Embroidery and Sewing; Decorating life with beauty

Sookmyung Women’s University Museum

Traditional Korean Women's Craft Arts

Embroidery and Sewing
Embroidery and sewing are the representing craft arts of women. Both embroidery and sewing have developed along with textiles and, of course, both use needles, but in different roles. Embroidery is ornamentation whereas sewing is a vital skill if you need to make clothes and other useful items out of textile. Embroidery decorates life with beauty, such as wedding items, daily life items, children's clothes and women's everyday lives. This exhibition focuses on embroidery and sewing which 'decorated' women's lives. 
Wedding Items

Phoenix patterns is symbols of high rank that elevate the bride as a queen on her wedding day.

Multi-colored and Peony Designs

Lotus Flower Designs

This is the wrapping cloth for a bridegroom to put the paper in it that has the hour, date and year of his birth. He sends this to the bride's family prior to wedding. The wrapping cloth is made of red and blue silk based on the principle of red and blue.

This is the wrapper for the box in which a bridegroom sends the wedding jewelry to a bride.

The wrapper is embroidered with floral patterns (草花文); a pair of phoenixes, all of which are the yearnings for a happy marriage.

This is a wrapping cloth that was used to wrapping the wooden wild geese that are taken by the husband’s side of the family after a wedding ceremony. This particular wrapping cloth is red on the outside and navy on the inside.

This type of key holder was used to drive away evil spirits, rather than for practical uses. It was given to a daughter when marrying her off, so it also had an ornamental purpose.

This particular key holder was embroidered with exquisite bird and flower designs and a tassel.

Daily life Items

This is a pair of quilted socks embroidered with floral patterns.

The jacket shows the dedication and skill of women of the past. The quilt was done in broad-stitching, inside and out. This jacket was hemmed from the outside to protect the skin of a child, showing the affection of mothers for the children.

It is the hat for children aged 4 to 5, it’s decorated with designs and letters yearning for blessing and fertility.

This is a hat that was decorated with a hair ribbon was placed on the back.

Pouches were used by men and women of all ages, regardless of their class. Pouches were made of silk or cotton. Knots were made in the shape of a butterfly, bee, dragonfly or plum, and the main pattern was a symbol of wealth or a symbol of longevity. The peony design symbolizes wealth with its abundant and splendid beauty.

Sewing Items

In the hwagak technique, ox horn is flattened to create paper-thin sheet. Ruler with ox-horn decoration (hwagak) is a sewing tool that women can appreciate, with its beautiful appearance created by the graduations marked in patterns. Hwagak in splendid color tones are seen on both sides of the ruler.

Bamboo tuner is a ruler made by attaching two bamboo pieces together. One end is sharp and in the shape of a loop, through which the toe of a beoseon sock is to be pulled out.

Embroidery and Sewing; Women's Education in the Modern Period
Embroidery and sewing played an important role in women's education in the modern period. During the 1940s, for example, embroidery and sewing were the main majors of the Sookmyung Women's College. Embroidery shows the unique technique and creativity different in designs and contest from those of western civilization and culture.

This is the work by Prof. Jeong Myeong-ja of Sookmyung Women's Collage. She produced this graduation work when she graduated from school in Tokyo, Japan in 1931(師範科 刺繡部 二年). This collection of 120 kinds of embroidery patterns shows the basic pattern of the 1930s, exhibiting the examples of modern Korean embroidery.

This is the work by Prof. Jeong Myeong-ja of Sookmyung Women's Collage. She embroidered the image of St. Mary. Using the western painting technique, she provides the shade effect.

The brother kidnapped to north Korea as a middle school student. Sister embroidered his image with hair.

This is embroidery practice cloth in the Sookmyung Women's College day.

This was produced while the artist was studying at Sookmyung Women’s College. Sookmyung’s logo is surrounded by flowering plant patterns.

This is the work by Lee Hak, showing the four seasons of peach trees through embroidery.

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), Seo, Heonkang

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.
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