Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Plain Sight

As an addendum to yesterday's post, I ought to share something with you. 

For every observation of a local fashion or custom that challenges my Americanized/Westernized perception of masculinity, there's another one that loudly and clearly proclaims male on a universal level.

How can this be, you ask?

Hiding in plain sight are statues, tombstones, and household tchotchkes formed in the image of a uniquely male part. 

This weekend, while walking through a pottery shop stocked with traditional Korean vases and teacups, I spotted a highly unusual ashtray -or maybe it was a mint holder. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in the store, so I can't show you an image, but trust me, it's indelibly seared in my brain. 

Three months ago, my department's holiday dinner was held at a nearby restaurant. The photo below is of a statue in the restaurant's lobby:

And I took this photo on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of the most popular tourist destinations:

I'm not sure if one should apply symbolic meaning to these types of structures or take them as is. Perhaps our Korean readers could shed some light on the matter? 


  1. mmmm....lovely! ...and very funny that even i, your aunt nancy, might be a bit embarassed by these works of art! i wonder if kids climb on them at the park??

  2. Aha! Those look like simple rocks to me....Not sure where your mind is young lady!!! ;-)