Jangseung

We purchased this from a local market in 2010. Thanks to Minka Park for helping me to translate the text.

In traditional villages across Asia the jangseung serve as spiritual guardians with the power to frighten away evil spirits. Full size jangseung are placed on the boundaries of a village to protect the inhabitants. Traditional rites focused on the jangseung culminate in villagewide festivals to pray for health, prosperity, and fertility.

These janseung symbolise two spirits. On the left is the male General of the Sky, on the right is the female General of the Earth. The male bears the inscription “Cheonha Daejang-gun” (Great General Under Heaven) while the female bears the inscription “Jiha Yeojang-gun” (Female General Under Earth).

There are no real standards defined for the appearance of the janseung, there are variations in height, materials, facial features, etc. The uniqueness of jangseung express the identity of their respective villages.

Jangseung are more commonly made from wood, although they are also carved from stone.

Jangseung are also known as Beoksu, Harabeoji, Halmeoni, and Hareubang.

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