THE MYTH OF TANGUN WANGGEOM

Tangun is a Korean deity, Tangun means “High Priest” and Wanggeom means “King” and is considered the founder of the Korean Choson Kingdom. The official year of his founding of this kingdom is 2333 BC.

His story is told in Samguk yusa, by the Buddhist monk Iryon. This text was written during the Mongol invasion of Korea and contains the history of the 3 Korean kingdoms: Koguryeo, Paekche and Silla, including Kaya, or a Japanese confederation (also known by the Japanese name of Mimana), which is found on the Korean Peninsula.

The son of Hwanin (deity of Heaven), Hwanung, wanted to live among men. Hwanin complied with his request and gave his son the three heavenly treasures (a mirror, a sword and a magatama) and 3,000 men to command.

Magatama are curved pearls of various materials (jade, agate, quartz).

Hwanung descended to Earth, under a sandal tree, on the summit of Mount Taebaek and named that place Sinsi (“the city of God”). He taught his followers the art of agriculture and breeding, medicine and laws.

In those days, he met a bear and a tiger. The two animals had a desire to become human beings. Hwanung agreed to their request, only if they were able to pass a test, that is to spend 21 days with a bunch of mugwort and 20 cloves of garlic, inside a cave. After 21 days, only the bear managed to pass the test. The latter, however, once transformed into a human being, had another desire. Having a child. The bear-woman married Hwanung and from their union TANGUN was born.

When Tangun became an adult, he arrived in Pyongyang, he gave his kingdom the name of Choson. He moved his capital to Asadal, on Mount Taebaek and ruled there for 1500 years. Until, the king of the Chinese dynasty Wu of Zhou, once he came to power, invested Kija with the title of king of Choson.

Kija was a descendant of the Chinese Shang dynasty. When the Zhou overthrew the power of the Shang in 1122BC, Kija refused to serve as Zhou’s new ruler, flees south to Korea and becomes ruler of Choson.

Tangun was forced to move elsewhere, only to secretly return to Asadal where he was finally invested with the title of divinity at the age of 1908.

FEATURES ON THE MYTH OF TANGUN

-the tan character means sandalwood altar

-the bear: sacred animal in Korea

-the tiger: animal of Korean folklore

TAEJONGGYO: It is the religion that professes the cult of Tangun.

MAUSOLEUM OF TANGUN

The Tangun Mausoleum is a pyramid-shaped burial complex, located on the slope of Mount Taebaek, near Pyongyang (North Korea).

According to Kim Il Sung, ex-leader of North Korea, he established that Tangun was not just a legend, but a real person.

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