UNESCO World Heritage in Gyeonggi-do (Intangible Cultural Heritage)

The two representative intangible cultural heritage in Korea, Pansori and Jultagi, are well preserved, valued, and in development in Gyeonggi-do.


The term “Pansori” refers to a place where many people gather and sing. Presumed to have originated from songs by shamans in the southwestern part of Korea in the 17th century, Pansori is a genre performed by one singer and one drummer. This popular tradition encompasses both the culture of intellectuals as well as the common people. A typical performance lasts for up to eight hours.

Being related to clowns, Pansori is unique as it encourages the active participation of singers and audience members. Pansori has been handed down as an oral tradition among the common people, but it became more refined with literary content by the end of the 19th century. The background, characters, and situations that make up Pansori performances are rooted in the Joseon Dynasty, with singers going through intense and extensive training to learn the unique tones and memorize the complex contents of the genre.
Pansori depicts the reality of the common people, which made it possible to be enjoyed by all classes
With rapid modernization, however, Pansori faded to the point of disappearance. Therefore, in 1964, the Korean government designated Pansori as Important Intangible Cultural Property.

The Pansori tradition was handed down in a wide area encompassing Jeolla-do, Chungcheong-do, and Gyeonggi-do. In the beginning of Pansori, the length of each story was not so long, and there were twelve of them. But as the stories became longer, only five stories remained with values of the Joseon Dynasty, such as loyalty, filial piety, and chastity. Pansori represents the harmony of joys and sorrows in Korean culture, and all five Pansori yards have been designated and protected as important intangible cultural properties.

Pansori depicts the lives of the common people, revealing the reality of the underprivileged, but also expressing hope for a new society. Because Pansori was enjoyed by all classes, it played a role in social integration.

In the late Joseon Dynasty, a great singer named Yeomgyedal appeared in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do. There may be questions about how such great Pansori masters emerged from Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, when pansori masterpieces were usually produced in Jeollado. The performances in the late Joseon Dynasty, however, commonly took place at festivals, government offices, villages, and a variety of feasts. With the development of such performances and performing groups, many master singers were produced in Gyeonggi-do. However, the tradition of Pansori in Gyeonggi-do almost completely vanished with modernization, and only the "Deoneum" has been handed down to the modern era.

Jultagi (Tightrope Walking)

Jultagi is a performance that displays various physical feats in tandem with interesting stories on a bare line in the air. In most countries, people only focus on acrobatics when it comes to tightrope walking. However, as traditional Korean performing art, Jultagi is unique in that an acrobat and a clown exchange jokes with musical accompaniment. For this reason, Jultagi is performed outdoors. Jultagi acrobats can perform as many as 40 tightrope walking skills over a span of hours.

Jultagi was developed in two lines during the Joseon Dynasty. One, consisting purely of tightrope walking, was mainly performed for the aristocrats, while the other was performed for the common people with jokes and entertainment.
Jultagi is a Korean traditional outdoor performance that displays various physical feats in tandem with interesting stories 
These days, Jultagi training in Korea is coordinated by a Jultagi preservation association in Gyeonggi-do. There are two types of training: apprenticeship education in which masters teach trainees from a young age, and public education through various formats such as classroom lessons, performance classes, and summer camps.



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Gyeonggido-Korea (경기도): UNESCO World Heritage in Gyeonggi-do (Intangible Cultural Heritage)
UNESCO World Heritage in Gyeonggi-do (Intangible Cultural Heritage)
The two representative intangible cultural heritage in Korea, Pansori and Jultagi, are well preserved, valued, and in development in Gyeonggi-do.
Gyeonggido-Korea (경기도)
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