‘Jangseung’,
guardians protecting their village from all evil

A jangseung or village guardian is a Korean totem pole usually made of wood. Jangseungs were traditionally placed at the edges of villages to mark village boundaries and frighten away demons.

 

  • Guards from disasters and brings good luck

In many parts of Korea there are jangseung still placed in the entrance of villages. Although nowadays it is more of a monumental figure, still many people like to believe that janseung guards the village from disasters and brings them good luck. In Korean households, jangseung figures are mostly placed in the entrance of their homes for home decoration purposes and in the obvious sense that jangseungs were historically placed in the entrance of villages.

In Seoul, 18th century Joseon Dynasty King Jeongjo ordered jangseungs erected in the area near Sangdo to ward off evil spirits when he made a royal procession to Suwon, where his father’s tomb was located. Since then, the district has been called Jangseungbaegi and has given its name to the Jangseungbaegi Station on the Seoul Metropolitan Subway’s Line 7.

 

September 24, 2014 by KOREAN ESSENTIALS