Home > Ritual Vessels > The Ritual Costumes of Civil and Military Officiants



Gujangbok is the king's full court dress and is so called because there are nine kinds of symbols embroidered on the dress. Embroidered on the robe are: dragons on the shoulders, mountains on the back, fire, pheasant and tiger-designed wine barrels. Those five symbols are called o(5)-jang, meant for 'yang.' Embroidered on the skirt were sa(4)-jang, meant for 'ying.' They were millet, rice grains, axes and fire.

Myeonryugwan is a coronet that goes with the Sibijangbok full dress for an emperor, with the front round and the back square. Twelve jade-beaded, nine-inch-long strings hang each from the front and the back, with the beads colored in the order of yellow, red, blue, white, black, orange, and green. A golden hairpin is used to set the mortarboard-shaped coronet firmly on the head, with two purple strings hanging from each side to be knotted under the chin.

The two strings also help the hairpin fixed stable. The number of jade-beaded strings show the status of the bearer: 12 for the emperor, 9 for the king, and 8 for the crown prince.

Sibijangbok is the formal ritual dress for the emperor and 12 symbols are embroidered on the dress, while its cornonet carries 12 jade-beaded strings. On the robe are embroidered six symbols: the sun and moon on the shoulders, five stars on the back, seven mountain hills on the lower back, dragons on the upper sleevs and pheasants on the lower sleeves. On the skirt are embroidered another six symbols: a wine barrel, water chestnut, fire, rice grains, axe, and crenellated pattern.

Made of silk fabrics, the royal robe is reddish black outside and purple inside. There are six kinds of symbol embroidered on the robe: the sun and moon, dragon, five mountains, fire, and pheasant. Inside the round sun embroidered on both shoulders are three-legged birds and inside the round moon are rabbits or toads embroidered. On the both sleeves are dragons and pheasants drawn. The length of the robe is so designed as not to hide the six symbols on the skirt. The sun, moon and stars signify Heaven, the mountains Earth, dragons and pheasants refer to the rain and clouds. All, therefore, symbolize the authority of the emperor.

Also made of silk fabrics, its color is rosy pink. On both sides of the front are embroidered six symbols: wine barrel (eternity), water chestnut (cleanness), fire (brightness), rice grains (feeding the people), axe (decisiveness) and crenellated pattern (constancy)

An undergarment, worn inside the king's ritual vestment, is made of white silk fabrics. The ends of both sleeves and front are lined with blue patches. On the collar are 12 patterns embroidered.
A waistband is made of red and white silk fabrics sewn together.
The frontal portion is ornamented with jade., but no jade on the back. A pair of tassels and jade plates are hung.
A pair of jade plates are hung from the right and left ends of the belt firmly set with gold pins. In the center are trinkets, jade beads, royal floral designs, gold-gilted dragons with clouds, and then five jade-beaded strings.
Husu refers to the tasseled rear trimmings of the skirt. They are made of silk fabrics, embroidered with red flowers, and two gold rings hang on the tassels. The tassels are colored in six colors: yellow, while, red, reddish black, orange, and green, symbolizing four directions or four seasons.
A neckband, made of thin, white silk fabrics to be worn like a collar. The center portion is cut open, while a blue string is attached on the left side, and a red one on the right, to help make the king maintain his body and mind calm and neat.
A kneepad, made of red silk fabrics trimmed with black silk-fabric patches, has water chestnut, rice grains, axes and crenallated patters embroidered in that order in two lines. Formerly, it was attached to the waist belt, but nowadays is sewn to the skirt.
A pair of ceremonial socks, made of red silk fabrics, worn by the king for grand royal rituals.
Made of red silk fabrics and baekjeung, lined yellow with reddish black shoe strings, seok is ceremonial shoes used for grand royal rites.
A tessera of white jade, one-foot two-inches long, for emperors According to the traditional saying of "heaven is round, and earth square," the upper part is round and the lower part squarre. The handle is made of yellow silk fabrics. For kings and crown princes, gyu is made of blue jade, 9 inches long.