ON MANSU HILL NEXT TO Moran Hill in Pyongyang
there stands the Chollima Statue that depicts a winged horse flying through clouds.
Chollima is a legendary horse (sounding ma in Korean) that is said to cover a thousand ri (pronounced cholli in Korean) in a day. (One thousand ri equals 250 miles.) The horse is still seen flying in the sky in the centre of the capital city.
It is meaningful that Korea built its first equestrian statue in the form of the legendary horse. The Third Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea held in April 1956 put forward the first five-year plan for socialist economic construction. It reflected the people’s desire to get free from the difficult situation of the country and their backwardness as soon as possible.
Only with their own strength the Korean people took ten or a hundred steps when others took one—under the banner of “Charge at the speed of Chollima!”
Chollima soared in Kangson first. The Kangson Steelworks (Chollima Steel Complex at present) produced 120 000 tons of steel billets a year using a blooming mill with an annual capacity of 60 000 tons. This kind of enthusiasm swept across the country, shattering conservatism, passivism, mysticism about technology and other hangovers of old ideas that hindered progress.
The workers of the Kumsong Tractor Factory produced the nation’s first tractor in 35 days, and named it Chollima. This was followed by the nation’s own manufacture of trucks, bulldozers, water pumps, excavators, lorry-mounted cranes, an 8-metre turning lathe and electric locomotives. And the socialist system was established through the socialist transformation of the relations of production.
“We do not know the words 99%. One hundred percent shames us. Three hundred percent is usual. Something like five hundred or one thousand percent is good.” This reflected the people’s enthusiasm for work at that time.
A European writer said: Chollima is a symbol of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s speed of advance towards the most developed modernization like the speed of “Sputnik (an artificial satellite).”
The people at that time were also refined in personality. A 20-year-old girl, a farm worker from Hamju County, rescued seven pupils from an iced river. This kind of thing was commonplace in those days.
It was in the Chollima era that the transformation of people, society and nature was done through collective innovation.
After there came a report that the Chollima Statue representative of the era was to be erected, over 300 designs of the statue were presented for the prize from across the country in about five months.
The design which artists drew on the basis of them was far from the present statue. Studying the design President Kim II Sung said: If only a person is seated on the horse, our posterity will regard the person as a certain hero representative of the era. Now is the era of the people, so their image should be depicted. The statue should be designed to tell that those who erected this city, that is, the masters of the Chollima, are the people, not an individual hero.
Artists went to meet good workers across the country to search for the model of a worker to be seated on the horse, and stayed at the horse house of the zoo to observe the ecological features of the animal and its way of running. They also studied all birds to draw the model of the fastest wing giving the feeling that the horse flies at a fantastic speed. And they drew clouds beneath its hooves over which it would seem to be galloping.
Later a model of the statue was erected, and two opinion books were put beneath it. Pyongyang citizens and people from provinces came to see it and wrote their opinions on the books.
In April 1961 the statue was completed thanks to collective wisdom. A male industrial worker and a female farm worker are seated on the horse in order to represent all strata of society. It was made at the speed of Chollima: it was completed in nearly 40 days, instead of previously supposed six months.
In the early 20th century a European writer, back home from a visit to Korea, made a sculptured figure depicting a boy standing in depression with an A-frame on his back, and referred to it as the image of the Koreans. Half a century later the writer revisited Korea and saw the statue. He then said it was the true image of the Koreans.
To the Korean people the statue is not merely a symbol of an era in history. It is a witness to the mettle of the people who want to rise higher and faster at the speed of the legendary horse to achieve national prosperity.
In the past the Korean people rushed forward, compressing ten or a hundred days into one. Now, however, they are riding Mallima making rapid progress day and night.
Regarding self-development as the only way to live they are carrying on the era of creation and change astride Mallima.