Embroidery Culture of Korea
『Gyeongguk Daejeon (Great Code of National Governance)』, which was completed during King Seongjong’s reign over Joseon, there was a provision to “differentiate the embroidered pattern and ring according to the official grade of the subjects,” and to be more specific, a cloud and crane design with a gold ring was designated for those of 1-pum and 2-pum, an eagle design with a silver ring for those of 3-pum, a magpie design with a silver ring for those of 3-pum, and a crane design with a copper ring for those of 7 to 9-pum. Over time, however, these principles were not followed, and the embroidered crane design became a standard for all the official grades.
The embroidered chest is said to have been produced for the garye (wedding) of Queen Sunwon, who was the wife of Sunjo, the 23rd king of the Joseon dynasty. The ten traditional symbols of longevity were embroidered on the door, and on the lower part of the door, lotus flower and mandarin duck designs were embroidered so as to wish for the couple to be happy and bear many children.
The lotus flowers grow in turbid water and mud, but they always remain clean without being dirtied by their surroundings. This is why it has become a symbol of Buddhism. Also alluding to the simultaneous growth and development of lotus flowers and their fruits, lotus flowers and seeds were depicted in combination as decorations to mean “to bear children soon.”
An embroidery pattern is an embroidery template created by drawing a certain shape on a piece of paper or cloth. As for this particular embroidery pattern, ink lines were drawn on jangji (a type of traditional Korean paper). There are embroidery patterns depicting diverse auspicious signs on pouches and spoon cases and various other designs such as flowers, birds and ten traditional symbols of longevity.
These are the pictures of flowers and insects embroidered by Mme. Shin Sa-im-dang (申師任當,1504-1551) who 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. Four panels were done by Shin, while the other two were produced by Hyh Baek-ryeon(許百練,1891-1977) along with her description words.
Various kinds of bronze bells and kettles of the ancient times are transfigured into decorative patterns. The screens were used in the bedrooms or the studies of noble people. Especially since 1945 they became favorite ones of the high-class women. These patterns were frequently used as the materials for embroidery of folding screens. Golden embroidery of figure and Chinese characters on the black woven silk creates noble dignity.
The goose symbolizes conjugal connection, and is regarded to be a bird that foretells the arrival of autumn and a messenger of news. In paintings and embroidered works, geese and reeds are depicted together to mean peaceful seniorhood as the reeds (ro, 蘆) means seniorhood (no, 老) and the goose (an, 雁) is homonymous with peace or comfort (an, 安).
This is an embroidery work depicting a building and trees in the mountains. The top part of the mountains were dyed, and gold thread was used on the edges, while the trees were depicted through embroidery work. The building at the center was depicted using a combination of dyeing and embroidery techniques.
This is a design conceived by independence activist Nam Gung-eok. The shape of the Korean peninsula was created using the branches of a rose of Sharon, and thirteen roses of Sharon in full bloom were used to indicate the thirteen provinces of Joseon. On this map embroidered on hemp cloth, there is a text that reads, “In commemoration of the liberation of Joseon,” on the right.
Chief Editor│Hong, Kyoung-A, Jung, Hyeran
Assistant│Park, Hyekyung, Kim, Nahyun, Kim, Songrim, Lee, Hyewon
Visual Editor│Joe, Hyewon
Photography│Han, Jungyoup(Han Studio), Seo, Heonkang