See and Hear: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead

Last month, Asia Society welcomed shaman Park Miouk, the daughter of the legendary Park Byung-Chun, for a moving performance of Ssitkimkut, the traditional Korean ritual for the dead. A program that includes singing, dancing, live musical accompaniment, and ritual movements, the ceremony builds a bridge between the world of the living and the dead, cleanses the soul of the deceased and allows them to pass cleanly onto the next existence, and provides a sense of closure for those who remain in the land of the living. Joined on stage by musicians and dancers, Park Miouk conducted the same ceremony that her father first introduced to the U.S., at Asia Society, in 1994.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the evening, as well as complete video of the performance.

Offerings on stage at Ssitkimkut, the Korean shaman ritual of the dead at Asia Society New York
Offerings for the deceased on stage during Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York, May 18, 2018. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Shaman Park Miouk on stage during Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York
Shaman Park Miouk. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead
Ssitkimkut artistic director and ajaeng (zither) player Lee Tae Baek. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York
Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead in performance at Asia Society New York, May 18, 2018. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Dancer at Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York
Dancer Sue-Yoen Park performs as part of Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York, May 18, 2018. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Park Miouk performs Ssitkimkut at Asia Society New York
Park Miouk on stage during Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York, May 18, 2018. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York
Untying the knots that bind the dead to the world of the living. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)
Ssitkimkut: The Korean Shaman Ritual of the Dead at Asia Society New York
The completion of the bridge and conclusion of the ritual of Ssitkimkut. (Maria Baranova/Asia Society)

Watch a complete video of the performance: