Laurel Kendall - Curator, Asian Ethnographic Collections, Anthropology Department, American Museum of Natural History New York
Many of the commercial shaman shrines on the periphery of Seoul claim both auspicious sites and long traditions, but in fact, their histories are histories of movement rather than fixity. The rapid growth and expansion of the city of Seoul, particularly in the second half of the twentieth century, has resulted in a landscape where little seems permanent or even very old. This paper describes the recent peregrinations shrines and argues that the open, visionary possibilities of shamanic practice make it possible for shrine-keepers and their adherents to reconstitute venerable shrines in new locations. It suggests that this notion of a mobile sacred site is at odds with common understandings of heritage sites and monumentality.