Arirang News
  Updated : FEB 15, 2007
Faces of Korea- Hanbok
 
 
This weekend Koreans will be celebrating one of their most important traditional holidays - the Lunar New Year.
This is one of the few occasions when Koreans wear the traditional attire called hanbok.
So on this installment of Faces of Korea, we learn more about hanbok.
Beautiful but simple silhouettes.
Luxurious and elegant colors.
These are what give hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing, its unique beauty and aesthetic value.
Hanbok is traditional Korean clothing, characterized by straight lines and exquisite curves.
Historians say Koreans probably started to wear hanbok before the 3rd Century B.C.
Wall paintings on ancient tombs have people wearing the jacket called jeogori in Korean and pants.
They also wore skirts, official hats and belts around the waist.
Hanbok sleeves have since gotten wider, and the length of the jacket and the width of the pants have also changed.

RECORDED: ''Hanbok's original figure is found in materials from the 1st Century B.C. A type of hanbok is also on wall paintings in Goguryeo Dynasty tombs, with a narrow silhouette and belt around the waist.''

Different types of hanbok are geared for men, women and children.
The three main kinds are casual, formal and royal.
Casual hanbok for men consists of pants, the jacket, jeogori and coat, magoja.
In summer, men wore the summer jacket, jeoksam and a single-layer vest.
Men occasionally wore the overcoat called dooryumagi in Korean and the hat, also called Kwan.
A durumagi was worn regardless of season, and keeping it on was considered proper etiquette.

RECORDED: ''Men wore pants, the jacket, overcoat and hat.''

Women wore a jacket, skirt, coat and overcoat.
A woman's formal hanbok is luxurious, and comes in small and large types.
For a small formal suit, a woman wears the green coat known as dangwi in Korean and the flower crown headpiece, which is jokduri.
For a big formal suit, a woman wears the red and yellow dress called hwalot or the green coat called wonsam, in addition to the flower crown headpiece.
hanbok's most charming feature is its exquisite beauty.
Its silhouette makes it especially unique among other clothing.

RECORDED: ''People say the beauty of hanbok lies in its colors and lines. It has several types of lines. The most striking feature of hanbok is its white collar known as dongjeong in Korea.''

hanbok is not as tight as Western clothing, making it more comfortable to wear.
The jacket, jeogori has its body and sleeves linked by a straight line, and its lower part gets wider with extra fabric, for a balanced look.
hanbok was once considered less important than Western clothing.
Through modernization, however, hanbok has seen a recent renaissance, leading to the birth of contemporary hanbok worn every day.
Contemporary hanbok is more comfortable to wear than traditional hanbok, and is catching on in popularity.

RECORDED: ''Compared to a traditional hanbok, a contemporary hanbok has a shorter skirt. The jacket is also shorter and has a changed collar without dongjeong. A contemporary hanbok has a traditional knot instead of long ribbons, and retains the silhouette of a traditional hanbok and is comfortable. These qualities have made it appeal to young people.''

Korean designer Lee Younghee opened a New York fashion show in 2003.
The event showcased hanbok, which was well received by designers and audiences from around the world.
Hanbok is now part of a campaign promoting Korea abroad.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry has created the slogan ''Han Style'' to promote hanbok along with the Korean alphabet, food, traditional home, rice paper and music.

The hanbok is among 100 icons selected by the Culture and Tourism Ministry to represent Korea.
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