Jangseung totems guard the Temple of the Korean Friendship Bell
As you approach the Korean Bell of Friendship in Angel’s Gate Park in San Pedro, you are greeted by two totem poles placed there to mark the boundary between the outside world and the Temple of the Korean Friendship Bell.
When first saw them I didn’t understand the significance. I was unaware the Korean people had totems.
These are Jangseung totems and there is a difference between them and the typically thought of totems of peoples on the islands of the Pacific Northwest. Unlike totem poles, they don’t tell stories. Jangseung are Korean guardian spirit poles that protect against evil spirits, misfortune and disease. They are placed at the entrance of a village, temple, etc to mark the boundary between it and the outside world. Jangseung totems are also expected to bring good fortune.
The Jangseung figures at the entry that leads to the Korean Friendship Bell are carved from round posts of wood. The one of the left is male and on the right is female and they are in traditional Korean headwear that dates back from the Third Kingdom era. The inscription on the male Jangseung, is “Great General Under Heaven”. The inscription on the female Jangseung is “Great General under Earth.”
A metal sign in English and Korean on the back of one of the poles reads as follows:
“Sculpted by Traditional Korean Totem Pole Master “Ta-Mok” Jong-heung Kim, and built by 1st Master Craftsman of Gyengsangbuk-do, :Chang-san Jae-chol Kim.
On the July 4th 2015
The 239th Independence Day
President of the Friendship Bell Protection Committee
Click to view and/or license more photos of the Korean Bell of Friendship.
So there you have it. And maybe that is why I felt so safe and peaceful during my visit to Angel’s Gate Park (and here I thought it was the open space, the beauty of the Bell and the serenity of the ocean views.
Should you wish to see them Angel’s Gate Park is located at:
Angels Gate Park
3601 S Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
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