Korean's National Animal

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Siberian Tiger

Korea's National Animal: Siberian Tigers

Siberian tigers, also known as Mount Baekdu tigers, have been an animal of importance since Korea's inception. It is an animal that has played a huge part in the folklore and myths of our country.

Korean tigers, which once used to roam the mountains, unfortunately, have become nearly extinct. Mentioned nearly 635 times in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, there is no doubt that these tigers didn't exist in large numbers. Currently, you can see these tigers at the zoo but in recent years, there has been much effort to put tigers back into their natural habitat.

If you can recall last week's blog post on the legend of Dangun, son of a bear and a god, the tiger in the story runs away into the mountain. Though the bear in this legend was clearly the winner, the animal that would hold high significance throughout the ages was the tiger. To read the Legend of Dangun, visit HERE.

In Korea, the tiger is a symbol of strength, power, and superiority. They are also seen as protectors chasing away evil spirits. They appear in Korean folklore and were a favorite subject in the arts and literature. 

If you happen to look at old Korean paintings and drawings, take notice of how many of them feature tigers on them. It truly is the favorite animal of Korea. 

When I was just a young kid, I was also put into Korean School. My Korean teacher gave me a bookmark with the exact image above. Pretty amazing that the tiger fits perfectly in the peninsula of Korea, right? It was meant to be. 



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