High maintenance personality

Last August I posted an excerpt from Andrei Lankov’s book, North of the DMZ, on the preservation of Kim il Sung’s body in Kamsusan Memorial Palace.  This year, the Daily NK (here and here) provides some new information on Kim il Sung’s imposing presence on the North Korean landscape.

First some statistics:

1.  There are approximately 70 Kim il Sung statues in North Korea (large statues a la Mansu Hill in Pyongyang).

2.  There are approximately 30,000 plaster busts.

3.  There are approximately 140,000 monuments and memorials

4.  There is allegedly one Kim Jong il statue in Pyongyang (although the Daily NK is the only source I have ever heard make this claim). 

5.  The first Kim il Sung statue was at the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School on 10/24/1948.  The second was in front of the Changjeon School in 1949. The most recent is at Kim il Sung University in 1996. 

Apparently all of the statues are made of bronze, but are coated in a gold paint every two years to prevent them from corroding.  The gold paint is allegedly imported from Germany (Can any German readers/speakers find out which German company supplies the paint?  How much? And at what cost? ).   

All of the likenesses of the Great Leader are exclusively constructed by the Mansudae Art Studio’s “Number One Works Department”  in Pyongyang.  The workers in this group are tested annually by a deliberation committee so they can be certified to work on Kim statues, etc.  These individuals are the only ones legally allowed to reproduce the leader’s image in North Korea.

Once a Kim statue is completed, it is transported by numerous agencies (security, party, and artists) to its destination where it is erected.  Lamps are supposed to shine on the statues from 10:00pm until 4:00am.  Local citizens are charged with keeping the area around the statue tidy (which can be verified on Google Earth).  In the event of an emergency (such as a war), many statues allegedly have dedicated bunkers in which they can be stored.


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