S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.57/60(2012)
고려 국왕과 관리의 복식(服飾)이 반영하는 국가 위상과 자의식의 변동
The Level of the Goryeo Dynasty and the People’s Self-consciousness of it, reflected in the Attires(服飾) of the Kings and the Officials
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.60, pp. 37-63
- 복식; 복색; 황제; 제후; 자의식; 국가위상; attires; color of the clothes; emperor; lords; self-consciousness; features of the state
- The Chinese dynasties, such as the Khitan Liao(遼) or the Mandarin Sung(宋), all bestowed clothes and uniforms to the Goryeo kings. This particular act was intended to highlight the fact that the Goryeo king was a “local lord” who was to serve the Chinese emperor. But in the early half period of the Goryeo dynasty, the Goryeo kings actually wore a ‘different’ uniform which was designed as a dress for the ‘emperor’ when they were working with the officials or holding domestic events. They only wore the ’lord’ uniform bestowed from China when they had to greet Chinese emissaries or attended installation ceremonies arranged by the Chinese emperor. The Goryeo kings accepted their position as a lord serving China, but at the same time maintained an internal and independent set of institutions which was not that much different from the Chinese system.
Yet the dresses and uniforms of the early half of the Goryeo dynasty period did not continue into the latter half of the same dynasty. With the oppression and intervention from the Mongol Yuan empire, the kings had to abandon the traditional yellow attire, and instead chose to wear the ‘purple’ attire. By doing so they positioned themselves as lords (serving the emperor), and such status continued into the Joseon dynasty. The late Goryeo and early Joseon people accepted the world order with China at the center, and modified the Korean peninsula’s status according to that. Such action signals a fairly weakened state of the people’s independent nature and independent thinking. Then again, unlike the other descendant kings who followed in subsequent periods, the portrait of the Joseon Founder King Taejo (Yi Seong-gye) shows the king wearing a ’Blue’ uniform. Such description indicates the existence of a strong self-consciousness in the minds of the Joseon people, who must have wanted to maintain independence and autonomous thinking as residents of a country placed in the East side of China.