Jangseung, or wooden totem “Village Guardians”, are regarded as one of the earliest examples of nonfigurative art, in which a human figure is expressed in a highly compressed form. The jangseung has the shape of a traditional Korean military officer with angry eyes, snaggleteeth and a hat. The inscribed Chinese characters on the male jangseung on the left (Cheon-ha-dae-jang-gun, meaning “great general under heaven”) and on the female jangseung on the right (Ji-ha-yeo-jang-gun, meaning “great woman general underground”) respectively; these wooden totem poles, erected in groups or pairs at the entrance of Buddhist temples or villages, were worshiped as village guardians that had magical power to drive out devils and diseases.
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Wooden Figurine Set of Two Village Guardians for Good Fortune and Luck