A powerful site, the makkukiko's tap can be heard far down the mountain during chanting. The complex contains a number of buildings and halls, including one for the spirit of the mountain, pictured by an elder man and a tiger, there to protect the mountain. The guardians of the four directions are at the gate and there are soundmakers for living things in the four elements: earth or underground(bell), air (clouds), water (fish), and the drum for creatures living on the earth's surface. A large fountain provides mountain spring water. We learned that the imagery for the buildings as trees comes from the columns or pillars as massive tree trunks, painted reddish like the pine trees surrounding the temple, and the roof lines being painted in green and blue, like the leaves. The phoenix is the dominant image of the temple and there are many skilled images of the phoenix and her eggs. We wrote a wish on a tile, to donate to the upkeep. These will be integrated into the roofs as needed.

We enjoyed a potluck picnic by our hosts the Daegu artists, which included many jun and water kimchi, some small French style sandwiches and fresh fruit. Our host, a friend of Dr. Park's runs a small preschool nearby in the area, which we sould call suburbia. However, there are constant agricultural activities from rice fields to vegetable plots and even this amazing sculpture installation of figures made of straw. It was a very pleasant visit to the country.


Noel said...

Great pictures! I love the market and am very jealous.

So Jim, can we expect you be to "dressing better" when you get back?

Noel said...

Thanks for sending link. I love the market pictures - I love markets in general.

So Jim, does this mean you will "dress better" when you get back?