HOME | Contact Us | Sitemap
Buddhist dances are performed with Pompae and are divided roughly into four; Baramu [cymbals dance], Nabimu[butterfly dance], Beopgomu[drum dance], Tajumu[similar dance to Nabimu]. Vocal devotion toward Buddha's greatness and performance devotion by means of dances do not have any solid records on their origin. There are a couple of tales on its account. One says that monks imitated Gaseop, who had worn a knowing smile and had danced in response when Buddha had preached the Lotus Sutra at Mt. Yeongchwi and had showed him a flower in four heavenly colors. Another says, when Jo Jageon (=Jo Sik) of China climbed on a mountain there came a strange sound from Brahma-Deva, and many fish danced to the sound. Pompae was composed similar to the sound and monk dances were made similar to the movements of fish. It is not certain when buddhist dances began to be performed as a part of religious ceremonies. Gamro-tanghwa[buddhist painting] at Yeongdan (Gamrodan) shows buddhist dances, which were Yukbeop-gongyang toward Buddha and prayers for the heavenly souls for their return to lives in heaven. However, buddhist dance was prohibited by the rule of Japanese Government General of Korea as well as Pompae, and went downhill even after the Independence because of the dispute in Korean Buddhism. Presently, only few temples such as Bongwonsa, Baekryeonsa, Anjeongsa of Korean Taego Buddhist Order continue its tradition.

Name of Dances
Baramu Gasa


Taejing, drum, wooden gong

Bara[cymbals], drum, Samhyeon, Yukgak

Cheonsu-bara, Sadarani-bara, Hwauijae-bara, Gwan-yoksoe-bara, Naerimge-bara, Yojap-bara, Myeongbal
Nabimu Yuksu-jangsam Taejing, drum, wooden gong

Chwitaak, amhyeon, Yukgak

Hyanghwage, Unsimge, Sangwiui, Ogongyang, Guwon-geopjung, Doryangge, Dage, Jagwibul, Mandara, Sabangyosin, Jeongrye, Guigyeong, Moranchan, Samnamtae, Daegak-seokgajon
Tajumu Yuksu-jangsam
Gwangsoe at Sikdang-Jakbeop

Taejing and Samhyeon

Yukgak, chwitaak

dance movements during Sikdang-jakbeop

such as Gwangsoe sound after Dangjwachang at Sikdang-jakbeop

<Sometimes Tajumu is classified into the same category with Nabimu>

Beopgomu Gasa-jangsam


Taejing,wooden gong,drum,chwitaak,Samhyeon,Yukgak, Dances which are harmonized with instruments

Nabimu [Butterfly Dance]

In Nabimu [butterfly dance] the costume which is long sleeved white robe with floor touching length, and a red ribbon is tied to keep in position of colorful Yeongja drapes on either side of body, front and back. Accompanied with a Gokkal[pagoda shaped head covering], its beauty attracts the audiences. As the Eojang monk declares the opening, saying "Chakpok sohasipsiyo[do Chakpok]," the monks move lightly like a flying butterfly and dance to the Beomeum sound of Eojang monk and the rhythm of Taejing. There are solo dance called Hyangnabichum, duo dance called Ssangnabichum [duo butterfly dance], and quintet dance called Ohyaengnabichum [five Hyaengnabi dance]. In Ohyaengnabi dance four monks dance in each of four directions and one dances in the center. To dance Nabimu both arms are stretched straight a little above the each shoulder, and whenever both hands are closed or gathered they should be at higher position than belly button. Every movement is slow and slight and never flippant, with constant gazing of tip of nose. Foot shapes always letter "J" in each step and left knee supports high the right one in case of knee bending movements. There are 16 kinds of Nabimu, they are Hyanghwage, Unsimge, Samgwiui, Moranchan, Ogongyang, Guwon-geopjung, Doryangge, Dage, Guigyeong, Samnamtae, Jagwibul, Mandara, Sabangyosin, Jeongrye, Jiokge and Daegakseokgajon. At Yeongsanjae of Bongwonsa[temple] Ohyaengnabimu was performed. And at Yeouido National Ceremony in 1988, Han-gang[river] Lotus Lantern Ceremony in 1991 and National Ceremony praying satisfactory completion of Daejeon Expo in 1993, Nabimu by more than 12 monks was performed. To dance Nabimu the monk holds the paper-made peony flowers and shows very gentle and feminine movements like the dancing fairy girl.

