Skip Navigation

Boy Attendants (Dong-ja), Pair of Figures

Asian Art

Small carved-wood statues of young servants were a common sight in Korean Buddhist temples, where they appeared at the foot of larger sculptures of Buddhist deities. These boy attendants, known as dongja, are usually shown bringing gifts to the gods: here one boy brings a turtle (a symbol of longevity), while the other has a covered tray, presumably containing food. Each is carved from a single block of wood; scientific testing of the wood indicates that it was allowed to dry for as long as two hundred years before being carved. This long tempering process reduced the risk of cracking.
MEDIUM Polychromed wood
  • Place Made: Korea
  • DATES 18th century
    DYNASTY Joseon Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 83.174.1: 19 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (50.5 x 24.1 x 21.6 cm) 83.174.2: 19 11/16 x 9 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (50 x 24.1 x 21.6 cm) base: 1 1/8 x 9 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (2.9 x 24.1 x 21.6 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 83.174.1-.2
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Stanley L. Wallace
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Boy Attendants (Dong-ja), Pair of Figures, 18th century. Polychromed wood, 83.174.1: 19 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (50.5 x 24.1 x 21.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Stanley L. Wallace, 83.174.1-.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 83.174.1-.2_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 83.174.1-.2_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.