Women, Lives and Thoughts

Sookmyung Women’s University Museum

Korean Women' s Writing and Painting of Joseon dynasty, 1392-1910

Women, Lives and Thoughts
Women were not allowed to work in public service and had little chance of an education. This is why there are relatively few writings and paintings by women. Letters written in Hangeul, including private correspondence from queens and princesses to their relatives beyond the palace walls, reveal something of their everyday lives and concerns, subtly expressed.
The Calligraphy of Women

Jawisutaek is a collection of manuscripts written by the 80-year-old princess Jeongmyeong for her youngest son Hong Manhoe. These are extracts from ‘So Hak’, a book for children under seven.

Calligraphy by Queen Sunjeonghyo Yun (1894 – 1966) who was the wife of King Sunjong. It says that a balance of yin and yang brings good luck.

This is the Chinese character calligraphy done by Lady Lee Bang-ja, the esteemed wife of Prince Lee Eun, who was the last prince of Joseon Dynasty. The letter means long life.

This is a white porcelain with pictures decorated with Lady Lee Bang-ja, the esteemed wife of Prince Lee Eun, who was the last prince of Joseon Dynasty.

Soonhwaguang Records
Seasonal Record of Korean Clothes and The Record of National Costumes of Korea were written by the Royal Concubine Kim during the reign of Hyeonjong, the 24th King of the Joseon Dynasty. Written in a court style in the Soonhwaguna Palace, where she stayed, these booklets are also called Soonhwaguang Records.

Ancients women dressed up in tune with four seasons, Not only the colors of clothes, but also textiles and accessories like hairpins, pendants and rings, were in harmony with distinctive features of seasons, Seasonal Record of Korean Clothes made a detailed record of textiles, colors and accessories from January until December. This is an invaluable material to studying the history of Korean women's apparels.

The Record of National Mourning Costumes of Korea recorded the death anniversaries of the kings and queens starting from the first king of Joseon. it also described the mouring clothes of the nation. Joseon Dynasty oppressed Buddhism, while encouraging Confucianism. Worshipping ancestors being the supreme virtue, queens of the court were greatly interested in death anniversaries as well as clothes for mourning and funeral.

Court Letter
Sealed letters of the court (宮中封書) are the greetings by wives of prince or king (妃嬪) to their homes (本宅). They are written by themselves or by court clerks on their behalf. 

Court epistles are divided into two: a short letter from the people to the court and a reply letter from the court to the people. The court letters were either royal writings from the king and queen or court women's writings on behalf of the royal family. They were characteristic of grace and politeness.

This court letter to Mrs. Kim from Gwangsan, the first wife of Yun Yongu, written by Wanheung, a court lady.

This court letter written by Ms Ha, a court lady in the service of Queen Shinjeong Jo.

This puzzle-type character is Combined in the form of Chinese characters with Hangul's vowels and consonants.

Letter of Regards
In the Joseon period, an essential education for women included learning hangeul (Korean alphabet) as well as learning how to write a letter of regards to one’s parents and practicing handwriting before they got married. Writing a letter of regards to one’s parents was one of the customary practices of filial piety, and it was a skill that was just as essential as sewing skills for women.

This is the collection of writings by women of the Shin-chang Maeng Family (新昌孟氏家). Twenty-one women of the 7 generations wrote 33 pieces including advices, deeds, recipes, memoranda and miscellaneous writings in Korean. The collection ranges from 1588 to 1861 for 50 years.

Letter From Dalseong Seo Family (maternal grandmother) To Maeng Ji Dae (grandson) in The Book of Writings by Women of the Shin-chang Maeng Family

Letter From Madame Lee To son in The Book of Writings by Women of the Shin-chang Maeng Family

Lette From Jeonju Lee Family (Mother) To Maeng Heum-gu (Son) in The Book of Writings by Women of the Shin-chang Maeng Family

Shin Sa-im-dang's Painting with Flower, Bees and Butterflies
These are assumed the pictures of flowers and insects embroidered by Shin Sa-im-dang. (申師任當,1504-1551) She is the poetess-calligrapher-painter of the Joseon Dynasty. Also embroidered are the peony for wealth, and stones for longevity. Painted are butterflies representing happy home and family. 
Heo Nan-seol-heon's Painting with the Crane
Heo Nan-seol-heon (1563-1589) is sister of Heo Gyun and a poetess in the mid-Joseon dynasty. Her poetry contain desire to leave the world and to enter the immortal world. She also painted a crane that the immortal used to ride. This painting is assumed to her works.
Sookmyung Women's University Museum
Credits: Story

Management│Rhie, Jin-Min
Chief Editor│Hong, Kyoung-A, Jung, Hyeran
Assistant│Park, Hyekyung, Kim, Nahyun, Kim, Songrim, Lee, Hyewon
Visual Editor│Kim, Nahyun
Photography│Han, Jungyoup(Han Studio)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google