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Post by rima_yunjae on Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:20 pm

A walk down almost any street in Korea will reveal that today's Korean wardrobe ranges from jeans and casual fashions to tailored suits and chic designer creations. However, of all the outfits one is likely to see, the most striking is without a doubt the hanbok, the traditional costume worn by Koreans of all ages, particularly on traditional holidays and when attending social affairs with a traditional Korean theme.
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The hanbok is characterized by its simple lines and the fact that it has no pockets. The women's hanbok comprises a wrap-around skirt and a bolero-like jacket. It is often called chimajeogori, chima being the Korean word for skirt and jeogori the word for jacket. The men's hanbok consists of a short jacket and pants, called baji, that are roomy and bound at the ankles. Both ensembles may be topped by a long coat of a similar cut called durumagi.
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The traditional-style hanbok worn today are patterned after the ones worn during the Confucian-oriented Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Yangban, a hereditary aristocratic class based on scholarship and official position rather than on wealth, wore brightly colored hanbok of plain and patterned silk in cold weather and of closely woven ramie cloth or other high-grade, light-weight materials in warm weather. Commoners, on the other hand, were restricted by law as well as finances to bleached hemp and cotton and could only wear white and sometimes pale pink, light green, gray and charcoal.
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Young women wore red chima and yellow jeogori prior to marriage and red chima and green jeogori after the wedding when bowing to their parents-in-law and when paying respect to them upon returning from the honeymoon. Today, however, women usually wear pink hanbok for engagement ceremonies, Western-style wedding dresses and the traditional red skirt and green jacket after the wedding when greeting their in-laws after the honeymoon. On other occasions, they wear hanbok of almost any color and fabric including embroidered, hand-painted, or gold-stamped silk, but white is worn mostly by old people and used for mourning clothes.
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Yangban women wore wrap-around skirts 12 pok (a width of cloth) wide and wrapped them on the left side whereas commoners were prohibited from wearing chima of more than 10 or 11 pok and were required to wrap them on the right. Under the hanbok, women generally wore, and most still do, a pair of long bloomers, a long, one-piece slip worn somewhat like a high-waisted, one-piece dress, and a jacket-like piece a little smaller than the jeogori. The fullness of the chima allows the wearing of any number of undergarments, a big plus given Korea's cold winters, and also makes it wearable during pregnancy.
Nowadays skirts of two and a half widths of cloth are generally worn; however, today's cloth is about twice as wide as in ancient times. Most of today's chima have shoulder straps for ease in wearing. For proper appearance the chima should be pulled tight so that it presses the breasts flat and the slit should be just under the shoulder blade. The left side of the chima should be held when walking to keep it from flapping open and revealing the undergarments. Old women often hold the left side up beside the left breast.
Most jeogori have a snap or small tie ribbons on the inside to hold it closed. The long ribbons of the jacket are tied to form the otgoreum, a bow that is different from the butterfly-like bow of the West. The otgoreum is very important for it is one of three things by which the beauty and quality of a hanbok is judged. The other two are the curve of the sleeves and the way the git, a band of fabric that trims the collar and front of the jeogori, is terminated. The ends of the git are generally squared off. A removable white collar called dongjeong is placed over the git.
As hanbok have no pockets, women and men both carried all types of purses, or jumeoni. These were basically of two major types: a round one and a pleated, somewhat triangular one, both closed with a drawstring. These were embellished with elaborate knots and tassels that varied a ccording to the status and gender of the bearer.
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Although some of the basic elements of today's hanbok and its accessories were probably worn at a very early date, the two-piece costume of today did not begin to evolve until the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-A.D. 668), when the kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla dominated the Korean Peninsula. This is clearly evident in the paintings that adorn the walls of fourth to sixth century Goguryeo tombs. The murals feature men and women dressed in long, narrow-sleeved jackets with the left side pulled over the right, trousers and boot-like footwear. Such garments were probably inspired by the harsh northern climate and terrain and a nomadic lifestyle centered on horse riding. Also, owing to geopolitical factors, it is likely that they were influenced by Chinese styles of dress. Baekje and Silla had similar costumes. Silk mandarin robes introduced from neighboring Tang China were adopted for wear by royalty and officials in 648 by Silla, the kingdom that eventually unified the peninsula in 668. The robes were worn over the native costume. Noble women began to wear full-length skirt-trousers and wide-sleeved, hip-length jackets belted at the waist, and noblemen, roomy trousers bound in at the ankles and a narrower, tunic-style jacket cuffed at the wrist and belted at the waist.
In 935, Silla was replaced by a new dynasty called Goryeo, from which the name "Korea" is derived. Buddhism, which Silla had already made the national religion, flourished along with printing and the arts, especially celadon ceramics. During the Goryeo Dynasty, the chima was shortened and it was hiked up above the waist and tied at the chest with a long, wide ribbon, which has remained the fashion ever since. The jeogori was also shortened and its sleeves were curved slightly. At the same time, women began to wear their hair in plaits on top of their heads and men began shaving their heads except for a patch in the middle.

