Published Sep 30 2013, by

Confucian Tomb Guardians

These nearly life-sized sculptures of Civil Officials were placed facing one another from opposite sides of a pathway approaching an underground tomb of a high-ranking official to serve him in death, just as they would in life.  Nearly identical, they wear high starched and pleated gauze caps of Civil Office and multiple layers of robes.  Their bodies are erect, arms folded at the elbow to hold tablets of office before their chests with large heads dropped forward, suggestive of older men with long years of service.  State and family rituals are important sites in Korean society (as in many) for expressing fundamental principles of universal order and the role of the individual within it.