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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Гора Пэктусан в XVII-XVIII вв.: пограничная, недостижимая, священная

С. 183-188.

"White-Head Mountain" is the literal translation of the toponym "Paektusan" or “Mt. Paektu”. This mountain is the highest point of the Korean peninsula; potentially an active volcano, located on the border of the DPRK and China. It is important not only as a significant natural object, but also as a sacred land, a special territory. According to my research, this "status" the mountain received relatively recently: only in the second half of the 18th century, during the reign of the king Yǒngjo (1724 – 1776). I argue that Mt. Paektu acquires its special significance in the 18th century in connection with the changes in spatial representations in Korea and the formation of an opposition "one's own" − "someone else's", where by "else" the culture of the neighboring "barbarous" Manchu empire Qing was meant. Among the reasons of these changes are the Imjin War (1592 – 1598), the formation of ethnic identity and the fall of the Chinese Ming empire. Korea, losing Qing in military power and on the war fields, chose cultural resistance through ritual and the semiotic system appealing to the values of native history, literature and culture. Based on the chronicle “Chosǒn Wangjo Sillok”, on the geographic maps and descriptions of the lands made in the XVII – XVIII Centuries, I trace down the dynamics of terms and event changes connected to Mt. Paektu: from the meeting place with the Ming ambassadors to the “sacred land”, where state rituals were held.