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Rice Cake Mallet

unknownRepublic of Korea/Since the Liberation of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea

This is a rice cake mallet used to smash rice or rice cakes on a wooden plate or a flat stone to render a soft and chewy texture. The mallet consists of a long wooden cylinder and a long wooden handle driven into the cylinder at a right angle. It was shaped differently depending on the region: in the southern regions, the handle was attached to the top end of the cylinder with a long lower part; and the type widely used in the central regions had a relatively short handle since it was attached to the center of the cylinder. Mallets made of boxwood were considered to be the best. Since it is heavy enough to thoroughly pound rice cake, it was used by strong men to grip the handle, lift the mallet and smash the rice paste. During this process, women kneaded and mixed the rice paste while wetting their hands to prevent from sticking to the paste. Every region has a variety of songs sung during this process. The mallet is made of hardwood such as oak, sawleaf zelkova, and jujube, and the head is relatively big with two flat ends. The part into which the handle is driven is often cut in half so that greater force can be applied. There is a proverb that says, “The rice-cake mallet is smaller in a rich man’s house,” which implies that the rich tend to be close-fisted.

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  • Title: Rice Cake Mallet
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: Republic of Korea/Since the Liberation of Korea
  • Location: 한국
  • Physical Dimensions: Length 85 Breadth 50
  • Type: Eating/Processing/General Processing/Rice Cake Mallet
  • Medium: Wood

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