A Study on the Time Perception System of Korean Myths Viewed through Shamanic Epics

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Cho H.

Journal of Korean National Language and Literature, vol.52, pp.283-304, 2014 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


The objective of this study was to present the world view of Korean myths through explaining the archetypal time perception system of Korean myths. For this purpose, this study examined the perception of time in the beginning through creation myth ‘Chonjiwangbonpuri’ and revealed the space‐dependent nature of time. The space‐dependent nature of time is represented well through the configuration of ‘Wonchongang’ in ‘Wonchongangbonpuri’. However, the configuration of ‘Wonchongang’ not only reveals the space‐dependent nature of time but also provides a clue to the density of time according to spatial allocation. Simply speaking, the origin point of time is allocated to a space of high narrative importance, and marginal points are allocated to a space of relatively low importance. This principle was confirmed through the analysis of ‘Baridegi’. Through the analysis of folktales whose stories tell, “Time files when you’re having fun,” it was found that the density of time goes up or down depending on the effect of the main character’s acts on his life. Such a discussion on the time perception system is meaningful not only as a ground work for understanding the world view of Korean myths but also as an effort to establish an indicator for recognizing crucial phases of mythical narratives based on the time flow of narrative spaces in analyzing mythical narratives. As an issue related to contents, furthermore, it may provide a meaningful frame for ‘contemporary representation of myths’.