Compass Making

By National Intangible Heritage Center

Yundo by Kim Jong-daeNational Intangible Heritage Center

Compass, Yundo

The needle of a compass divuIges the logics of the universe while trembling. Yundojang refers to the artisan who makes compasses with a circular representation of twenty four directions inscribed upon it.

YundoNational Intangible Heritage Center

Yundo is used since the age of the Three States. Feng shui experts use it to decide the locations of houses and graves, sailors use it to find directions, and astronomers use it as a portable sundial. Yundo is essential in finding the meridian which indicates North and South accurately.

YundojangNational Intangible Heritage Center

Yundo is made by first drying solid jujube wood for two or three years and then cutting the wood appropriately. Concentric circles are drawn from the middle point outwards, and the wood is then divided into sections. The twenty four directions are drawin upon it in divided sections and mark eumyang (yin and yang), ohaeng (the Five elements), palgwae (Eight Diagrams), sipagan (Ten Heavenly Stems), and sibiji(Chinese zodiac signs).

Yundo by Kim Jong-daeNational Intangible Heritage Center

The more layers it has, the more complex its directions and contents become. Some compasses have one layer containing only twelve directions, and some have thirty six layers. It also comes in various shapes depending on the season

Yundo by Kim Jong-daeNational Intangible Heritage Center

Yundo by Kim Jong-daeNational Intangible Heritage Center

YundojangNational Intangible Heritage Center

Naksan Village in Gochang: the
Only Place Where the "Yundo" Is Made

It is said that "yundo" making began in Naksan village in Gochang, Jeollabuk-do, about 300 years ago. On the mountain behind the village is the turtle rock, which is aligned with the east-west parallel and has 7 holes in its back. It is said that if a finished "yundo" is placed on the rock, you can check whether it aligns exactly with the north-south meridian

YundojangNational Intangible Heritage Center

The skills for producing the "yundo," the necessary tools, and the "yundo" board were all passed down exactly as they were from generation to generation, regardless of the family. Just as inheritance is passed down to children, all the tools were passed directly down to those who were being instructed, whether there were blood ties or not.

YundojangNational Intangible Heritage Center

Various tools that shine with the hand prints of ancestors, along with worn-down scrapers and sculpting knives, are a testament to the history of "yundo" production even after several hundred years.The passing down of the title "yundo master" was determined by who was worthy of inheriting these tools and who could protect the village's "yundo" tradition

Yundojang by Kim Jong-daeNational Intangible Heritage Center

Kim Jongdae, who inherited the skill of making "yundo" from his uncle, never left Naksan village in his life. As a result of the implicit promise only to make "yundo" in Naksan village, he even left his 12-year career at the company Nonghyup (National Agricultural Cooperative Federation) to preserve the "yundo" tradition.The villagers are proud of their "yundo master" and believe that the tradition should continue in Naksan.

Kim Jongdae, a master of this traditional compass who is incredibly skilled with his hands, does not have any desire to earn lots of money or receive a big prize.As it's a family business that he inherited from his ancestors, he accepts it as his fate without complaint. He faithfully continues the "yundo" production techniques that his grandfather and uncle used, working to keep the tradition alive

Credits: Story

Yundojan (Compass Making)
Master Artisan of a Compass Making, Kim Jong-dae

National Intangible Heritage Center, Research & Archiving Division

국립무형유산원(National Intangible Heritage Center)
국립무형유산원 아카이브(National Intangible Heritage Center Archive)

�Ⓒ 국립무형유산원

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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