The pine is the national tree of the DPRK.
The tree has long been the subject of poetic and musical composition and an important theme of murals and other fine art works.
A legend has it that Solgo, a renowned artist of Silla, depicted a pine tree on a wall so lifelike that the birds trying to alight on its branch ran into it to fall down. The trees are represented vividly on ancient tomb murals and the art of painting the tree is detailed in old document Rimwonsimnyukji.
Such historical data tell that Korean ancestors liked to draw the tree and paid close attention to the study of art of painting it.
In the DPRK there is an area where special affection for the tree can be felt in a concentrated way.
It is Kaesong which was called Songdo, or a town of pines, in the past.
Wang Kon, the founder king of Koryo, set it as a primary task to plant the tree all across the city including mountains in order to green it and make it assume the features as the capital of the country as he built the kingdom. And a mountain in the city was named Mt Songak meaning a mountain covered with pines.
The ancestors were very fond of the tree and raised it with so much attachment.
They practised the custom of planting and tending the tree on significant occasions including holidays and wedding day.
The Koreans’ emotion reflected on the pine can also be felt through their traditional sayings.
Typical of them include “You will notice the greenness of pine in the depth of winter”, “You will realize the constancy of pine and bamboo in the dead of winter”, “Like blazing pine resin” and “To look for a needle in a pine grove”.