Baramu [cymbals dnace]

Bara is a musical instrument, also called Yojab. It is made of copper and shaped of a well trimmed pot lid upside down. To dance Baramu both hands holding Baras are moving upward in same time or one after another, and body moves according to the rhythm of Taejing. Each foot is shaping the letter "J" in turning movements. And keep the body straight and gaze the tip of the nose. Baras stay above the forehead and move down to belly button, but never below of it. Costumes are Jangsam[long sleeved buddhist robe] and Gasa. Recently the costume of Nabimu, Yuksujangsam is used sometimes in Baramu. (Originally the costume of Baramu is only Jangsam with Gasa.) Baramu shows swiftness and strength from its fast rhythm. Baramu in solo is called Oebara or Pyungbara, in duo is called Gyeopbara, and in trio is called Ssangbara. At National Ceremony (Yeongsanjae) praying national prosperity and flourish in 1988 even numbered Baramu with more than 20 monks was performed. There are 7 types of Baramu. They are Cheonsubara which is chanting of Simmyojanggudaedarani in Cheonsugyeong with rhythm (about 5 minutes of duration), Sadarani Baramu which is a series of four Darani and Myeongbara(myeongbal) which is performed by two monks moving crossward side by side in front of the outdoor hanging Buddha painting. Also Naerimgebara which is danced to the Taejing of Naerimge, after prayer to Buddha and just before the third Hyangwhacheong in front of Buddha is one of them. And more of Gwanyoksoebara which is performed in the bathing ceremony for the deceased to delight the happiness. In Gwanyoksoebara the striking method of Taejing is very unique. It is said that the doors of Yukdo [six worlds of Buddha] open at the sound of Taejing, or that it means Yukbaramil [six ways of training for Bodhisattva]. The rest of two are Hwauijaebara and Yojapbara. In Yojapbara (so called Botongbara [normal Bara] and Beongaebara [lightening Bara]) the sound of Taejing comes in the same time. At the similar metal sound of two instruments the dance is performed. Always after Nabimu there follows Yojapbara dance. In the harmony of Samhyeon Yukgak such as Taejing, drum, wooden gong and Hojeok, it is believed that their sound help the salvation of suffering lives in the six worlds.

Beopgomu [Drum dances]

Beopgomu is a salvation dance for the animal lives. Usually it is performed at the end of Nabimu or Yojapbaramu, and at Sikdangjakbeop. The monk drums on one side with holding drum sticks in both hands and glaring at the face of drum, and dances to the rhythm of Taejing, which is played by Eojang monk, on the opposite side of the stage. Mixed with the sound of Samhyeon Yukgak [types of instruments] and Hojeok [a wood wind instrument similar to shawn] the movements are getting faster in accordance with the fast rhythm of Taejing. It is the mixture of calmness and movement in one dance. (4-8 minutes of duration)


In Yeongsanjae Tajumu is performed only at the Sikdangjakbop. It dances to praise the virtue of service in acknowledgement of Bodhisattva, Buddha, His teachings, monks, givers, takers and offerings in front of Buddha statue. Two monks in Nabimu costume are sitting against each side of Paljeongdo structure with one striking stick for each. At the sound of Kyeongsoe and as Eojang monk strikes Taejing and begins chanting, they stand up face to face and dance. Raising the striking stick right and left, then turn three times around the Paljeongdo structure with the stick kept above the right shoulder. Return to original position face to face. And raising again the striking stick right and left then stand up or sit down against each other's back. (40 minutes to one hour of the duration for Sikdangjakbop)