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UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (Ssireum)
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information on Korean stamp
Date of Issue : 2020.10.08
Types : 2
Denomination : 380 won
Design :
Stamp No. : 3462
Printing Process
& Colors
: null
Size of Stamp : 52 × 24
: (2 × 4) + 2
Image Area : 52 × 24
Paper : null
Perforation : 14.6x14.55
Printer : POSA
Designer : Park,Eun-kyung
Quantity : null
Ssireum is a traditional folk game and sport of Korea in which two people, each grabbing the satba (belt made of long cotton cloth) wrapped around the other contestant’s thigh and waist, contend for victory by forcing the opponent to the ground with his strength and skill. Korean ancestors have created communities wherein people unite and harmonize through ssireum. South and North Korea decided to jointly agreed to inscribe `ssireum` (also spelled `ssirum`) on the Representative List of the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for the first time in the 13th Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Port Louis, Mauritius on November 26, 2018. Korea Post is issuing the commemorative stamp Ssireum to commemorate this achievement. Traces of ssireum can be discovered in many historical relics from Goguryeo murals to Joseon genre paintings. Academics postulate that ssireum occurred naturally as an equal form of exercise and a folk game that everyone could enjoy regardless of status after people began to live by forming societies. Gakjeochong tombs from Goguryeo built in the mid-fifth century shows two people competing for power in a round of ssireum. This shows that ssireum was already prevalent in the Three Kingdoms period. It is recorded in Goryeosa, where ssireum first appeared, that `the king left the country`s important matters to disloyal subjects Baejeon and Juju, and enjoyed ssireum with Naesu day after day` in the year of King Chunghye`s accession (1330). It`s possible to look for records about ssireum in Joseon Wangjo Sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty), Seungjeongwon Ilgi (Diary of the Royal Secretariat) and Seokbosangjeol (biography of Gautama Siddhartha) along with Admiral Yi Sun-sin`s Nanjung Ilgi (War Diary) during the Joseon period. Ssireum also became more popularized as the sport was presented as Dano`s premier custom in such seasonal custom books of the late Joseon period as Gyeongdojapji (Customs of the Capital) and Dongguksesiki (A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea). The Joseon Ssireum Association was inaugurated on November 27, 1927 despite Japan`s suppression, and after liberation, ssireum was adopted as a regular event of the Korean National Sports Festival by the Korea Ssireum Association as an affiliated organization of the Korean Olympic Committee. Today ssireum remains in existence, revolving around the Korea Ssireum Association. South and North Korea presented their respective applications for ssireum`s cultural heritage inscription in March 2016 and March 2015; the inter-Korean joint inscription was discussed for the first time during the Korean-French summit in October 2018, and then a full-blown push for the joint inscription began as a UNESCO envoy was sent to Pyongyang. UNESCO explained the reason of the joint inscription by stating: “Despite some differences in modern ssireum terminology and competition methods, South and North Korean ssireum has socio-cultural commonalities, and we decided on the joint inscription for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.` With this could South and North Korea jointly inscribe ssireum on the list of UNESCO`s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity under the official title of `Traditional Korean wrestling (Ssirum / Ssireum).` The commemorative stamps consist of big stamps featuring dynamic belly throw skills against the backdrop of painter Danwon Kim Hong-do`s `Ssireum,` and small stamps depicting thrilling flip techniques. We hope these newly issued stamps will allow you to ruminate over the meaning of the folk game of ssireum that excites and invigorates both players and audiences alike.