Performing Scriptures: Ritualizing Written Texts in Seolwi-seolgyeong, the Korean Shamanistic Recitation of Scriptures
Yohan Yoo [+]
Seoul National University
Rituals frequently manipulate material scriptures while also expressing their contents using words and images. It is less common for recitation rituals to also physically reproduce scriptures on the spot in writing and graphic displays. In the first essay, Yohan Yoo describes one set of rituals that does so: shamanistic rituals of scripture reading and reproduction in North and South Chungcheong Provinces, South Korea. In contrast to shamanistic practices in other parts of Korea, here their principle ritual activity involves seated recitation of scriptures while also writing key names and cutting out symbols derived from the scriptures on paper banners. Ritualizing the expressive and iconic dimensions of formerly Daoist and Buddhist scriptures in this way is believed to invoke the gods’ presence, drive away demons, and bring healing to the sponsors of the rituals.