Title: Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible
Heritage of Humanity Special  
( View Souvenir Sheet
(The top-half)
Stamp Serial#
Date of Issue
480 won 
(A great singer, Mo Heung-Gap) 
Shin In-cheol 
Kim So-jeong 
Image Area
49mm x 33mm 
Sheet Composition
2 x 4 + 2  
White Unwatermarked 
Printing process
and colors
Offset, six colors +
Intaglio, one color 
Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation 
In the middle of a bustling street market, a convivial pansori (traditional Korean narrative song) reverberates in a mellow tone. Pansori singers tell interesting stories, which are sometimes about common people's happy, sad or other everyday experiences of life, while sometimes the subject matter covers the hopes of a new society or era. Pansori, which humorously reverberates the people's joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure, has been recognized worldwide for its uniqueness and excellence and selected by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral Tradition and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" on November 7, 2003. To commemoration this occasion, a new stamp is issued.

Pansori, meaning the "song that is sung at a space bustling with many spectators" is a performance technique, where a singer (sorikkun) sings a song composed of his story-singing (chang), words (aniri) and body language (neoreumsae) to the tune of the drummer (gosu). During the performance of the pansori, members of the audience freely utter stylized cries of encouragement (chuimsae) which blend rhythmically with the singing: as indicated by its name, a pansori performance brings the performer into the midst of the audience. Though the facts of its origin have been lost to time, pansori's stories reflect the moods of the times such as royalty, filial piety, chivalry, and wifely chastity. Throughout history, pansori has appealed to both upper and lower classes.

Of the many songs of Pansori, only Simcheongga, Heungboga, Chunhyangga, Sugungga and Jeokbyeokga were refined into artistic format and passed down as the Five Pansori Madangs. Pansori has been handed down widely across the Korean peninsula from Jeolla to Chungcheong and Gyeonggi provinces. Sorije, in the northeast area of Jeolla province, was called "Dongpyeonje," with that in the Southwest area of Jeolla province called "Seopyeonje," and that in Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces called "Junggoje". However, now, this kind of Pansori classification based on "je" (meaning the sect of Pansori) is fading away.

Of the two new stamps, one features both the script of the Heungboga and "Gagaekchangjang" [(a description of a Pansori singer performing included in "Gisan pungsokdocheop" (Album of Genre Paintings by Gisan) (19th century genre painter Kim Jun-geun, kept in Soongsil University Museum). The other features a portrayal of Mo Heung-Gap, the best Pansori singer of the Joseon Dynasty, included in "Pyeongyangdosipcheopbyeongpung" (19th century, kept in the Seoul National University Museum)].