Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jeju: Outsiders' Guide to Understanding the "Island of the Gods"

"Bleak, volcanic, windswept, and insulated, 
the people of Jeju have weathered harsh conditions. 
The longing for a better life is steeped 
in every fragment of a ridge,
in every wave on the shore,
in every particle of soil.
and in every gust of wind."

That's the soul of the Jeju islanders.

"We came from stones, and to the stones we return," say the Jeju people. In whichever way you look, stones will always be present in the island--in their homes, in their fences, their cemeteries. Today, we take a look at these Jeju stones and what they mean for the islanders.

This stone tower signifies the islanders' yearning for peace and prosperity
because it is built where the ki (energy) is inharmonious according to geomancy. 

Bangsatap (stone tower)

These field fences serve as marker for farmland borders.

Batdam (field fences)

After Jeju islanders die, a stone fence surrounds their grave.

Jeju graveyard

This iconic stone grandfather seen throughout Jeju restaurants and villages act as their guardian to keep evil spirits out.

Dolhareubang (stone grandfather)

This is the front gate of the house and it carries messages for visitors when to come.
All bars up: "No one is home"
All bars down: "Owner is home"
One bar up: "Be back in 5 minutes"

Jeongnang (front of the gate of a house)

This stone fence leads the main road of a village into a house; long and high enough to shield the house from outsiders' view

Olle (stone fence)

source: Jeju Tourism Organization


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