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Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
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Unlikely art: crash-test-dummy Pietà on a rooftop Seoul  South Korea

Unlikely art: crash-test-dummy Pietà on a rooftop

Tired, but determined not to succumb to jet-lag on my first evening in Seoul in almost two decades, I went for a walk in the Bukchon neighborhood...no backpack, no camera--just my iPhone in my pocket. One of the first things that caught my eye was this unlikely art on a rooftop: a crash-test-dummy interpretation of the Pietà--Huh?!

"Bukchon" is a neighborhood just north of the downtown core of Seoul--one of the few areas in the city to still have some traditional tile-roofed courtyard houses (called 'hanok') from the end of the 19th century. It's tucked in between two of the Joseon-dynasty royal compounds (Gyeongbok Palace to the west and Changdeok Palace to the east).

I ended up spending a few days here at the beginning and the end of my trip. Some local residents complain of the gentrification of the neighborhood, but right now there are still many privately-owned 'hanok' houses...and interspersed with these are restaurants, b&b's, boutiques, and an increasing number of art galleries and museums.