Hand Carved Colorful Wood Korean Mask Bongsan Tal Nojang Monk
This is the mask of Nojang, an old Buddhist monk who has devoted his life to prayer. Nojang is a central figure who appears in the apostate monk act of Bongsan Talchum. Talchum is a traditional Korean mask dance play.
The Bongsan talchum is one of Korea's most representative mask dances. Composed of seven acts, the Bongsan talchum is an outdoor play ("madanggeuk" in Korean) that consists of dance, music and dramatic dialogue. In the madanggeuk, there is no clear distinction between the stage and audience members who intervene freely in the play. This unbounded interaction between the audience and the actors makes the madanggeuk a very unique traditional performing art in Korea as well as throughout the world. The main character of Bongsan talchum is Malttugi, a servant of a yangban (upper-class) family. The yangban class, renegade Buddhist monks, and tyrannical and patriarchal men are mocked and satirized throughout the performance, giving a voice to the difficulties suffered by the commoner class as well as their will for resistance. These are views that were difficult, if not impossible, for them to express in "real" life.