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Boy Attendants (Dong-ja), Pair of Figures

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
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)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 83.174.1-.2
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Stanley L. Wallace
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    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
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