In the 15th century, women began to wear full, pleated skirts that completely concealed the lines of the body and long jeogori. With time, however, the jeogori was gradually shortened until it just covered the breasts, making it necessary to reduce the fullness of the chima so that it could be extended almost to the armpits, this remains the fashion today.

Today's designers are increasingly seeking inspiration in the hanbok and other costumes of their ancestors to create fashions with a uniquely Korean flair that can meet the demands of today's lifestyles. They are incorporating the lines and cut of the hanbok and other ancient clothes and accessories in their designs and employing traditional fabrics such as hemp and ramie. In fact, many department stores now have boutiques specializing in such clothes and shops specializing in a new generation of hanbok for everyday wear are springing up nationwide.

Without a doubt, the hanbok, with its roots stretching back many centuries, will continue to grace the streets of Korea for many years to come.

Beautiful Hanbok: Pride of the Korean People

In all cultures, traditional costume is an indicator of national character and values. Koreans use " ot " as a general term for clothing. Koreans have designed their ot to cover their whole body but for comfortable use. Traditional clothing is called " hanbok ," an abbreviation of the term Han-gukboksik (Korean attire). Hanbok forms a highly effective expression of Korean identity and changes in hanbok design from the past to the present parallel the nation's historical development. Moreover, forms, materials and designs in hanbok provide a glimpse into the Korean lifestyle, while its colors indicate the values and world view of the Korean people.

Development of Hanbok

Hanbok is a kind of apparel of the Caftan type; a style of attire commonly seen in Northeast Asia and Central Asia . The outer top garment is loose fitting and opens in the front. It's single piece coat mirrors other Asian designs.

Today few in cities wear hanbok as daily apparel but older women in the countryside still wear " chima ," a skirt and " geogori ," a bolero-like blouse. A sokchima is full slip and beoseon is a thick padded socks. In winter, a long overcoat, durumagi , is worn outdoors. Durumagi is also worn on formal occasions in all seasons. Men wear jeogori, jokki , a vest, magoja , a jacket or short coat, and baji , baggy trousers. For undergarments, they wear variations of the jeogori and baji . Men also wear beoseon and sometimes a durumagi when they go out.

Ritual garments are worn at rites of passage. On their first birthday boys wear a knee-length vest, a five-colored top coat called kkachidurumagi , and on their head hogeon or bokgeon , peaked or plain hoods. Women wear dang-ui , a ceremonial jacket with front lapels, over chima and jeogori , a small bejeweled toque called jokduri on their head, and quilted beoseon decorated with embroidery and pompons, on their feet.

For wedding the groom wears a gossamer hat called samo and dallyeong , a kind of topcoat with a rounded neckline and a belt. The bride wears wonsam or hwarot , a long decorative jacket, on top of seuran-chima , a long skirt decorated with embossed gold at the hem.

For burialsin the Joseon era, the corpse of an upper-class man was dressed in the official attire of the highest office he held during his lifetime. Upper-class women were dressed in attire corresponding to the rank of her husband's last official post. Common people were wrapped in hemp robes patterned after the wedding attire.

There were also special garments for rituals held at Jongmyo , the royal ancestral shrine of the Joseon Period, and for shamans, folk dancers and other performers.

In the ancient times during the Gojoseon era (paleolithic age-57B.C.), records reveal that people trimmed their head and wore hats.

