On the last day of our time in Pyongyang we got to go for a (guided) walk along the bank of the Taedong River. As I have indicated in my review of that walk it could have been a walk along a river anywhere but when we reached the sculpture in the attached picture, at the end of the walk, I was somewhat taken aback.
My goodness, had I come across a non-politically inspired sculpture, art for arts sake? If I had it would be the first (and last) encountered on our trip. On approaching the sculpture I saw the guide telling a few of our group about it but by the time I arrived (I had drifted back a bit along the walk, but, Dear Reader, do not worry there was a minder taking up the rear) the guides explanation had finished.
I have since been unable to find any information on the sculpture but I suspect that it is not art for the sake of art. From other reviews I have written, you will be aware that pretty much everything done in North Korea is for the glorification of the Kim dynasty and, presuming the sculpture was produced in the Mansudae Art Studio it would certainly be politically inspired.
On the basis of other reading I have done I suspect the sculpture is of five Manchurian cranes.
On the death of both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il various strange super natural phenomena occurred all over North Korea and many of these involved cranes.
In the case of Kim Il-sung, 1000 angelic cranes descended from the sky to bring the Great Leader up to heaven. Having seen the sombre and grieving state of the people and their evident need for the Great Leader here on earth the cranes returned without the Leader who shortly afterwards became the Eternal President of the DPRK and still rules the country from his Mausoleum in the Palace of the Sun on the outskirts of Pyongyang.
When the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, died it is reported that in addition to the mountains glowing crimson and bears weeping by the roadside, a crane flew around a statue of his father, Kim Il Sung, before sitting on a tree with its head drooped in grief while another crane mysteriously stiffened and died on a tree branch that stood close to where Kim Jong Il had posed for a photo some years earlier.
As the cranes in this sculpture are heaven bound I assume it commemorates the death of Kim Il-sung.
For us, the sight of the cranes was surely a sign from heaven that it was time for a drink. Low and behold a pub appeared into which we made our way.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on my trip to Pyongyang. I suggest you continue with my next entry – ‘Kim Jong-Ale’ – or to start the loop at the beginning go to – Pyongyang – A Capital City Unlike any Other