Costume


Among Korean garments, the women's costume, which consists of chima (skirt) and jogori (blouse) and has a long history, is particularly graceful and beautiful. It is a costume with a typical Korean flavour. The appearance of women wearing chima and jogori of a graceful and soft same colour agreeable to the modern aesthetic sense, or in long chima and jogori with pleasing fringes of the same colour as that of the chima is in fine harmony with the natural environment. They are evocative of the fairies in the heavens.

Korean women's costume is characterized by harmony between white and black colours. Korean women enjoy wearing white jogori and black chima, which harmonize and give the impression of vividness, neatness and gracefulness. The Korean national costume is generally of jade-green, light pink, cream, light green or other light and bright colours. Particularly, white costumes are prevalent. The white clothing is associated with the founder-king of the nation, Tangun (his original name Paktal symbolizes the sun, namely, brightness) and with the national sentiment of being fond of cleanness and purity. In the past, ethics strictly ordained that white clothes should be worn during periods of mourning and at memorial services. Thus white costume became to symbolize the Korean nation. Hence the Korean nation came to be called the "white-clad folk" or "white-clad nation".

The collar and strings of the Korean women's jogori are important parts symbolic of the Korean costume. The collar attached to the band surrounding the neck is made of white cloth. It is the first thing to attract the eye and stresses the impression of neatness and vividness of jogori. The collars of jogori of any colour are always made with white cloth. The two long cloth strings are designed for adjusting jogori. They bring the peculiar form of the Korean costume into relief. They rustle rhythmically at any slight movement or in a breeze. When Korean women feel shy, worried or distressed, they often fiddle with the strings, which cover up their awkward movements unaffectedly. The strings not only serve the purpose of fastening jogori and as ornaments but also help women behave and maintain their posture in a natural manner in their daily lives.

Notable among ornaments is the ornamental dagger worn by men. The beautifully ornamented dagger was used for protection as well as for ordinary, practical purposes. In olden times the ornamental dagger was given as a wedding gift or on the attainment of adulthood, out of wishes for happiness of the man concerned or for his protection from all kinds of misfortune.

Comrade Kim Jong Il said that the many triplets being born these days are a good omen for the prosperity of the country and made it a rule that when multiple births occur ornamental daggers are presented to boy babies and gold rings to girl babies in the name of the country. All parents of triplets and quadruplets are provided with new houses and all the expenses for the upbringing and education of their children are borne by the state.

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