During the Three Kingdoms period, which began with the founding of Goguryeo (37B.C.-A.D.668), hanbok consisted of a two-piece "unisex" outfit. The upper garments ( yu ) of this period opened in front and came down to the hips. They were held shut with a belt. The lower garments ( go ) were also tied off above the feet. Notably, the opening flap of the upper garments seems to have been the right to left style in contrast with the left to right flaps on the jeogori worn today. This change in the direction of the opening flap occurred after the mid-Goryeo period. Among Western apparel, a right-side flap is used for male attire, while a left-side flap is used for female attire. Thus, the unisex style popular in the modern period can be said to have originated in East and North Asia , whereas the differentiation between male and female attire is thought to have originated in the West. Ancient Koreans produced upper and lower garments in a snuggly fitting style, which were beautiful yet practically suited to the active lifestyle of nomadic hunters. But dress and ornaments like head gear, necklaces, bracelets and earings of upper class were brilliant and decorative.

Korean society diversified while contacts with neighboring countries increased during the Silla period. At this time, Koreans began to introduce the international fashions of China 's Tang Dynasty. Examples include sleeveless shirts for women, long scarves, decorative hairpins, male headdress and coats with round lapels. Elaborate silk clothing and ornaments are deemed related to the refined clothing fashions of the period from Persia to Japan 's Nara period.

During the Goryeo period, the long upper garments of the previous period gave way to waist-length attire. As a result, waist belts were replaced by coat tie-strings, otgoreum . As one of the unique features of Korean clothing, the coat string was initially a short, thin cord but eventually developed into the style seen today, i.e., a long, dangling piece of cloth that hangs down below the knees. Around this time, after the splendid Silla fashion, the mode of Goryeo embraced a more calm and quiet manner. As Goryeo society turned to the values of frugality and simplicity, the tranquil beauty of agricultural life found expression in the period's famous blue celadon vessels and white clothing. Korean clothing underwent further refinement as cotton was introduced into Goryeo from Yuan China. In addition, clothing regulations were introduced from abroad and a system of official uniforms was established for the palace.

The beginning of the Joseon period saw the development of a Confucian society. At this time, the use of cotton became widespread all over the country. In addition, the period saw the development of a unique script, known as Han-geul , and the publication of numerous scholarly compilations. At the same time, there were diverse developments in the system of ritual attire. Confucianism, as the central ideology and faith of East Asia , was actively pursued at this time, along with its system of ritual dress.

Ritual clothing represented the visible manifestation of intangible Confucian virtues such as benevolence, propriety, wisdom and trust. Clothing served as a medium for the visible expression of a rite. Hence, Joseon apparel, in addition to its role in delineating social status, represented a strict conformity to Confucian codes of ritual attire. In particular, a standardized system of clothing for the various rites of passages was established in accordance with numerous ritual manuals. Special attire was worn for the rites of manhood, marriage, mourning and memorial services. Even today, this clothing can be seen at weddings and funerals, and in particularly conservative areas, the special clothing for memorial services is still worn. The traditional dress of Confucian scholars can be seen in the paintings of the famous Joseon folk painter, Sin Yun-bok . In these paintings, the outer robes are long, yet never touch the ground. Inside the robes, multiple layers of undergarments can be seen. With wide sleeves hanging down, the grave-looking scholar sports a broad-brimmed, horse-hair hat.

The late-Joseon period was confronted by great social changes as the common people came to resent the feudalistic system. The period was also marked by significant changes in values and aesthetics. At this time, female entertainers took the lead in the new developments in women's attire. Men's fashions, on the other hand, were primarily influenced by members of overseas missions, political reformers, overseas students and Western missionaries. Folk art depictions of women during this era show them wearing white belts, snug jeogori that show the contour of the breast, and numerous undergarments exaggerating the volume of the dress. The erotic beauty of the garments has little precedent in traditional Confucian culture.

The opening of Korea to the West intensified the pace of change in apparel. Most notably, clothing during this period became much simpler. During the Gabo Reform (1894), clothing specifications for various ceremonies were combined to form a single ritual attire. The awkwardly wide sleeves became narrower and male top-knots were cut off. Among woman's attire, undergarments as well as concealing vestments such as the sseugae-chima (shawl), jang-ot (hood) and neo-ul (veil) gave way to a more practical, short coat.

