Faces in the Relics of the Prehistoric Age


In many relics of the Korean prehistoric age, the human faces are distinctly shaped. The faces seem to express the shape of the gods, beliefs of prehistoric humans, rather than providing a realistic description of human beings of the time.
Human face earthenware from the prehistoric age, unearthed in Osan-ri, Yangyang-gun, was shaped by firmly pressing the small, round earthen board with fingers. The pressing print on the lower part expressed lips and the four prints on the upper side could be eyebrows and two eyes, or four eyes. Clay figures of human shape made from clay are occasionally found in the prehistoric age ruins. The relic excavated from the shell grave in Yul-ri Geumgok-dong, Busan symbolizes female genital. The clay figure of Sinam-ri Yangsan , though part of the head has been thrown away, symbolizes not a woman but an earth goddess, symbol of richness and fecundity, considering the large breast, slim waist and exaggerated hip which shows the side of their incantatory lives. The shell face found in Dong-sam dong, Busan is a kind of mask with two eyes and a mouth expressed by holes in the shell. A mask is often used in a shaman ceremony because it can be used as an implement to deny and change oneself into a god by supernatural power.

In the rock-carved illustration in Daegok-ri and Cheonjeon-ri Ulsan-gun , made from the Bronze age to the early Iron age, is engraved the shape of a mask figured of a human face. Contrary with that, most of the clay figures made in the New Stone age have female shapes, while most of the Bronze age relics express male shapes. It shows that in reaching the Bronze age, agriculture had become important in the economic livelihood and males took extended roles and the power of the patriarch had become stronger in the society and in the end the male god overwhelmed the female god, the earth goddess. The bone-made man figure with the goggled eyes, bulged-out high cheekbones, and compressed, stubborn mouth, which was unearthed in a stone coffin grave of Yeongil Soyeongja , the remains of the early Bronze age, is regarded as a father god, shaped as an authoritative male - the patriarch.
Besides, most of the clay figures of the Bronze age discovered in Musan Tiger's Area were expressions of males. The strong evidence of this is the man tilling the soil in the Farming Record of Bronze Tool. On it is expressed a sweating working man who tills the soil treading behind a big plow with his phallus exposed. This change in the subject of expression shows that the incantatory world of the New Stone age (where the earth goddess was worshiped) was developed into the society where agriculture and social specialization were emphasized.