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Figure representing a person on a flat backing of white paper. Front view is depicted of the figure which is made of cloth lightly padded to give a three-dimensional effect having each portion made of a separate piece of cloth with painted details. Face is made of white silk. Head is covered with a green silk coat that has sleeves hanging free, a red-purple collar, a white paper ornament at the forehead, a red ribbon at the front, and white cotton cuffs. Under the coat, there is an orange-red shirt, a blue-green silk skirt, two pairs of loose off-white trousers, white socks, and low red shoes. Two pieces of white flannel hemmed in light green silk with a loop of the same thread at the top are glued to the paper backing.

History Of Use

Figure represents middle or upper class woman in outdoor dress, during the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Such women were kept in near seclusion, and would not appear in the streets without a coat used in this way to cover the head, drawing it over the face if a man approached. The use of this coat as head cover (changot) was forbidden to the lowest class of women. Such figures were made during the time when Korea was first open to the outside world (after the mid 1890s), probably as gifts to present to missionaries or other visitors from foreign countries. Flat dolls like these were very popular during the period 1910-20. Before that time, shamans made dolls that they sold to their clients, as images of those the clients wanted to exorcise. Simple dolls were made of straw for children to play with. After Korea opened, people began to see dolls as artistic objects. They were made in workshops by masters, using authentic fabrics whenever possible, as their purpose was to introduce foreigners to Korean society.
Women of both the high class and ordinary class used their coats (“Jang-ot”) to cover their heads and hide their faces when going out. When worn over their heads this way, the white appliqué ornament at the back appeared on the woman’s forehead. The purple front facing on this figure is typical of this kind of coat. When worn this way, the ribbons were not tied, and it was held together with their hands.


Collected by J. H. Morris while he was chief engineer for Seoul Railway, Korea.

Specific Techniques

The clothing was stitched around the edge and then a layer was added inside the clothing. Each section was separately applied and pasted in place. The details were finely painted.

Iconographic Meaning

The woman’s underwear and use of her coat indicate that she is of the high class.

Item History

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