The Ministry of Information and Communication has been issuing the Korean Beauty Series to show the world the rich cultural heritage of Korea. This year, the last collection features traditional ornaments worn by women of Korea. We invite you to appreciate the refined taste and elegant lifestyle of our ancestors in these works of art that combine aesthetic appeal, with practical utility.
Tortoise-Shell Comb with Gold and Jade Inlaid Flower Design
Made of hawksbull skin, this comb is designed to be worn for decoration. The elaborately ornate comb is unusually shaped with a broad ridge and handle forming almost a right angle with the teeth. Flower-patterned pendants with small leaves suspended from a gold wire, hang from small holes bored into the border strip between the teeth and handle. Flower patterns on both the pendants and handle are exquisitely engraved with gold thread and inlaid with green nephrite; (housed at the Ho-Am Art Museum).
Jokduri (Woman’s Ceremonial Headdress)
Following the prohibition of women’s formal hairdos by King YoungJo during the late Chosan Dynasty, the jokduri, akin to flower-shaped ceremonial coronets, began to be worn to decorate the chignon on ceremonial occasions. This headdress is one of the most extravagantly elaborate example, made of black cloth and decorated with gold-plated metal imprints of Chinese characters signifying happiness, and Chinese phoenix patterns on the sides with jewels of three different colors and fluttering ornaments using springs at the top; (owned by the Museum of Sookmyung Women’s University).
Tteoljam (Fluttering Hairpin)
Tteoljam, or fluttering hairpins, were used by aristocratic and upper-class women at ceremonies to decorate their formal hairdo by inserting the hairpins in the center and sides of the hairdo. Fluttering hairpins come in various shapes including circular, square, and butterfly shapes. This fluttering hairpin is decorated with cloisonne, pearl and coral on a round jade plate; (housed at the Chang Pu-deok Memorial Gallery at Ewha Womans University Museum).
Ornamental hairpin with a dragon design and jade hairpin with a Chinese phoenix design
Ornamental hairpins with dragon designs on their heads used to be worn only by queens, but later, upper-class women and even commoners were allowed to wear them on their wedding ceremonies; (housed at the Ho-Am Art Museum).
Jade hairpins with Chinese phoenix designs were only worn by queens and princesses at major and minor ceremonies as well as on special occasions with the only exception being for women of noble families with connections with the royal family. With a Chinese phoenix pattern, engraved and cloisonne, pearl and coral decorations on the hairpin’s head, this hairpin is generally regarded as one of the most luxurious hairpins of the Chosan Dynasty; (owned by the Museum of Sookmyung Women’s University).