Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vernon Mooers writes

By Chongmyo Shrine  

Here the bell was rung thirty-three times to open/close the city gates. The temple sits at the front of small hotels; Buddha observes all. Outside, the shrine rings the park; is circled by singing bars.  The dance hostess does her tricks like a magician and the juggler wears his crown of thorns. In the killing fields, slaughter is a brutal art; animals have no remorse; drink the blood under fiery stars.

1 comment:

  1. Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine in Seoul dedicated to the perpetuation of memorial services for the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine that has been preserved, and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. The main buildings were constructed in 1394 when Taejo, the dynasty's first king, moved the capital to Seoul. It was probably the longest building in Asia. The Woldae Courtyard, 150x100m, is in front of the main hall, and musicians, dancers, and scholars performed Confucian rites, such as the Jongmyo Daeje (Royal Shrine Ritual), there five times a year, and these have been reconstructed and revived. Viewed from the throne at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jongmyo was on the king's left and Sajik, another Confucian shrine, on the right. The main hall, Jeongjeon, had seven rooms, each reserved for a king and his queen. The south gate was reserved for spirits to enter and exit, the east gate was for the king, and the west gate was for the performers of the royal ritual. King Sejong (r. 1418–50) added Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Comfort) and composed new music for the rituals based largely on hyangak ("indigenous/native music"),replacing the Chinese styles,
    though he retained some dangak ("Tang music"). A king's tablets were enshrined three years after his death, so the expansion had to continue, moving from west to east, until there were 19 rooms, housing tablets for 19 kings and 30 queens. In addition, a panel listed the accomplishments of each king. The structure was burned down by Japanese invaders in the 1590s, but a new complex, which still survives, was constructed in 1608; the tablets were safely hidden in a commoner's house. Jongmyo jeryeak, an elaborate performance of ancient court music (with accompanying dance), is performed there each May.


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