Among the cultural heritage of the Korean nation is the Haeju mask dance.
The Haeju mask dance is originated from the mask dance of Koguryo (277 BC-AD 668). In Koguryo, the mask dance was popular not only in the capital but in local areas, and such facts are proved by the mural painting of a mask dancer in the Mausoleum of King Kogugwon.
Mask dance, which had been performed by civil artistes for a long period of time, began to develop into a unique folk mask dance in the Haeju area of Hwanghae Province in the 18th century.
The main technique of the Haeju mask dance is the movement of swinging jangsam (a kind of extension of sleeves that cover up hands) above the head.
It represented the mask dance of Hwanghae Province up to modern times and exerted a great influence on Ongjin, Kangnyong and other neighbouring areas.
It developed with regional characteristics, but it disappeared during the Japanese military occupation of Korea (1905-1945) due to Japan’s policy of obliterating the Korean nation’s culture. It was revived after Korea’s liberation (August 1945) thanks to the measures taken by the state to preserve the national cultural heritage.
It is a national intangible cultural heritage of the DPRK.