Hanbok - History - Antiquity

Antiquity

The hanbok can trace its origin to nomadic clothing in the Scytho-Siberian cultural sphere of northern Asia, widespread in ancient times. The earliest evidence of this common style of northern Asia can be found in the Xiongnu burial site of Noin Ula in northern Mongolia, and earliest evidence of hanbok's basic design features can be traced to ancient wall murals of Goguryeo before the 3rd century BCE.

Reflecting its nomadic origins in northern Asia, hanbok was designed to facilitate ease of movement and also incorporated many shamanistic motifs. From this time, the basic structure of hanbok, namely the jeogori jacket, baji pants, and the chima skirt, was established. Short, tight trousers and tight, waist-length jackets were worn by both men and women during the early years of the Three Kingdoms of Korea period. The basic structure and these basic design features of hanbok remains relatively unchanged to this day.

Toward the end of the Three Kingdoms period, noblewomen began to wear full-length skirts and hip-length jackets belted at the waist and noblemen began to wear roomy trousers bound in at the ankles and a narrow, tunic-style jacket cuffed at the wrists and belted at the waist.

Although most foreign influence on Hanbok didn't last or was superficial, Mongolian clothing is an exception as the only foreign influence that made significant visible changes to Hanbok. After Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392) signed peace treaty with the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, Mongolian princesses who married into Korean royal house brought with them Mongolian fashion which began to prevail in both formal and private life. As a result of this influence, the chima skirt was shortened, and jeogori was hiked up above the waist and tied at the chest with a long, wide ribbon, the goruem (instead of being belted) and the sleeves were curved slightly. Cultural exchange was not one way however. Goryeo had significant cultural influence on the Mongol court of Yuan Dynasty, the most visible of which was adoption of women's hanbok by the aristocrats, queens and concubines of the Mongol court.

  • A Goguryeo man in a hunting attire from Goguryeo tombs.

  • Goguryeo king and queen's attire.

  • Silla king and queen's attire.

  • A woman's attire during Goryeo dynasty.

Read more about this topic:  Hanbok, History

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