The dangui, as this type of hanbok was referred to as—certainly one of two conventional robes I’d put on on my marriage ceremony day—was as soon as a costume reserved for Joseon Dynasty queens, princesses, and high-ranking feminine courtiers for minor palace ceremonies. The phoenix on the dangui jacket and skirt, I realized, stood for rebirth and immortality, insignia unique to feminine monarchs of the Joseon court docket.
Korean monarchies are hardly ever discovered in your common highschool syllabus in suburban America, and so they weren’t on mine. At finest, as a child, I might fireplace off a couple of information about King Sejong, the revered inventor of the Korean alphabet, and a linguistics genius, as my mother and father preferred to level out. The opposite roughly 190 kings (and some queens) between the Three Kingdoms Interval in 57 B.C. and the ultimate chapters of the Joseon in 1910, remained untouched whereas I busied myself with AP European Historical past, Regency Interval movies ideally starring Colin Firth, and even an ill-advised wait in freezing rain to see Kate Middleton and Prince William flip and wave in New York Metropolis.
The origins of hanbok might be traced again to the primary century B.C., about the identical time Julius Caesar was making a go of issues in Rome, and almost a thousand years earlier than the primary king of England took energy. My dangui hanbok would have appeared a number of dynasties later, within the Joseon period, which favored inflexible Neo-Confucian hierarchies and the demotion of ladies, although there was this little marvel: 100 days of maternity go away (later expanded to 30 days earlier than start), an worker profit courtesy of King Sejong’s administration within the yr 1426. Eight years later, across the time Joan of Arc led the French military at Orléans, husbands had been additionally granted 30 days of paternity go away.
Progressivism, as we all know, isn’t all the time linear. Korea’s first feminine sovereign, Queen Seondeok, reigned within the Silla Dynasty, greater than 700 years earlier than Joseon’s subjugation of ladies. After Silla, the Goryeo Dynasty noticed girls being allowed to inherit property and remarry after being widowed, and bridegrooms normally moved in with the household of the bride. It was additionally throughout this era, I realized, that the opulent palace marriage ceremony hwarot—an outfit common at this time in conventional Korean marriage ceremony ceremonies—rose to significance. Recognized for its beams of vivid pink, blue, and yellow, the robe’s huge painterly embroidery was cultivated in royal workshops. Modern high-fashion homes like Dior and Hermès typically measure a garment’s worth in hours of labor: A complete hwarot ensemble with its undergarments, robes, headpieces, and precious-stone adornments might contain hundreds of hours of workmanship; a masterpiece high fashion assortment, however in Eleventh-century Korea.