The disappearance of traditional attire during the process of modernization has been explained in relationship to economic development. Nations which have industrialized and developed economically have given up their traditional clothing as their everyday dress at a more rapid pace than economically backward nations. In Korea , the hanbok began to disappear from the daily life in the 1960s and came to be used only on special occasions. As for traditional ritual attire, only marriage and mourning clothing have survived. Traditional hanbok are now only seen on special traditional events such as folk festivals, shaman's rites called gut , historical dramas or reenactments of palace ceremonies.

The hanbok has undergone many changes but still maintains the same elements of pants, outer coat, skirt, and so on. During its development, the hanbok acquired some elements from neighboring nations, while changing to suit the particular needs of the times.
First, the hanbok worn by women as everyday attire consists chiefly of the following: a dress ( jeogori ), a skirt ( chima ), and undergarments, such as an undershirt ( sokjeogori ), under pants ( gojaeng-i ), inner skirt ( sokchima ) and socks ( beoseon ). Men's hanbok are made up of jeogori, pants ( baji ), an overcoat ( durumagi ), vest, outer coat ( magoja ) and socks ( beoseon ). Western accessories such as shoes and handbag are also used.

In recent times, Korea 's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has launched a campaign encouraging people to wear hanbok . Facilitated by Koreans' fondness for their own traditions, the campaign has promoted the creation of new hanbok styles that are practical for everyday use. At present, hanbok , as everyday attire, is worn chiefly by old people and by the general population during special occasions such as traditional holidays, weddings and 60th birthday celebrations.

Second, there is a hanbok worn during rites of passage. Examples include baenaet jeogori worn by newborn infants, hwarot (loose robe decorated with peonies) worn by a bride as the bride presents gifts to her new parents-in-law, wonsam (ritual attire worn by a woman), and jokduri (black, silk headpiece worn by women), hairpieces, daenggi (pigtail ribbons). During traditional weddings, the man wears a large robe known as a dallyeong over his other clothing, a gakdae (traditional belt) and samo (tall cap with round projections of the left and right).

During funerals, the corpse is clothed in special attire. The clothing design is the same as that of weddings, but natural-colored hemp is used instead. Women from the deceased person's family wear white skirts and coats.

Third, there is special attire worn during all traditional rituals and related events.

As seen above, the hanbok design is characterized by a two-piece outfit without pockets and buttons that is closed with strings, belts or cords. In traditional ondol houses, people sit on the warm floor, thus the legs of the lower garment tend to be baggy. Hanbok colors are based on natural hues which are interpreted according to East Asian theories of eum-yang (yin-yang) and the five elements. The female aspect is represented by yin and likewise the lower garment is given a yin color. Yang represents the male aspect as well as upper and outer garments. White garments, which the Korean people have always been very fond of, indicate the Koreans' simple and pure aesthetic sense.

In traditional Korean garments color is used symbolically. White was the basic color most widely used by the common people. It symbolized a modest and pure spirit. Red signified good fortune and wealth and thus was used in woman's wedding garments. Indigo, the color of constancy, was used for the skirt of court ladies and the official coats of court officials. Black, symbolizing infinity and the fountainhead of all creation, was used for men's hat. Yellow, which represented the center of the universe, was used for royal garments. Common people were forbidden from wearing yellow. These five colors were also firmly established as symbols of the four directions and the center of the universe and order of the universe.

Neutral colors symbolized the yin or implicit virtues. They were used for embroidery on garments worn below the waist. The five cardinal colors, symbolizing the yang , or overt virtues, were used in patterns on garments worn above the waist. The five colored garments worn by children, five-colored purses and five-colored dancing costumes are good examples of this symbolism. Colors symbolizing heaven and earth were used for wedding dress.

Unlike most of the world's peoples, Koreans have managed to preserve the basic design of their traditional attire up through the modern period. Their ability to do so can be attributed to their strong sense of national identity.

To study the history of a national costume is to understand the culture and character of that nation. It is no surprise that the hanbok , like the traditional costumes of other nations, is increasingly seen as ceremonial or ornamental attire today.

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Post by rima_yunjae on Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:14 pm

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Post by miharu-chan on Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:16 am

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