The Korean Bell of Friendship to get new totem poles

May 7, 2014
The female half of the pair was damaged last year. / Park Sang-hyuk, The Korea Times

The female half of the pair was damaged last year. (Park Sang-hyuk)

The Korean Bell of Friendship, which sits inside Angel’s Gate Park in San Pedro, will soon be joined by a pair of newly restored traditional Korean totem poles.

According to the Korean Friendship Bell Preservation Committee, the craftsmen who helped restore the bell late last year will be responsible for the creation of the poles — two generals, a man and a woman.

Currently, only the man is standing, as the bottom part of the other became damaged last year. Plans to restore the poles to coincide with the bell’s restoration were pushed back.

Committee President Park Sang-joon said they originally agreed to receive a pair of poles created for last year’s Korean festival in L.A. but that a decision was made to install more durable pieces at the park. They plan to use the poles from the festival at the gallery for the bell.

The new pair of totem poles will be installed at the site will coincide with Independence Day on July 4.

Korean totem poles, called jangseung, were traditionally used as village guardians and placed at the edges of villages to ward off demons.

The craftsmen have sent wood samples and models and are now in the process of finishing up the replacement poles, the committee said.

“The craftsmen have promised to use the best wood available to make the totem poles according to the expectations of the Korean community,” the committee said.

Kim Soo-chul, a San Pedro resident who visits the site often, said many area residents have been visiting the newly restored pavilion but that it has been a disappointment to see the female pole missing.

“I hope the new poles are installed quickly, and I would like to see an information sign installed explaining them to the people here,” he said.