Korean women have always taken great pride in hair. The styles and accessories have evolved over time, so let’s take a look at one prime period for hair: Chosun Dynasty.
During the Chosun Dynasty, an abundance of hair was considered a sign of beauty. The unmarried women would braid their hair down long (“almost to be kickable by foot”) and that was considered beautiful. Married women considered the larger size of the mound of hair on the top of their heads as a source of greater pride. Until mid Chosun, wearing hair pieces to make it larger was common. After the era of Chosun, due to the stability of society and the advance of the economy, attention to ceremonial outfits and hair accessories were high.
1) The Braided Hair with ‘Swallow Beak Daeng-gi’ Ribbon
It was the customary hair of unmarried women and men. The hair is parted in the middle, gathered in the back and braided straight down the middle. A ‘Swallow Beak Daeng-gi’ was tied to the end– the name comes from the pointy ends of the ribbon that look like Swallow Beaks. Girls wore red, and boys wore black.
2) ‘Placed’ Hair and Hair Pieces (Gacheh)
This hair is made by braiding the hair from the back and securing it around the front of the head. Along with the ‘Pinched’ Hair, it was the leading hair style for married women. From mid-Chosun, wearing a hair piece to create a taller and fuller style was popular.
3) ‘Pinched’ Hair with Hairstick
It was the normal hair for married women from mid-to-late-Chosun. The hair is parted down the middle and neatly gathered in the back, tied with a black daengi, braided into one rope, tied at the end with another daengi, wrapped and pinched, and secured with a hairstick.
4) Chupji Hair
Hair created by placing a chupji on the head, this style was popular among Queens and wealthy foreigners who were visiting the country. The chupji hair is accompanied by ‘pinched’ hair in the back with a hairstick.
(Stay tuned for PART II: “Korean Traditional Hair Accessories for Women”)