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Scenario

1926 The funeral of Emperor Sunjong
The outbreak of June 10th Movement
Playwright Kim Woo-jin and Soprano Yun Shim-deok
Ended their love by throwing themselves
overboard a cross-channel liner heading to Busan
While Gyeongdong Railways Company was constructing railways
clay figures that have been asleep for over 1,400 years were found

Clay Figures and Figurines, The Lives of Ancient People Expressed in Clay

Clay figures, which refer to small clay dolls,
came to light by chance.

When you compare the old map to the modern map,
the area is presumed to be to the south of the annex building of old Gyeongju City Hall,
the area between The Great Tomb of Hwangnam and Tomb No. 93.

Clay figures see the light again – 1970s

The 1970s - Land development was implemented
all over Korea thanks to economic development.
Excavation was done on the large tomb in Gyeongju.

The clay figures were not the only type of clay dolls.
We need to also learn about clay figurines and heteromorphic earthenware.

Clay figures

- Small 5cm tall clay dolls often attached to lids
of mounted cups or necks of long-necked jars
- Decoration that also expressed the wishes
of the people of Silla for prosperity and fecundity
- Depicted the physical traits of the people of Silla
as well as their daily lives and their beliefs
- Mainly produced in the 6th century when Silla
was on its way to becoming a powerful country
- Often found in small stone chamber tombs
rather than in stone mound chamber tombs

Earthenware Characteristics
Long-necked Jar with Clay Figures
Royal Tomb No. 30 in Gyerim-ro, Gyeongju
National Treasure No. 195
- Excavated in 1973
- Figures of a couple having intercourse and a pregnant woman playing a Korean zither on the shoulder and neck of the jar
- Figure of a snake slithering under the Korean zither
- In addition to a snake biting on a frog’s hind leg, there are various animal shaped decorations such as frogs, starfish, birds and turtles.
- Height: 34cm
Long-necked Jar with Clay Figures
Tomb No. 11 in Noseo-dong, Gyeongju
National Treasure No. 195
- Excavated in 1973
- Slightly twisted while inside the kiln.
One of the whole specimens with a recognizable shape.
- Figure of a man holding a stick in his left hand and his exaggerated sex organ in his right hand on the neck of the jar
- A man depicted with sloe eyes and a large nose wearing a conical hat.
-Snakes biting down on a frog’s hind leg attached in symmetrical locations
- Height: 40.1cm
Clay figures of a man and woman found
in the Southern mound of Hwangnam Daechong Tomb
- Excavated in 1973
- Found within the mound rather than inside the stone mound chamber tomb
- While digging a tomb and building the mound, earthenware with clay figures or clay dolls in female shapes are presumed to have been buried together during ancestral rites.
- Height: 6.7cm
Mounted Cup and Lid Decorated with Clay Figures
Tomb No. 11-1 in Wolseong-ro, Gyeongju
- 1985
- A snake biting down on a frog’s hind leg and a horse are the only figures with recognizable shapes.
- Found in Stone Chamber Tomb along with a rhyton
- Highly probable that a buried person with a different characteristic in Wolseong-ro is the main character.
- Height: 81cm (left lid)
Pottery Stand with Animal-shaped Clay Figures
Tombs No. 11 and 32 in Bokcheon-dong, Busan
- Excavated date unknown
<Tomb No. 11 in Bokcheon-dong, Busan>
- Crawling turtle attached to the stand
- Excavated date unknown
<Tomb No. 32 in Bokcheon-dong, Busan>
- Clay figures of a boar, dog and horse
- Height: 57cm
Clay Figures Excavated from
Tomb No. 30 in Unhwa-ri, Ulsan
- Excavated date unknown
- Figure of a man with exaggerated sex organ playing musical instrument such as pipe or daegeum.
- A figure presumed to be a horse with lattice pattern on the back and dog-like figures found together.
- Stone Chamber Tomb No. 30 is estimated to be constructed in the late 5thcentury.
- Compared to clay figures excavated from Gyeongju Hwangnam-dong Stone Mound Chamber Tomb, the finishing and joints such as legs to body are inferior.
- Height: 9.7cm
Boat-shaped Clay Figure
Geumnyeongchong Tomb, Gyeongju
- Excavated date unknown
- Clay figure attached to hieroglyphic earthenware
- A figure of a boatman with exaggerated sexual organ
- Height: 9.8cm

Clay figurines

After the unification by Silla, clay figures, which were often attached to earthenware, evolved
into independent clay figurines.
Figures of perfectly formed and clothed men, women and
people from countries bordering Western China as well as animals like cows were found.
Clay figures were replaced with figurines in stone chamber tombs of this period.
A small quantity of clay figures, which had been popular in the mid-to-late 5th century and 6th century were found in ruins of residents, royal palaces and temples.
Clay figures and figurines were found together in an archaeological site in Hwagok-ri.
Clay figurines are important material that show in detail the clothes of the people of Unified Silla.
Clay figurines were buried instead of people as the custom of burying the living with the dead disappeared. Clay figurines come in a wide variety of types.
Clay figurine production was influenced by Chinese culture. Emperor Qin’s terracotta warriors are the most famous example.
Became sancai figurines in the Tang Dynasty.

