When “King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang” (KDSBH) was still airing some viewers commented that the hanboks (Korean traditional costumes) given to Jo Hyun Jae in his role as Crown Prince Myeong Nong are too colorful for the time period KDSBH is set. According to them, during the Baekje era the costumes of royal people (especially the men) are either light or dark, but no lavenders, oranges, pinks, or greens!
I am not an expert on the evolution of the Korean traditional costume so I can’t tell if they are correct in saying that Myeong Nong’s costumes are too colorful for KDSBH’s time period. However, I have to agree that the costumes are indeed colorful… for any time period. 😀
But I commend JHJ. Despite his colorful costumes, JHJ still looks every inch the Crown Prince / King – dignified, royal, sober, very princely / kingly. I think it is because JHJ’s aristocratic aura is innate, not contrived, so no matter how he is dressed JHJ still projects a princely / kingly aura. Even in modern clothes JHJ still exudes that elegant and dignified aura one would associate with royalty.
Here are some of Myeong Nong’s colorful hanboks:
Pink, green and purple! These colors are supposed to represent spring. 😀 Only JHJ can wear clothes with these colors without looking like a sissy!
I am glad Myeong Nong didn’t wear the yellow-orange-purple hanbok pictured below for more than just a few minutes! 😀
Actually, in the drama, the above hanbok is not as brightly orange-yellow as in the official still pictured above. Take a look at the screen capture below. The hanbok seems to be a combination of light yellow and bright red with purple trimmings.
I didn’t like the blue-brown-orange hanbok pictured below the first time I saw Myeong Nong wearing it, but it grew on me. So, now it is among my favorite of Myeong Nong’s travelling hanboks.
I can’t resist adding this photo of Myeong Nong with Marshal Hae and Kangbok. They are such a colorful group. In this photo we see that Myeong Nong is wearing purple pants! Even Myeong Nong’s horse is all dressed up. 😀
The hanbok pictured below is quite busy – too many colors and too many prints – but I still like it a lot. Despite the busyness of the outfit, JHJ carried it well.
I agree with JHJ when he said that it is a shame that he got to wear his king costume for only two episodes. It looks so rich, and it looks great on him!
But I prefer this pose where JHJ is lounging lazily on the divan. 🙂
I checked out this treatise on Baekje-era tradtional clothing to find out if the comments by some viewers about Myeong Nong’s costume being too colorful for the time period KDSBH is set is true. Here are some excerpts from the “Traditional Textile Materials of the Baekje Kingdom” referring to colors of fabrics during that time period:
“The colors of textile materials of Baekje were described in the historical documentations. The colors of king’s costume were Ja (purple), Cheong (green), Oh (the color of crows; black), and Baek (white). The colors of official costume were Ja (purple), Jeok or Bee (red), Cheong (green), Hwang (yellow), Jo (black), and Baek (white). Table 1 presents a comparison and arrangement of the color system of official costume according to records. It includes colors of dress, cap and belt, and prohibition of the use of official colors by commoners. This confirms that the contents of the official costume system were primarily concerned with color. A system of dress color based on official rank seems to have been instituted during the reign of King Goi (A.D.260) in the third century from the Samguk Sagi report.”
Table 1. Color system of official costume of Baekje
“The conclusions of this study are as follows…. the six basic colors of Baekje costume were Five Colors (blue, red, yellow, white, and black) based on the ideology of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements plus purple based on the ideology of Great Absolute.
Consequently, from an historical viewpoint, the most important characteristics of textile materials of Baekje are that Baekje was the first to establish a governmental organization using six colors of textiles, and that the textile patterns show the esthetic sense and the mild disposition of Baekje.”
Based on the above treatise it seems that those who said that Myeong Nong’s hanboks are too colorful for the KDSBH time period are right. Although colors like blue and red were already being used for clothing in Baekje, it seems that royal persons (especially the king) use more subdued colors like purple, green, black and white. Pink, lavender, orange, and other colors used to create some of Myeong Nong’s hanboks were definitely not used back then.
Credit: Photos as labelled; Excerpts on the traditional clothing of Baekje from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1135&context=tsaconf. Thanks!