[KS] Gold leaf on the Kim Il Sung statue in the Mansudae Grand Monument?

Kirk Larsen kwlarsen67 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 18:27:30 EST 2012

Hello all,

I have often heard it said that the mammoth Kim Il Sung statue that long
graced the Mansudae Grand Monument (before recently being updated and
placed side by side with a similarly large statue of Kim Jong Il) was
originally covered in gold leaf. But, as the story usually goes, an
expression of distaste by a visiting PRC official (sometimes Deng Xiaoping,
sometimes someone else) and a threat to reduce Chinese aid to the DPRK
resulted in the gold leaf being removed.

My question is whether anyone has seen or has access to a photograph of the
original gold-plated version of the statue? My cursory fumbling around the
web has not resulted in any such image. I am beginning to wonder whether
the story is actually true (and whether perhaps some early visitors mistook
the new, shiny bronze for gold?).

Any experts able and willing to weigh in on this?


Kirk W. Larsen
Department of History
Assistant Director, Academic Programs and Research
David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies
2151 JFSB
Provo, UT 84602-6707
(801) 422-3445
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