May 19, 2024
KCNA Naenara (En)

Folk Game Associated with Wisdom of Korean People

Date: 18/04/2024 | Source: Naenara (En) | Read original version at source

Among the folk games of the Korean nation is yut game that showcases the wisdom and talents of the Korean people and reflects their recreational needs.

It is a recreational game in which players try to be the first to make all their pieces move around a board from hole to hole according to the total points made by a cast of four sticks.

It emerged by reflecting principles of natural and social phenomena in ancient times.

According to old books, the yut board consists of 29 holes, the central hole representing the Pole Star and the surrounding 28 holes meaning constellations around the ecliptic. The courses on the square board reflect the change of four seasons, that is, the shortest one involving 11 holes is tongji (winter solstice), those on diagonal lines are chunbun (vernal equinox) and chubun (autumnal equinox), and the longest one along the four sides of the board is haji (summer solstice). And the four sticks indicate cardinal points.

The name of the points reflected ancient official posts, namely joga , kuga , uga and maga , as well as the size and running rate of domestic animals which were widely bred at that time.

For example, to means swine worth one point, kae dog worth two points, kol sheep worth three points, yut or ssyung cattle worth four points, and mo horse worth five points. The cattle were instrumental in farming, hence the name of the game.

The game traced to the ancient times has been inherited onward.

The popularity of the yut game can be evidenced by a pattern similar to the yut board drawn on the chest of a figure carved on a rock in a tomb area in the period of Koguryo (277 BC–AD 668), and the two floor stones engraved with a yut board in the period of Koryo (918–1392) which were unearthed at Manwoltae in Kaesong City. The discovery of the yut board at the site of the royal palace clearly shows how popular the game was in that time.

The folk game, part of the national cultural heritage, is still widely played by the Korean people.

Im Sung Bin, associate professor, PhD and section chief of the Folklore Institute under the Academy of Social Sciences

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