What are Jeju's Dol Hareubangs? 7 Interesting Facts You Should Know About

What are Jeju's Dol Hareubangs? 7 Interesting Facts You Should Know About

JEJU'S DOL HAREUBANG

Jeju Island has many unique cultural artifacts. Its most recognizable are the Dol Hareubangs. Found all over the Island, they are surrounded by legend and mystery.

Let’s take a closer look!

What Are They?

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The statues have had other names, including Ongjungseok, Beoksumeori, and Wuseokmok. But they’ve been called Dol Hareubangs since 1971, when they were given official folk heritage status. The name literally means “stone grandfather”: dol, “stone” in Korean; hareubang, “grandfather” in the Jeju dialect.

The Hareubangs are carved from the Island’s volcanic rock. They’re tall (up to three metres), have big pupil-less eyes, and wear mushroom-shaped hats.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Hareubangs’ hands are always on their stomachs, with one higher than the other. A statue with a higher right hand is a civil officer. A statue with a higher left hand is a military figure. (The right hand holds a brush, while the left hand holds a bow and spear.)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Where Did They Come From?

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

We know that some of the Hareubangs once stood at Jeju Fortress’ southern, eastern, and western gates. They were installed there by Magistrate Kim Mong-gyu in 1754. However, we don’t know if the statues were carved at that time or earlier.

Dol Hareubangs vs Moai & Huncholos

We also don’t know who carved them or what they were used for. Some people think they came from outside Korea. They see similarities between the Dol Hareubangs and the Rapa Nui/Easter Island moai…

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

or the Mongolian huncholos.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Where Can We See Dol Hareubang?

Over 40 Hareubangs are on Jeju Island. Most statues are at the Bukchon Dol Hareubang Park. Others can be found at Hamdeok Beach, Yongduam Rock, Hyeopjae Beach, and Cheonjiyeon Falls.

Hamdeok Beach Hareubangs 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

You can also see Dol Hareubangs at the National Folk Museum of Korea in Seoul.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Get a taste of Jeju Island with your very own Seoulbox!

What Were Hareubang Built For?

Dol Hareubangs stand inside and outside shops, homes, public areas, and entrances to cities. Some people believe they offer protection against evil spirits travelling between the human and spiritual worlds.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Spiritual Belief About Dol Hareubang:

Mainland Korea has Korean totem poles, or jangseungs, that are like Jeju Island’s Hareubangs. The poles are usually made of wood, but they’re sometimes made of stone. They stand guard in villages and along roads, watching over travelers and inhabitants.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Another theory is that Hareubangs were used in rituals by local shamans. Their hats look like Amanita muscaria, hallucinogenic mushrooms that used to grow at Hallasan Mountain.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Dol Hareubang’s Connection with Fertility:

The hats also look like something more sexual. That’s because the Hareubangs might also bring fertility. Women who have recently married are told to rub the statues in different areas. If they want a boy, they rub their noses. If they want a girl, they should rub the ears.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

What do you think? Can the Hareubangs bring you children or good health? Do they make you feel comfortable or intimidated? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

And if you get the chance to visit Jeju Island, say hello to the Dol Hareubangs. Your prayers might be answered.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

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Author: Sophia

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