Search This Blog

Dol Hareubang of Jeju Island

Dol hareubangs are large mushroom-like statues found on Jeju Island off the southern tip of Korea. They are produced from 1763-1765, once stood outside the eastern, western, and southern gates of the Jeju City fortress and considered to be gods offering both fertility and protection against demons travelling between realities. The name dol hareubang derives from the Korean word for "stone" (dol 돌) plus the Jeju dialect word hareubang (하르방) meaning "grandfather" or "senior" (harabeoji [할아버지] in Standard Korean) and was coined in the mid-20th century. Dol hareubangs also called as tol harubangs, hareubangs, harubangs, other earlier names for the statues include beoksumeori, museongmok, useongmok. Beoksumeori, meaning shaman head, is used in the former area of Jeongui Hyeon (county), museongmok in Daejeong Hyeon and Jeongui Hyeon, and useongmok only in Jeju Hyeon.

Dol Hareubang at Tamna Mokseokwon, Jeju Island

The Dol Hareubangs are carved from porous basalt (volcanic rock) and range in size up to 3 metres high. The statues' faces feature grinning expressions and bulging eyes without pupils, a long, broad nose, and slight smile and their hands rest on their bellies, one slightly above the other. In sets of two, one will have a higher left hand and the other a higher right hand. The hat is commonly referred to as phallic or mushroom-like.

There are three main theories as to the origin of Dol Hareubangs; either that they were introduced by visitors from the sea, that they are a counterpart to the jangseungs (totem poles) of mainland Korea, or that they spread with shamanic mushroom culture. The mushroom and its related imagery has had great importance in Korea, visible in ancient crowns, funeral urns, the Ship Jang Saeng Do (십장생도). The Dol Harubang are a form of political propaganda, representations of the sacred powers of the mushroom, its associated deity, and attesting to the power of the Shamans.

According to Derrick Story (writer of The Digital there's a lesser-known and fascinating tradition associated with these Dol Hareubangs or "stone grandfathers," as explained to him by a native Korean woman. She said that newly married women who wanted to conceive and have a boy, would rub the nose of the Dol hareubang.

Statue at Kosenji Temple, Japan

Interestingly, at Kosenji Temple in Kusatsu Onsen town (Gunma Prefecture), there is a very small statue that is almost identical to the dol hareubang or stone grandfather guardians of Jeju Island of South Korea. Whether this was a donation of a passing migrant from the area of Jeju Island, or that Kosenji Temple was established by Korean migrants, the idea of the connection is tantalizing.


Pic Source:;

Post a Comment

* Please Don't Spam Here. All the Comments are Reviewed by Admin.

Below Post Ads