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Korean Shamanist Ritual

by Daniel A. Kister


During his years of teaching literature and drama at Sogang University in Seoul, the author became attracted to Korean shamanist ritual, or kut, as a sophisticated form of drama that has power to transform the daily realities of participants' lives into events of spiritual significance.


Korean shamanism centers at least as much on the ritual dramatization of symbolic signs and on the community's belief in these signs as on the person of the shaman, or mudang. Without intending to undermine the importance of the mudang, this study focuses on the public dramatization of these symbols. It investigates the dynamics by which kut transform ordinary realities into freeing, harmonizing, objectifying signs of contract with the gods and spirits, who are believed to make their presence known at significant moments of life.


The author was one of the recipients of the award for excellence in shamanist research presented by the International Society for Shamanistic Research in 2004.

1997; reprinted 2006
189 pp., Index
ISBN: 978-0-89581-862-1

$25 - Softcover
$20 - eBook (
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