oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
[personal profile] oyceter
So in love with this book! So in love!

It was originally published in Korea, then translated here, and each author has written other books about Korean clothing as well. This is a fairly general book; it goes into hats and veils, hairpins, jackets and vests, shoes, skirts and pants, and jackets. There's not much of an overview of Korean history. The introduction is a history of hanbok and its ornaments, and I recognize several of the paintings from the other Korean clothing book I read.

But then it goes into costume porn details! And how!

My scanner is not working, so you have to make do with photos instead (pardon the flash; my hands shake too much to take pictures without).

The book begins each section with a brief explanation and history of the clothing (or ornaments) involved (roughly 2-3 pages). Then it looks at actual samples for the next ten or so pages. As in, there's a photograph of the object in question, a brief description, and then sketches. Lots of sketches! Sketches detailing exactly what kind of seams were used and how much allowance was made and how the piece was put together and all the different parts and people! I AM IN LOVE!

And if that weren't enough, after they've gone through a good number of samples, there are detailed close ups! And the book is roughly 1 ft. by 1 ft., so these are not small pictures!

In case anyone was still curious about the veils, apparently the neoul (black sheer veil covering a hat) was worn by noblewomen in the early Joseon Dynasty, but later on, the sseugaechima and the jangot (shaped much like an overcoat, but worn over the head with the face peeking out) were worn. Also, apparently the jangot was considered to be commoners' clothing, but noblewomen ended up adopting it.

There are also several examples of ladies' underwear, usually with the crotch seamed, though occasionally with the crotch open. I read it and thought about all those historical romances in which there is a convenient opening in the crotch of the woman's underwear. Too bad for any historical Joseon romance novels! (Someone needs to write me one.) Though there was a note that some pairs of underwear had such open legs that the woman didn't need to pull them down to use the bathroom.

Ahhhh, things you never learn from high school.

I was fascinated by norigae, dangling ornaments attached to a woman's belt. Some contained sewing kits or glasses cases; others were tassels with enamel or metal or jade decorations. Eggplant and pomegranate for fertility (I hadn't realized pomegranates grew in Korea), lots of bats for luck, lots of hanjja. I was particularly amused by the norigae and hairpins shaped like earwax pickers.

Jade was by far the most valued material -- no surprise, given how difficult it is to work -- with precious metals second. There didn't tend to be a lot of gemstones; color was mostly enameled metal.

And! [livejournal.com profile] desdenova! The section on hats actually talks about the hat decorations! Alas, not the feathers on the top of the hats, but it talks about the hat strings! As far as I can tell, they were largely ornamental and not symbolic, though I think non-noblemen weren't allowed to wear tortoiseshell beads. Also, confirmation that the material of the buttons (gwanja) on the men's head wrap (manggeon) denotes rank (made of jade, gold or silver, with jade being the highest rank, I suspect).

I think the only bad things I can say about the book is that none of the samples have dates (I particularly wanted to know for the eyeglass cases and the rubber-soled shoes), that it only covers Joseon (as expected, given the fragility of clothing), and that it has no little cloth samples (some day...). Other than that, this is a costume nut's dream.

(no subject)

Sun, Mar. 23rd, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
ext_12920: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] desdenova.livejournal.com
Yay, hats! Now that I know the hat-strings are decorative, I can stop trying to decode how hat-string-decoration correlates to rank.

(no subject)

Sun, Mar. 23rd, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] yhlee.livejournal.com
Man, I want this book. :-D

(no subject)

Mon, Mar. 24th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] thistleingrey.livejournal.com
Oh, wow--and $125, though all things considered that's not bad (#pages, the pictures and sketches, etc.). Aieee.

*finds used copy*

(no subject)

Mon, Mar. 24th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com
Ooooooooohhhhh.

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