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Description

Doll representing a female figure carved out of wood with articulated shoulders and ankles. The doll's face and hands are painted white, with eyes and eyebrows painted in black and the mouth painted in pink. The doll's hair is painted in black on the crown of her head with a braid hanging down her back and adhered to the back of her head. A strip of blue-green silk is braided into the hair, and the braid is tied at the top with a ribbon of burgundy silk. She wears a pink skirt with a white cotton waistband with long ties, tied in a single-loop bow at the front over two pairs of white under trousers with a back slit, the outer pair of which is voluminous. Above this she wears a short greenish-yellow jacket with burgundy outer neck facing and wristbands, and narrower white neck facing. This is tied with burgundy ribbons in a single-loop bow. She wears shoes with pointed, upturned toes painted pink with a black linear and loop design, and socks of white ramie.

History Of Use

Doll is a member of a family of dolls (see N3.60 a-b, N3.61, N3.62 and N3.63). It is likely that this set of dolls was custom-made for presentation to foreigners. They show typical Korean clothes, which were made with accurate detail of form, material, and technique for these dolls. The kind of clothing worn by this doll is that of an unmarried young woman of a higher-class or wealthy family. The squared neck facing is unusual; normally the edges would be rounded. Normally a young woman would wear a white jacket “chogori” under the yellow one, but this one is not. During the late Chosun Dynasty, the lower sleeve edge was rounded. Under trousers were slit at the back for ease in using the toilet. Red was a popular colour for young girls’ skirts.

Specific Techniques

Some seams sewn with invisible, concealed stitches. The jacket “chogori” is lined, and the layers attached with invisible, concealed stitches. The skirt is a single loom width of hand-woven cloth, dyed with synthetic dye. The original, unfaded of the skirt was too bright for the cloth to have been dyed with natural dye. The hem and edges are pasted, as are the neck facings.

Iconographic Meaning

Doll represents the teenage daughter in the family of dolls. The clothing and ornaments indicate that the doll was part of the yangban class, the highest social class during the late Chonson Dynasty. The doll’s braid, with its hair ribbon, indicates that she is unmarried. If she were married, her hair would be in a bun. The very short jacket “chogori” indicates that the clothing is of the late Chosun Dynasty. The fact that the skirt is lapped to the right normally would signal that the young woman was a prostitute, but she is not. There was confusion about this in this period.

Item History

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