Korea – Indonesia Joint Stamp Issue on Folk Plays

\"korea-indonesiaKorea and Indonesia jointly issued a set of stamps to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between both the countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973, the two countries have expanded their cooperative efforts in diverse areas, such as politics, economy and culture. In particular, the establishment of a strategic partnership in 2006 led to a great leap in bilateral relationsThe stamps featuring two of the countries’ folk plays: Korea’s “Bukcheong Lion Play” and Indonesia’s “Bantengan.”

“Bukcheong Lion Play” is a folk play which employs the use of lion masks and has been performed in Bukcheong county, South Hamgyeong province in North Korea on Daeboreum (the day of the first full moon of the lunar year). It was originally performed as an event to turn away evil spirits and to pray for the village’s peace, under the belief that lions had the power to repel odious demons. In this region, each village played with their own distinctively decorated lions, and naturally competed with each other. As a mask play that has been widely established as a folk play since the period of the Three Kingdoms, Bukcheong Lion Play was bequeathed to the Seoul area by performers who defected to South Korea after the Korean War. Centered around wonderful acrobatic feats and gaiety, Bukcheong Lion Play is characterized by more elaborate and powerful movements than those of other lion dances.

Originating from “Banteng” which means, bull, Bantengan is a play rooted around the Java area of east Indonesia. In this play, two people dance, wearing black, cow masks, under the belief that the cow representing power, justice and prosperity repels the tiger and monkey representing evil. Closely related with this area’s agricultural culture, Bantengan was enacted by tenant farmers in nearby villages, who got together to perform. Since 2008, Bantengan has been performed as an annual event in Batu, Java area. In this event, all the Bantengan groups converged to show a splendid parade.

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