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dol hareubang

Dol hareubang” means literally “stone grandfather” in Jeju’s dialect. Although, those statues were not called this way initially. About the time of the restoration of independence, some inhabitants started to call them Dol hareubang. In the begging, in a joking way but in the end, everyone came to use that name.

The statues are sliced from the porous basalt volcanic rock of Jeju Island. They have a round face with bulging eyes, a big nose, a close mouse with a light smile. Likewise, a hat can remind us of a mushroom or a phallic shape depending on which story you are referring too. Those “stone grandfather” also have their hands on their belly, one higher than the other. Some specialists said that a raised right hand symbolized a civil officer meanwhile a raised left hand refer to a military officer.

dol hareubang

Nowadays, there are 47 original Dol hareubang. Two are in Gyeongbok Palace and forty-five on Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. Most of the reasons given for their presence on the island are just suppositions. Nobody knows their real purpose and symbolism. The origins of those statues are quite mysterious. Believing the historical explanation, the Dol hareubang statues were originally located on the east, south and west gates of the Jeju Fortress as palace guardians. They have been removed from the fortress walls and relocated elsewhere due to urbanization.  These days, you can find Dol hareubang outside homes, on bridges, in the entrance hall of hotels. You can also find they in front of restaurants and shops. Some people see them as protectors of fortress who are now guarding the cities and keeps evil spirits away.

Dol hareubang, also have a more shamanic meaning. It is a symbol of fertility. There is a legend which counts that if you rub their nose, you will give birth to a boy but if you rub their ears, the baby will be a girl. Even if we are not sure about their purpose or their signification, indeed, the “stone grandfather” are a symbol of Jeju Island. Those statues are very famous. Countless visitors want to meet at least one of them. If you want to cross their path do not hesitate to come to Jeju and visit them. They are waiting for you 😉

dol hareubangIf you want to discover Jeju Island and meet Dol Hareubang, we invite you to check our tours :  

Jeju Island tour


More information about Jeju Island:

The best things to do and see in Jeju Island
Sharing a secret place of Jeju island : Jeju Olle trail
Jeju Island
The mermaids of Jeju Island
Why Soesokkak Estuary is a charming place to explore?


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