Clay Figurines Characteristics
Figurine of a woman
Stone Chamber Tomb in Yonggang-dong, Gyeongju
- Excavated in 1986
- Figurine of a large female found together with a figurine of a small female
- Very realistic and made with advanced skills
- Wearing a long tunic that covers even the feet.
Arms crossed with hands hidden inside sleeves.
- Presumed to show the difference in social positions in Silla
- 17.2cm (Figurine of large woman)
Figurine of a Civil Official
Ancient Tomb in Yonggang-dong, Gyeongju
- Excavated in 1986
- Figurine of a bearded man from a country bordering Western China
- The figure is holding a jade slab with both hands, observing good manners. The drapes of the clothes from shoulder to the bottom are very realistic and delicate.
- Proves that Unified Silla also interacted with the countries bordering Western China including Central Asia through the Tang Dynasty
- Height: 7cm
Figurines of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals
Ancient Tomb in Yonggang-dong, Gyeongju
- Excavated in 1986
- Figurines of 12 Chinese zodiac animals that guard the land such as a tiger, rabbit, horse, sheep and dog
- Small bronze figurines found arranged within the tomb are the only figurines of their kind and unprecedented.
- Figurines with a face of an animal and body of a human
- Bare-chested but wearing draped pants that are tied at the waist with a belt
- Shows excellent bronze casting techniques accumulated since the Bronze Age
- Height: 7-8.4cm

Heteromorphic (hieroglyphic) earthenware

Earthenware that depicts a specific form created thanks
to the development of techniques and artistic ideas.
Items such as boats, houses, shoes as well as
structures, birds, horses and auspicious animals.
Often hollow, it also functioned as a liquid container.
Items that symbolically connect the land of the living
with the afterlife were chosen.

Earthenware Characteristics
Boat-shaped Earthenware
Geumnyeongchong Tomb, Gyeongju
- 1924
- Clay figure attached to hieroglyphic earthenware
- Figure of a boatman with exaggerated sexual organ
- Presumed to be ceremonial earthenware made to convey the soul to the afterlife
- Height: 9.8cm
Straw Shoe-shaped Earthenware
Tomb No. 53 in Bokcheon-dong, Busan
- Excavated date unknown
- A pair of earthenware that has straw shoes on top of the stands with mounted cups inside the straw shoes
- Made to deliver the soul of the deceased from this world to afterlife
- 16.0cm
House-shaped Earthenware
Excavated site unknown
- Excavated date unknown
- Figure of a house with rounded roof on top of 4 pillars with the floor above the ground
- Has a spout on the roof shaped like a chimney and a pouring hole in a corner of the roof, indicating that it was used as a container
- Presumed to have been used in burials or funerals. The structure of ancient houses can be studied through this artifact.
- Height: 16.8cm

The clay figures found in 1926 are from the Silla Dynasty.
Then did clay figures not exist before that?

Clay figures from other periods

Among the clay figures found, the oldest clay figure dates back to the Neolithic Age.
It is a pig-shaped clay doll excavated from the ancient ruins on Yokjido Island.
Many clay figures from the Three Kingdoms period
that had been used for religious purposes were found from the wetland in Bonghwangdong Historic Site, Gimhae.

Life of the people of Silla seen through clay figures

The people of Silla often created clay figures that reflected their daily lives.
A couple making love, a woman in the painful process of giving birth and a woman mourning in front of a body, which was created to portray death.
Some figures showed the clothing worn by the people at the time
while others depicted musicians playing the Korean zither or hunting scenes.

Some figures are detailed while others are abstract.
The most noticeable difference was one in how men and women were depicted.

Clay figures of men
Positioned as sitting or standing
Emphasized nose and ears
Clay figures of women
Emphasized breasts or wore skirts
Had eyes, nose and mouth, but no ears

Clay figures depict more than people.
In addition to dogs and cats you may have at your house, even imaginary animals were made into clay figures.

Clay figures of animals

From birds and land animals to sea creatures and imaginary beasts such as dragons,
clay figures often depicted various creatures.

From the feelings of joy, anger, sorrow and happiness
to the links between life and death,
ancient Koreans often used clay to create figures and figurines
that expressed their lives and their spiritual world.
Clay figures and figurines are the works of art
that express the immortal ideas of the ancient Koreans’ world.

-------------------------------------

Script advisor: Kim Hyeon-hee
Scenario composition: Ahn Hyeon-jin, Kim Min-sang
Voice actor: Oh Soo-gyeong
MC: Ju Hye-bin, Hwang Ba-ul
Illustration: Lee Kwang-il
Research material support: National Museum of Korea, Gyeongju National Museum, Cultural Heritage Administration, Hanseong Baekje Museum, E-Museum
Director: Kim Hyeong-woo, Lee Hyeok-roh, Lee Yeon-sik
Planning and Production: Arirang TV Media

Clay Figures, Figurines
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