Dear Reader

Welcome to my blog, the Musings of Crane and Lotus, a blog for my ongoing research into the histroy, arts, and culture of the Korean Peninsula, usually for the purpose of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). My persona is a Korean Gisaeng (a courtesan so to speak) named Min Soo Yun. As a Caucasian person who has not worked as a sex worker, I can only speak on these topics from an academic/research perspective. I highly encourage you all to visit the following sources which can provide some perspective from people who are of Asian descent and/or sex workers as I recognize that I cannot provide these important perspectives:    Gold and Jade This blog is managed by the admin of the SCA Korea FB group and is known in the SCA as Seong Myeong Su Daesaseong. She provides excellent perspective as a Korean American into her research and issues in both within and outside of the SCA.    The Cultural Whiplash of a Second-Generation Korean American by Seoyoung Kwon is a great glimpse of

From Manuscript to Skirt

In the pursuit of being accurate, a member of the SCA may eventually come across a problem: the fabric they use is not accurate enough. Whether this is jumping from using polyester fabric to a more appropriate fabric or limiting your fabric purchases to fabrics with accurate motifs, everyone has a form of this problem pop up in their SCA career. I had switched from 100% cotton to 100% silk a few years ago as I was leaning more towards an East Asian persona. As I became more entrenched in my Korean persona, the search for fabrics with accurate motifs has increasingly become more difficult. The issues contributing to this problem can be summarized by the following points: Fabric decays. Silk fabric can start to show signs of degradation in four years. At this point, 1600 was 420 years ago. The fabric that has survived is minimal and if it has survived, the decoration on the fabric is one of the first things to degrade. North Korea. Its regime limits our excavations to only half of K

Making a Scroll based on a Korean Manuscript

Over the last few months, I have been working on my illumination skills. For a long time, I have greatly enjoyed drawing and painting as it is very zen for me, so it was natural to jump to illumination as a new SCA hobby! Since I love Korean, my first big project involved creating a scroll based on the Illustrated manuscript of the Lotus Sutra (Miaofa lianhua jing), Volume 2 ca. 1340 (where you can find here ). Illustrated Manuscript of the Lotus Sutra For this project, I used a navy blue multimedia paper - I do not recommend this paper if you plan on using artist's tape - even with all the precautions I took, the tape ripped off the paper in parts. I also used gold and silver gouache by Winsor and Newton. I first taped off the paper to make the tape and painted the gold boxes. I also went ahead and drew circles to help with my spacing: I then started making the larger flowers in the bottom and top: Finally, I filled in the rest and made the fini

Timeline of Korean Pottery

Neolithic Period (7000 - 10th CE BC) Earliest known pottery appears in Korea around 7000 BC Comb-Pattern Vessel Neolithic Period Earthenware with incised decoration H. 38.4 cm Pottery was hand built from sandy clay and fired in open or semi-open kiln at low temperatures ~700℃. Pottery from sites north of the Taedong River (present day North Korea) usually have a flat bottom with minimal or no decoration. South of the Taedong river, Comb-pattern wares (chÅ­lmun) as seen above were the most representative type of ceramic from this period. The wares had a coniform or round base and the patterns were most likely made from using a comblike implement to incise lines into the damp clay. They were exceptionally large and probably stored grain. A herringbone pattern and bands of short diagonal lines encircling the rim are frequently found on comb-pattern wares. In central and western areas of Korea, the early comb-pattern vessels are decorated from the base to t

February Event Reports and Updates

It is a week until Gulf Wars. A week. If you are like me, you have yet to pack but have a running list of things to do before you leave and an impossibly short time-frame to do them. Nonetheless, I am excited for this Gulf. I am hosting an Eastern Salon at Ca d'Oro Renaissance Village. It is my hope that this will be a place for people to lounge, enjoy conversation, and demolish each other in Go. Each day will also have a tea time with snacks and tea available. Hopefully, in the future, classes will also be available here. It will also be my first time teaching at Gulf. I will be teaching a class on my incense research, neri-koh. I am nervous but excited. On the other side of things, February has been a very eventful month for me. Mundanely, I started a new job and moved. SCA-wise, I went to an event called brewdic (brewing and bardic, what could be better!), Midwinter A&S hosted by the Barony of South Downs where I taught an improv class on raunchy Korean poetry (14th
The Basics of Neri-Koh in Japan: The use of Koh (incense) and its many ingredients was brought to Japan from China and was originally used for “Ku-koh” for purifying Buddha and avoiding maliciousness. It is believed to have been brought in by the Buddhist monk, Gan-Jin (Jianzhen) around 750 AD. During the Heian period, this practice was developed into what we would call takimono and specifically Japanese kneaded incense balls were named neri-koh. These were made from woods, spices, and herbs, mixed with honey or plum meat to bind the ingredients together and then allowed to mature in jars (some texts describe nobles burying their neri-koh in clay pots for years). Nowadays, the art of Koh has faded from popular use in China; however, the tradition still exists among artisans and specialty shops in Japan. The people who make incense in Japan serve long apprenticeships as “incense blenders” before becoming “master blenders”. During the Heian period, the art of neri-koh was popula