Saturday, December 22, 2012

Asian Eyes' Korea - Jejudo Folklore Museum

          Day 2 - Nov/18/12, 5.00 pm: First stop in Jeju-do was the first of Jeju-do's lots and lots of museum. According to our tour guide, Kent Fang, the museums in Jeju-do numbered nearly 300. There are Teddy Bear Museum, Sex Museum, Ripleys Believe it or not, to name a few. The sun was disappearing fast when we reached Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum. At the entrance there was a couple of exhibits of something that is readily available in Jeju - Volcanic rocks. We hurried along after Kent bought the entrance tickets.
 The fading evening light 
gave a cut-out statue
 of Dol Hareubang 
outside Jeju 
Folklore Museum 
very nice silhouette
           We spend some 1 hour in the museum, going through the lava rocks upon lava rocks, 3D model of Jeju-do, replica of Jeju landscapes, flora and fauna, scaled down buildings and statues of ordinary farming and fishermen communities in Jeju as well as an ancient paganism society exhibits. As Jeju-do is an island, there are exhibits of marine life such as a whale skeleton, a taxidermy specimen of a bony fish called Sunfish or Mola-mola, many sharks and sting rays, and abalone. There is also an interactive video and light image on a special exhibit floor projecting a school of fish where one can step on the water and the fishes will hurriedly swim away, as if they are real. We spend some good laughing time trying to catch the "fishes" for dinner.
            Along the way Kent related to us the tale of Jeju's gate with 3 poles and related them to the 3 of Jeju i.e. the 3 lacks of Jeju (Sanmu - No thief, no beggar, and no gate), the 3 abundances of Jeju (Samda- more winds, more women and more rocks) and the 3 treasures of Jeju (SaAmryeo and Sambo - imply the beautiful nature, folklore, and native industries of Jeju, or three resources : edible crops, marine products, and tourism. Or generosity, beautiful nature, and special industrial structure). Some of the exhibits in this Jeju Folklore and Natural History museum are similar to those in the Korean Folk museum that I visited early in the morning in Gyeongbokgung Palace.               
           Here are the pictures I took at Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum.
Location:  996-1, Ildo 2-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Tel: +82-64-710-7708
Website: museum.jeju.go.kr
A Jeju Island map being displayed at the entrance to Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum. 
Jeju island is made of lava rocks, so these rocks are being displayed to remind us of its abundance and usefulness.
At the entrance to Jeju Folklore Museum.
A signboard welcoming us to Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum. Also there is a notice to reminds everyone that Jeju Island is a "Special Self-Governing Province", emphasizing its autonomous status.
Statue of a woman pouring water from at the center of the museum compound. Womenfolk contributed the majority workforce in Jeju olden times.
A "Dol Hareubang(stone grandfather) carved from a block of basalt, guards the entrance to the museum.

Kent briefed us the time to meet up again at the entrance to Jeju Folklore Museum building.

Jeju Island is built from a volcano that erupted in the ocean. Some of the lava was cooled at different rate, resulting in many types of lava rocks. Above is a basalt rock, a lava that was left to cooled over a longer time.
Another lava rock on display, this one is black and shiny, had been cooled more abruptly and at a much shorter time.
Fauna exhibit of birds that are found on the beach in Jeju-do.
In olden times women in Jeju-do outnumbered men 8:1. During that time the women folks did all the hard work at the farm or at home while the guys lived like a king.
Statue of newly wedded couples greeting each other. I noticed In Jeju-do the bride had only red spot on both cheeks but not on the forehead, unlike the one I seen in Korean Folk Museum in Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Tale of the gate door with 3 poles in place -  3 poles are in place meant house owner not at home. 1 pole not in place meant the owner not around but will come back soon. 2 poles not in place meant owner not at home but is around the corner. 3 poles are not in place, it meant the owner is at home, so welcome in. 
Replicas of reeds house found in Jeju-do in ancient time. Some of these buildings are still around, but they are built more as tourist attractions now.
Daily wear items on display in the museum. Some of the daily items were make of exquisite materials such as horse hair from the short stock workhorse brought in by the Mongol during Kublai Khan's reign when he tried twice to invade Japan during the China's Yuan dynasty period. Both attempts lost to typhoons and then they aborted any further attempts thereafter, leaving all the legacy horses behind in Jeju-do. 
Replica of Haenyo, or Jeju-do sea women. They earned their living from free diving, often all year round in quite cold water, without scuba gear, 
in order to harvest abalones, conchs, octopus, sea cucumbers and a myriad of other marine products. It is thought that women are better 
at spending all day deep-water diving because they resist cold better. However, because of rapid economic development and modernization, 
few haenyeos are still actively working today.
Replicas of abalone being left at the fire to be cooked by Haenyo for a quick meal after free diving in the sea.
The short stocky Mongolian horse now being used to plow the lava land in Jeju-do.


The waters around Jeju-do are teeming with sea creatures. Sunfish (or also called Mola-mola), a bony fish with a peculiar tail, are abundant in waters here.
A section of the museum is paid tribute to paganism and ancient beliefs in Jeju-do. This section is called "The land of gods".


Image of gods in Korean paganism society. God had a face and shape??
Witchcraft, sorcery and paganism are still very much alive in Korea but little of it was known outside Korea. This replica is a shaman in a chanting process to dispel evil from a sick person body. 
Clay caricatures of brides and bridegrooms caught my attention in the souvenir shop inside  Jeju Folklore Museum. I took note of the red dot on the cheeks of a bride. The other bride without red dot on the cheeks is not first time bride, according to our tour guide. 

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