VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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mile post in form of a guardian spirit
MVK 21462
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The grotesque style and humorous facial expression of the guardian spirit make this post a special example of its kind. It has a red coloured face with big expressive black and white coloured eyes and a huge grin showing white teeth. A special feature are the beard and eyebrows which further accentuate the face by the horsehair attached to them.

History of the Object
This object was donated to the museum by Josef Haas (1847-1896) in 1887. He had been appointed as Vice Consul in Shanghai in 1883 and put in charge of organizing the Korean customs in 1884. He probably travelled to Korea in that capacity and could have aquired this mile post during one of his trips.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
painted wood, horse hair 
Measurements
Height 61 cm  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Korea 
Geography
Korea 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; 1885 (before) 
Function
According to its Chinese inscription, this mile post indicates the distance of 30 li to the city of Kŭmsŏng (Golden City) the former capital of the Silla kingdom and today's Kyŏngju. At the same time, its form as changsŭng indicates its religious function as a guardian spirit of the locality where it was placed. 
Acquisition
donated to the museum in 1887 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property, Republic of Austria 
Museum
Weltmuseum Wien 
Credit line
 

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