Jeju Island’s Dol Hareubang: Mystical Stone Sculptures

Jeju is very famous not only in Korea but all over the world. Its natural beauty will captivate your hearts. Dol Hareubang greatly adds in Jeju’s wonders. It has a huge significance in Korea’s heritage and culture.

Dol Hareubang literally means ‘grandfather stone’. Dol (돌) is ‘stone’ and hareubang (하르방) means ‘grandfather’ in the Jeju dialect. The name was set official in 1971 but before that, it goes by a lot of names like “wuseokmok”, “beoksumeori” and “museokmok”.

They were only named as grandfather or elder because the statue seems to resembles an old local. They stand three meters tall in Jeju that was carved from the island’s porous volcanic rock. The stones have really big sculpted eyes, a slightly smiling face, hands on their belly, with two little toes, and wears a mushroom-shaped hat. Up to this day, no one has solid evidence on who made them and what they were made for.

Some believe that is connected to shamanism. People consider them as guardians of the islands. They are believed to cast away evil spirits that are gifted by the gods. It is also believed that it gives fertility to the island. That is why Jeju is a famous honeymoon spot. They say if you want to have kids, touch the nose of the statue.

It is said to be similar to mainland Korea’s statue called Jangseung. The distinct differences are the hands that are present in dol hareubang. Jangseung was usually sculpted with no hands. Dol hareubang also does not have any beard and its mouth is closed showing no teeth.  It was originally placed on the east, south, and west gates of the Jeju Fortress. they were moved because of the urbanization in the island.

Now, this statue symbolizes Jeju. A lot of merchandise was made and a lot of replicas now stand in front of hotels. If you visit Jeju, make sure to have a glance of this magnificent statue.

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