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Spirit of the Mountains

Publisher: , 1999
Link to online store *

From the back cover:

San-shin (Mountain-spirit, Mountain-god or Spirit of the Mountains) is not yet very well-known in the world, despite being the most central and characteristic figure in traditional Korean culture. It remains uniquely Korean, although depicted with imported Chinese artistic motifs, which are clearly explained in this volume.

Its various cultural roles and manifestations are described, with photos of San-shin icons and their shrines from all over South Korea, pointing out their various common and unique religious & artistic characteristics.  The various connection and relationships of San-shin with Korea’s six major philosophical / religious / ideological traditions — Buddhism, Shamanism, Confucianism, Daoism, Nationalism and Christianity — are fully explored.

The other deities and symbols which share paintings and shrines with San-shin are briefly introduced, to shed further light on its identity.  Contrary cases of contemporary opposition to San-shin and the potential roles of mountain-worship in 21st-century Korean culture (national identity, ecological protection and re-unification) are discussed to provide deeper perspectives.

This book is the most comprehensive study ever published on Korea’s ancient mountain-worship traditions, in any language.  The author hopes that it will introduce San-shin to a global audience.

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* 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.