Kim Equites

This magnificent equestrian statue is that of the Eternal President of North Korea, Kim Il-sung and his grandson, the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. You might've heard the urban legend that the positioning of the horse's hooves implies how the soldier riding it died - be it in battle, due to battle wounds, or outside of battle. Despite what you may have heard, it is merely that, an urban legend. Today the Supreme Leader is alive and well, although the hoof-positioning would imply he died in battle, if you were to believe the myth.

This statue, and many others like it, were created at the Mansudae Art Studio. A tour of the studio is impressive, for it's one of the largest centers of art production in the world. The studio employs 4,000, of which 1,000 are artists. By manner of apples-to-oranges comparison, Lucasfilm, the creators and producers of Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, employs 2,000 people.

You can find monuments and statues like this one throughout North Korea. It's almost like a monument scavenger hunt as you travel through the nation seeing monument after monument, but they are truly impressive. A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into the creation of innumerable monuments.

The studio itself, in addition to creating these grand statues, also produces everything from paintings to ceramics, and even has an international division responsible for producing grand statues for countries overseas. The African Renaissance Monument is perhaps the most famous of their overseas projects, and a monument I hope to one day have a chance to see. 

All public images of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un are produced by the studio as well. It reminds me of these tiny shops in imperial countries. The ones where you find some shop that produces all the buttons for the British crown, or the ceramic for the Japanese Emperor. I made that up, but I know there's situations along those lines, except in this case, it's prominent public art, so it's kind of a big deal in North Korea.