By Paul Lawley-Jones
Koreans who take up wood carving often seem to develop an obsession with certain parts of the body, particularly the penis. Indeed, the penis appears in many places from ancient petroglyphs, Shilla pottery, Shamanic shrines and modern bottle tops and cups. There is also a lesser obsession with the breast. The carved faces on the trunks of trees are seen everywhere around Korea as the male and female protective spirits at the entrance to a village. I still wonder, though, what the significance of the mildly stupid looking expressions is.
A wood carver in whose house we stayed on Seokmo-do one summer informed us that the curved shape of the end of the penis was quite challenging to carve, and consequently demonstrated a certain level of skill. I guess the same goes for the shape of the breast as well.
These carvings inhabit the car park of the Doridon (도리돈) restaurant on the way to Bulguksa.