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Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late ModernityCommodification, Tourism, and Performance$
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Laurel Kendall

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833930

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833930.001.0001

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The Changsŭng Defanged

The Changsŭng Defanged

The Curious Recent History of a Korean Cultural Symbol

6 The Changsŭng Defanged
Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity

Laurel Kendall

University of Hawai'i Press

Roughly carved out of tree trunks or hewn of stone, the changsŭng (devil posts) with bulging eyes and fanged grins once guarded the entrances to Korean villages from malevolent forces. This chapter charts the journey of the changsŭng from a village guardian and road marker to a museum artifact and consumable souvenir to a saturated symbol of a multiplex Korean experience; from an image photographically reproduced by outsiders to signify a strange and distant Korea to its multiple contemporary reproductions as expressions of innate Koreanness. It looks at the changsŭng as an object generated by means of multiple and changing narratives. Of particular interest is how the changsŭng's transformation from demon visage to face of the Korean folk has been and continues to be negotiated, with particular attention to the manner in which those who produce changsŭng in the borderland between handicraft and art navigate the material production of meaning.

Keywords:   changsung, devil posts, village guardians, Korean cultural symbols, Korean culture

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