National Intangible Cultural Heritage—“Legends of Mt Paektu”
Since ancient times, the Korean ancestors created many legends admiring Mt Paektu (2 750m) as the sacred mountain associated with the history and spirit of Tangun’s nation.
Among them are a legend “Sosono” which shows that, as Tongmyong, founder-king of Koguryo (277 B.C.-A.D. 668), was gifted with the mettle of Mt Paektu, the ancestral mountain of Korea, the foundations for building a powerful country which existed nearly for a thousand years were created, and a legend “In search of land of ancestors” whose storyline is that Palhae, the successor to Koguryo, was founded relying on Mt Thaebaek (Mt Paektu).
Other legends “Sword in the Lake Chon” and “An iron stake not driven into the ground” show that a great man who will lead the Korean nation will surely appear and that the vein of the nation will never break.
The legends reflect the national pride praising the magnificent, spectacular and mysterious scenery of the mountain as the superb scenic beauty.
“Tiger rock” says that a dragon of Lake Chon of Mt Paektu which was soaring skyward came back to Piru Peak as it was reluctant to leave the beautiful mountain before turning itself into a rock. “Coral reef rock” says that a coral reef in the Palace of the Dragon King turned into a rock after it came to drink the clear water of Lake Chon as it was fascinated by its beauty.
Such legends reflect the Korean people’s aspiration and desire to praise the unique and beautiful scenery of Mt Paektu.
“Palace of the Dragon King under Lake Chon” says that one’s eyes get brighter if he or she washes his or hers with the water of Lake Chon. “Thunder over Lake Chon” says that the Japanese pirates who came up to Mt Paektu ran away as they were stupefied by the ever-changing natural wonders of volcano on Lake Chon.
There are other legends which praise the ecstasy and wonders of Lake Chon on Mt Paektu.
Those legends were registered as national intangible cultural heritage in November last year.