Thursday, August 12, 2021

I lost my mom’s Hanbok!

Yup! I lost my mom’s Hanbok that my late dad bought for her during his trip back in the 80s. I doubt she knows/remembers owning one and that I lost it, I believe I lost it during one of the company event where we need to wear traditional attire. Sushhh….. Don’t go and tell tau.

I guess, I should do this 2 (or perhaps 3 or 4 things) first when I visit South Korea next time.
   1. Take a photo in Hanbok at one of the palaces
   2. Go buy a Hanbok as a gift to my mom
   3. Attend a Hanbok class – I bet it’ll be interesting
   4. Buy a modern Hanbok dress that is currently trending

The handbook goes as far back as the Three Kingdoms of Korea with minimal changes made or perhaps none except for the material and how the sewing is done nowadays. In present time, it is won on special occasions or during festive season.

A Hanbok is divided into 2 parts namely the jeogori (jacket), baji (trousers for male) and chima (skirt for female). It is also said that a Mongol princess who is married into Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty has brought along and assimilate the Mongolian fashion into the Korean Hanbok. Due to this, the jeogori is abit shorter (at the waist line) and is tied at the chest. The sleeves are slightly curved where else the chima was shortened.

And it is further identified by the 5 yin-and-yang elements that is white (metal), red (fire), blue (wood), black (water) and yellow (earth). Not only that, these colours symbolises the social position as well as marital status for example, bring colours are usually worn by kids meanwhile the elders wear a more subdued tone. The colours were even distinguished by yellow jeogori and red chima are often worn by singles and married or middle age women, in green and red respectively. And those with sons donned in navy colours. Very technical right.

If you think this ends here, NOOOOOOO. The upper class has the options of wearing any/many colours however the working class, back in those days are required to dress in white and match with shades of faint pink, light green, grey on special occasions. Similar with other traditional attire, upper class not only has the right to choose any colour (often opulent in tone) but the materials are usual expensive, rare and of a good quality. While cotton for commoners. In the older days, colors or dyes were extracted from natural plant - fruits or vegetables.

Any design on the material/cloth represents their wishes, a simple example will peonies flowers on a wedding dress is an aspiration for honour and wealth. Similarly, hope for nobility is being represents by lotus flowers and wish for children, pomegranates. As for animal design such as dragon, cranes and phoenixes are only for royalty and high-ranking officials.

This doesn’t end here, the Koreans are very detail and appreciate their custom – traditional attire right down to accessories and shoes. Usually a handbook is beautified with norigae; a traditional Korean accessory (ornamental tassel) that is hung from a woman's jeogori. There is also the daenggi; a traditional Korean ribbon that is used the end of a braided hair. Baetssi-daenggi is a head piece worn and is to be worn with the daenggi-meori, for married women and royalties they wear cheopji. Daenggi-meori and cheopji are differentiated by materials and design such as dragon, peacock, phoenix or flower and butterfly. Last but not least, the binyeo - a hairpin or cucuk sanggul for us Malaysian. It is made of metal, wood, jade, silver, brass or even bones.

To complete the whole attire, footwear requires the same attention. Suhye, unhye and heukhye are for woman, these is a silk embroided shoes and nowadays comes with a heel and taesahye, oikohye and jeokseok are worn by men that is made with fleece and leather.

You can easily rent a Hanbok at some of the palaces or the cultural village where you can roam around and take beautiful photos donning this beautiful Korean traditional attire.

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