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Korean Mask Dance Dramas: Their History and Structural Principles

Translated by:
Publisher: , 2005
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

The Korean mask dramas have been performed by professional or non-professional players from among the common people over a long time. To correctly understand the mask dramas, both historical investigation through research materials and folkloristic investigation through field study are necessary.

The author, an initiate of Bukcheongsaja-nori, a representative Korean mask drama, has attained remarkable results by conducting historical investigations through research materials based on an abundant number of field studies. He attempts to obtain a comprehensive understanding of Korean mask dramas by even using the results of research by North Korea’s folklorists made after Liberation in 1945. He not only interprets existing research materials afresh and in an exact fashion, but also makes the most of research materials which have only been discovered recently. He thus provides a clean-cut answer to the problem of the origin of Korean mask drama which has aroused much controversy among scholars in this field.

This book consists of ten chapters and contains the script of Bongsan-talchum, a Korean mask drama, and photographs of performances. The main text deals with the masks of Korea and other countries, examines the functions and meanings of the masks and looks into the distribution and features of Korean mask dramas, the performers and the history of each mask dramas in detail. The author explains the expressive principles and aesthetics revealed in the speeches of mask dramas which adopt the use of dialect, proverbs, etc., the principles of formation of songs in mask dramas, and their theatrical principles.

Jeon Kyung-wook (1959- ) majored in Korean Language Education and is Professor at Korea University. As well as being an expert on Korean mask dance dramas he is also a performer of a Korean lion dance drama.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.