It is presumed that at some point in the very remote past, people began using animal hide or bark to make clothes. However, we do not know exactly when people started using thread or making clothes with it. Eventually, a spinning wheel was used to make threads, and with the emergence of weaving, people could start making cloth. It is possible that hand looms were invented on the Korea Peninsula around the 5th century AD, as they are depicted in the Goguryeo mural painting in Maxian-gou No.1 tomb, Jian, Jilin Province, China. Weaving accessories, such as reeds and spools, dating back to the 2nd century BC have also been unearthed from the historic site in Sinchang-dong, Gwangju.
- Bone Needles and Implements
- Spindle Whorls
- Tool with Hole
During the Joseon period, the types and colors of the official robes worn by government officials were determined by their status and the occasion on which they were required to wear them. There were three types of official robes: the jobok was worn on a celebratory occasion, at the announcement of a royal edict or on other important state occasions; the jebok, whose color and accessories differed from those of the jobok, was worn at the performance of a sacrificial ritual to the spirits of the deceased royal ancestors; and the sangbok was worn during the performance of one’s daily duties.
- Jobok, Official Ceremonial Robe
- Husu, Ornamental Back Sash for Ceremonial Robe
- Yanggwan, Men’s Ceremonial Hat
Royal clothes are designed to display the wearer’s dignity and authority as well as enhance their beauty. The royal robes of Korea were sometimes provided by China, and were an important part of the royal family culture. An institution known as the Sanguiwon was responsible for providing the everyday articles and clothes used by the royal family. The institution comprised a needlework section, an embroidery section, and a yarning section. Royal clothes may be viewed as artworks that display the best skills and materials of the period.
- Prince Regent Heungseon’s Insignia with Imaginary Creature
- Pattern for Empress's Ceremonial Robe
- Dragon Insignia for Royal Family
- Red Dragon Robe for Men
Getting married was regarded as the most important ceremony in one’s life. During the Joseon period, commoners could only wear a designated type of clothing, but they were allowed to wear the royal court’s mode of dress on their wedding day. Generally, the bridegroom wore a blue dress with a U-necked lapel, while the bride wore a red ceremonial dress. The use of the colors blue and red symbolized the harmony between yin and yang, bridegroom and bride.
- Hwarot, Bridal Robe
- Jinjuseon, Fan for Bride
- Embroidered Silk Ribbon for Bride
n olden times, it was thought that men’s outward appearance was not a matter of simple ornamentation but an expression of their inner mind. Diverse types of outer garments were worn to suit different occasions. Even at home, gentlemen dressed in the proper attire until they went to bed. Different types of hats were worn with different garments. The various types of everyday clothes included cheollik (an official uniform for military officers), jingnyeong (an official uniform for military officers, with wide sleeves and stiff lapels), dopo (full-dress attire), changui (daily clothes worn by government officials, and durumagi (an outer coat), dapho and jeonbok (without sleeves).
- Coat with Pleats for Men
- Hairpins for Men·Headband buttons
- Hairband and Hairband Attachment for Men
During the Joseon period, it was customary to fill the space in the coffin with clothes of the deceased’s family members. The quality and quantity of such clothes displayed the family’s wealth and social status. Such clothes are collected when relocating the tombs of a member of a noble family. Their coffins were sealed with lime to prevent the corpse and the clothes from decaying.
- Long Coat for women
- Gwak Ju’s Letters
- Shoes for shroud
In Korea, parents hold a special birthday party on the occasion of their child’s first birthday. Traditionally, the child would be dressed in brightly colored clothes, with the sleeves of the jacket adorned with the five basic colors. Boys wore trousers, girls a long skirt. A durumagi (an outer coat) was also worn. The headgear worn by boys was called a hogeon or bokgeon, and that worn by girls, a jobawi.
- Kkachidurumagi, Children’s Ceremonial Coat
- Children’s Headgear
- Doltti, Belt for a Child's First Birthday
Dyeing techniques and clothing patterns differ from country to country, depending on the natural environment, the climate, and people’s characteristics. Ethnic minorities in China and Thailand developed unique skills of textile dyeing, including a technique whereby patterns are expressed by exploiting the difference in the speed at which dyeing materials are absorbed into a fabric by means of wax or fastened threads.
- Ikat Shawl
- Sari, Wrapping Clothe for Women
Each country has its own traditional or folk dress that has developed over a long period of time. However, with the spread of European culture throughout the world, western attire has been adopted as the world’s universal mode of dress. Asians wear their own traditional clothing only on special occasions.
- Wedding Dress
- Miao Woman’s Ensemble
- Ceremonial Coronet
In Korea, the seven basic items used in sewing (i.e. needle, ruler, scissors, small iron, larger iron, thread, and thimble) have long been regarded as essential items for every housewife. Simple though they may seem, the skills of cloth cutting, sewing, and embroidery require many years of apprenticeship and experience. The ladies’ living room was a place where young girls learned how to make clothes or run the household economy from their mother and grandmother.
- Five-coloerd Pouch
- Medicine Pouch
- Embroidered Sidepiece of Pillow