Outdoor museum at Kyungpook National University

If you visit Kyungpook National University there is an outdoor display of structures that are dated from the Bronze Age to the Goryeo Dynasty period. For those unfamiliar with these kinds of structures, this space could be mistaken for a massive graveyard. Thankfully that isn’t the case. Relics from the surrounding areas of Sangin-dong, Icheon-dong, Dalseong-gun, Chilgok-gun, and Seojae-ri have been relocated here to form the central cultural facilities of the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region. It’s a great place to get a more expansive understanding of different customs and cultures from the course of the eras.

 

Dolmen

These are some of the most ancient structures in the country. They are very simple stone graves that were constructed in the Bronze Age. It isn't clear how many have been recorded and registered, but there could easily be tens of thousands since a large percentage of dolmens around the world exist on the Korean peninsula. They demonstrate the marvelous ability of the prehistoric people to move and raise stones in a way that they remain erect for thousands of years.

Pagoda

Korea’s stone pagodas are considered architectural masterpieces. When they first emerged in India they were made from soil. China, Korea, and Japan settled for wooden pagodas, but Korea began to popularize high-quality granite stone pagodas around the early 7th or 8th century. Through an extremely complicated development process starting from India and going through China, it is difficult to justify the exact history of pagodas on the Korean peninsula. Just keep in mind that there are more than 1,000 of them are registered.

Stupa

Large and eerily designed stupas are often seen around hermitages or temple complexes surrounded by other headstone-like relics. There are 2 types: one for Buddha (budo), and one for highly-rank monks (seungtop). Each one constructed to enshrine relics and keepsakes of Buddha and monks who pass away.

Headless Buddha statues

There are three main parts that make-up a Buddha statue: the body, the halo, and the pedestal. With the body being the most important part, the head plays an important role as well. There are plenty of reasons why a statue can lose its head. Some of the more popular ones being an enemy invasion and the replacement of statues, but a bigger obvious reason exists: the neck is the most fragile part, thus making it more prone to damage and erosion. And when this happens, it is almost impossible to restore it to its original position. Even worst, it could fall off unbeknownst to anyone  and roll away down a mountain or a hill.

Monster roof tiles

Upon entering a building, temple, or even a tomb, you were bound to come face-to-face with this kind of roof tile. Its pattern depicts the hideous, exaggerated face of a vicious monster that people believed warded off evil spirits like ghosts, imps, demons. These unique works of art, defined by their vast mouths, plump noses, deep eyes, and monstrous teeth, were used to deck out the lower floors and the ridges and corners of the roof. Originating from Chinese stonemasons that built brassware, these made their way to ancient Korea during the Three Kingdoms Period. In Goguryeo (one of the kingdoms) these convex tiles were introduced but peaked in popularity in the Unified Silla Kingdom after culture and arts flourished. The Unified Silla Kingdom was established after the Silla Kingdom conquered the other 2 kingdoms (Baekje and Goguryeo) and combined them into one big state. By the time the Goryeo era came in 935, these tiles gradually decreased in popularity and were seen as just a person with an extremely bizarre face.

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