When I travel, I always think there will be more free time than actually materializes. I thought I would have time for long, leisurely blogging about my visit to Korea. I have many notes and many thoughts, few of which have made it through my fingers to this Blog. It's okay. Right now I am trying to relish the moments and the people. Some of these experiences will eventually make their way to words, but others may slumber for another time.
One discovery that I cherish is Namsadang and the newly sculpted figures in Anseong that celebrate this entertainment and art genre. Apparently the film The King and the Clown (Wang-eui Nam-ja) is narrated through the context of Namsadang, so I look forward to seeing that film which apparently has had lasting impact on Koreans. It seems clear that effotrs such this are awakening many to the rich heritage and past of a country that is distinctively different from its Asian neighbors despite some obvious practices they share through interaction over centuries.
Namsadang (Namsadang Nori) represents a traveling group of entertainers much in the spirit of Commedia dell'arte that flourished as a traveling troupe of acrobats, dancers, and actors in Italy in the 1500s. The sculpted figures at Anseong convey the spontaneity and energy of this practice that has as its primary aim to entertain, and through the invention and imagination of its makers has risen to the status of a national art. These figures were installed this past July, so they have been a public fixture for about a month. They make an exciting contribution to Anseong and performance heritage of Namsadang.