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2. Research

2.1. The Role of Mask Dance in Korean Cultural Properties

The Hahoe mask is the wooden mask selected as Korean national treasure No.121, made during the Koryo dynasty. The Hahoe mask has become the legendary mas- terpiece in the world of the mask arts due to its unique carving technique and facial expression at that time. One of the outstanding points makes the Hahoe mask unique is that it enables us to show our ancestor’s various facial expressions. Because the Hahoe mask consists of two linked parts - a face and a chin with strings, it has dif- ferent expressions depending on the angles from which it is viewed. It contains our ancestor’s mind and personalities with various expressions. For instance, it can be viewed with a bright smile when the face moves upward and it also can be shown sad with emotion when the face moves downward.

During the research, I discovered that three of Hahoe masks disappeared in for un- known reasons. Originally, fourteen Hahoe masks were created. Today, there are only ten kinds of masks in existence.These masks were managed in the Korean national Museum until now. The six plays include the Mudong play, the Chuji play, the Paek- chong play, the Halmi play, the Pagyesung play and the Yangban & Sunbi play. <Fig- ure1.>

The Hahoe mask dances have three major meanings for the next generation. First, the Hahoe mask dances reflected the unfairness of the social system between the noble and the common class through satire. These dances have been the greatest way to naturally observe social structures at that time. Second, the Hahoe mask dances had played the very important role connecting with each level of social system, and as a result, these dances had become a powerful force for maintaining social structure. The humble and common people could release their discontent created by the un- fairness of their social class and sublime their emotions into the dance movements. Lastly, the village culture had transferred strongly and united them in a ritual dancing ceremony. These dances can play prominent roles in uniting the world in educational and cultural purposes today. Based on my research, I chose to develop the Hahoe mask dance into a multimedia project to preserve our cultural collections and to fur- ther support these roles.

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Storytelling of the Hahoe Mask

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