본문 바로가기
  • Home

A Study on Grotesque Image shown in Face of Jangseung

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2016, 46(), pp.329-372
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.46.0.10
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : February 28, 2016

Hyun Kyung Lee 1

1서울시립대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

When the Jangseung(Korean traditional totem pole at the village entrance) spread between the end of the 17thcentury and the beginning of the 18thcentury, series of natural disasters, famine, and frequently raging plague had made people face the fear of death again despite their efforts to recover from the scars of war. In the society of those days surging with treachery, insecurity, and crisis awareness, in the situation where there was no more possibility of problem solution in sight from the Establishment, the Jangseung has become a religious object against which commoners projected their wish from death towards life. The social aspect of the chaotic period in which death was prevalent and existing values were shaken as aforesaid has become the foundation on which the Jangseung's face came to have a grotesque image. The society that was unreasonable to commoners and led their lives to collapse proceeded to the bodily destruction that implied death. Thereafter, it has emerged into a grotesque image of Jangseung. Grotesquely exaggerated and protruded, the Jangseung’s face has carried a grotesque double-sidedness of monstrousness and ludicrousness by breaking away from the realistic shape of human face. Accordingly, the grotesque image of Jangseung which was born of within popular culture violates all absolute and sophisticated forms that the high-class art has long pursued, and was an attempt to overturn the existing values, dreaming of a freewheeling breakaway. There is an ethnological warmth in the Jangseung's face that allows apparently error-like forms such as being upside down or having features of men and women switched. Especially, the various protruding forms that make the Jangseung look more grotesque and ludicrous are all connected to production power. This is a humorous expression only possible in the popular culture which has maintained a tenacious hold on life for a long time. The component of laughter was another axis in the grotesque image based on the popular culture in that manner, which was namely the hope for regeneration. The grotesque face of Jangseung contains the form that crosses life and death like a pregnant old woman. The formative structure signifying the life itself albeit contradictory can be seen as representing the weary life of the people who lived irresoluble reality.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.