Archive for the ‘Mansu Art Studio’ Category

Bronze Kim Jong il statue unveiled

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

First of all, here are the images (from the Daily NK web page):

3-stars-of-paektu.jpg  kim-jong-il-bronze-statue.jpg

The Daily NK also offers the following commentary:

A statue of Kim Jong Il has been revealed in a North Korean newspaper obtained by Open Radio for North Korea.

Open Radio managed to obtain a copy of the May 11th, 2010 “Chosun People’s Army,” the North Korean military’s own publication. That day, the publication ran a banner headline, “The greatest privilege and highest honor of the Mt Baekdu revolutionary army.”

“There has been an unveiling ceremony of statues of the ‘Three Mt. Baekdu Generals’ (Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Suk) dressed in military uniform at the Revolutionary History Museum of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces,” the front page article explained.

The report added that Chief of Staff of the Chosun People’s Army Lee Young Ho and First Vice-Director of the General Political Department of the People’s Army Kim Jung Kak took part in the ceremony.

Kim Jung Kak emphasized in his speech at the ceremony that the statue of Kim Jong Il is the first dressed in military attire, claiming, “It is the luckiest and most honorable thing in the world for the Chosun People’s Army to have this, the first statue of its highest commander dressed in military uniform.”

On the subject of the relative lack of Kim Jong Il statues, Cheong Young Tae, a researcher with the Korea Institute for National Unification, explained to The Daily NK today, “Kim Jong Il inherited the family’s ruling legitimacy by making his father the eternal ‘Suryeong’ (supreme leader). It seems, then, that the process of justifying and enhancing the legitimacy of the revolution now includes setting Kim up as the second ‘Suryeong’ in order to hand over power to the next generation.”

But while statues of Kim are rather rare, they do exist. Open Radio cited a defector as saying, “I’ve seen a Kim Jong Il statue at Kim Jong Il Political Military University in Pyongyang. However, most people do not know about it.”

“I think that is natural, because it is the only university which is named after Kim Jong Il. There is no Kim Jong Il statue in any other province or in official buildings, though” he added.

Additionally, a 2008 report asserted that a gold statue of Kim Jong Il can be found “in the area in front of the National Security Agency office building at the foot of Mt. Amee in Daesung district, Pyongyang.” This one, the report asserted, was erected on Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday in 1988, but no photos exist to corroborate the claim.

Another, white plaster statue of Kim can be found at the International Friendship Exhibition at Mt. Myohang, north of Pyongyang, this one a stalwart on the North Korean tourist trail.

Additional information:

1.  An image of the Kim Jong-il statue at Myohyangsan can be seen here (link).  Scroll down until you see it.

2.  The Kim Jong il statue reminds me of the Laurent Kabila statue in Kinshasa (both made by the Mansudae Art Studio).


Download glitch fixed: North Korea Google Earth (version 11)

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth
Download it here

This map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, markets, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the eleventh version.

Additions include: Mt. Paegun’s Ryonghung Temple and resort homes, Pyongyang’s Chongryu Restaurant, Swiss Development Agency (former UNDP office), Iranian Embassy, White Tiger Art Studio, KITC Store, Kumgangsan Store, Pyongyang Fried Chicken Restaurant, Kilju’s Pulp Factory (Paper), Kim Chaek Steel Mill, Chongjin Munitions Factory, Poogin Coal Mine, Ryongwun-ri cooperative farm, Thonggun Pavilion (Uiju), Chinju Temple (Yongbyon), Kim il Sung Revolutionary Museum (Pyongsong), Hamhung Zoo, Rajin electrified perimeter fence, Pyongsong market (North Korea’s largest), Sakju Recreation Center, Hoeryong Maternity Hospital, Sariwon Suwon reservoir (alleged site of US massacre), Sinpyong Resting Place, 700 Ridges Pavilion, Academy of Science, Hamhung Museum of the Revolutionary Activities of Comrade Kim Il Sung, South Hamgyong House of Culture, Hamhung Royal Villa, Pork Chop Hill, and Pyongyang’s Olympic torch route. Additional thanks go to Martyn Williams for expanding the electricity grid, particularly in Samjiyon, and various others who have contributed time improving this project since its launch.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.  Additionally, this file is getting large and may take some time to load.


High maintenance personality

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

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.