We launched leggings! Step into a world of individuality.

Door riddle (1) by Marjolein Katsma

Currently unavailable for purchase

Available to buy on…

Share this page Photo © 2006 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma

Tags for this photograph:
door, locked, handle, bag, door furniture, door hardware, door ironwork, door bag, wood, iron, padlock, north korea, dprk

What’s that little bag for?

While in North Korea in 2006, I noticed such a little bag on a door on three occasions, and managed to get a shot of two of them (it’s hard to get any shot at all of anything at all that is not a tourist destination in North Korea). I asked our friendly guide what it was, or what it was for, and she didn’t know either. In fact, she asked our other guide, who came up empty as well. It was as if they’d never even noticed something like this!

So, it may forever be a riddle.

This particular shot was taken in very bad light, and as a result is of poor technical quality. That can’t be helped, there was no second chance either. I just worked on it to make it as clear as possible, because the subject is so unusual. See the related shot (click on the image below) for a better-quality shot of a different, but similar, ‘door bag’.

To my inexperienced eye, this bit of door hardware looks much older than the other one.

Taken in North Korea, 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix F30

Suggested product (Click on an image for more options)

Greeting card


Door riddle (2)

Please note that ‘pinning’ of my work is NOT ALLOWED. If you do, you will be committing fraud and copyright infringement. See my full profile for more!

I have two passions: travel and photography – and these are often combined. Though even in my own city I often have a camera with me!

When I am not actually taking photographs or working on photographs, you may find me busy programming or otherwise working on my websites.

View Full Profile


  • Susana Weber
    Susana Weberabout 3 years ago

    I like both of these very much! The mystery adds to their appeal and you’ve captured and presented them beautifully!!

  • Thank you, Susana!
    I don’t know if this ’door bag riddle will ever be solved (though awefaul came up with a possible lead)… I just came across one of them when looking for something else, remembered there was another one, and decided to post them. Somewhat outside of my box, but every now and then we just need to have a bit of fun. ;)

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Ethna Gillespie
    Ethna Gillespieabout 3 years ago

    This is great! (As is Riddle (2)!) awefaul’s possibility sounds like it might be so. I like the idea of that, protecting the lock.

  • Yes, the more I think about that possibility, the more likely it sounds to me.
    Thanks for your nice comment and the faves, Ethna!

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Maree Cardinale
  • Thank you so much Maree for including this in that awesome set of features! That’s also wonder-ful. :)

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • And I should thank you as well for adding this to your favorites! :)

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Mark Braham
    Mark Brahamabout 3 years ago

    Great Shot
    Did you ever find out ?

    I think its for putting the rings that lock together in so they don’t bang on the door then you open and close it.

  • Thank you for the compliment and for another idea, Mark! No, I haven’t truly found out, though I thought awefaul’s idea was a good one – but I think yours (closely related) is a good one, too!

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • vigor
    vigorabout 3 years ago

    That’s interesting, I wonder if it could have something to do with warding off evil spirits? Great capture though. Congrats on your feature!

  • Thank you for the compliment and congratulations, Vivian! Now your idea is an interesting one, too! But I have no idea whether that kind of ‘magical thinking’ has a place in Korean culture. Short of the fearsome ‘temple watchers’ one finds in Buddhist temples everywhere who are definitely supposed to ward of evil – but I’ve only ever seen these little bags in (North) Korea.

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • vigor
    vigorabout 3 years ago

    I hope you can find out, I thought any non Christian country would have ways to ward of evil spirits, but I don’t know much about Korea I must admit.

  • Wendi Donaldson
    Wendi Donaldsonabout 3 years ago

    Delightful ‘surprise’ there!! Such a mystery! Nicely spotted too.

  • Thank you for visiting my portfolio, Wendi! The biggest surprise for me was that I later found (and could photograph) another one, so I’m glad I shot this one, too, in spite of the poor light. Thank you for your nice comment.

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Woepi
    Woepiabout 3 years ago

    super mooi voor de Challenge. Fascinerende vondst !

  • Dankjewel, Woepi, ook voor de fave! Nog steeds geen echte oplossing voor het mysterie, alleen een paar (plausibele) ideeën – misschien moet ik nog eens terug naar Korea om erachter te komen…

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • kappisan
    kappisanabout 3 years ago

    Fabulous Images!!:D
    Love em Both!!:)
    Big Congratulations on your Feature!!:)
    lievegroet,Kappi (’tzusje van woepi!:D)

  • Dankjewel Kappi! :)

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Woepi
    Woepialmost 3 years ago

    Hi Marjolein, Sorry I gave you the wrong banner ! Congratulations You are Top 10 winner in the Miksang callenge! XWM

  • Yay! :) Thank you Woepi, that was a fun challenge!!

    – Marjolein Katsma

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.