An art form that originated from ordinary Korean women’s daily life
A few days ago, I escaped the humidity and roar of Bangkok’s down-town traffic by stepping into the Korean Cultural Center. The cool, calm interior led me upstairs, where a few times before I’ve stumbled on exhibitions of Korean art.
This time I was greeted by the gorgeous sway of Jogakbo handicraft, a traditional form of Korean patchwork used to create wrapping cloths (known as bojagi).
Jogakbo originated from the daily lives of ordinary Korean women. During the Joseon dynasty (1392 – 1910), women were excluded from formal education and concentrated on domestic tasks such as weaving and embroidery.
The delicacy, beauty and wisdom of Korean ancestry
My first impression was of proud kites dancing joyously in the wind. In addition to the dazzling colors, I was struck by how these handicrafts so completely embodied the traditional approach to color, pattern and composition that I’ve seen throughout other Korean art.
The patterns reminded me of the artist Piet Mondrian who used colorful geometric shapes in his paintings. In fact, Jogakbo has been extremely influential on Japanese embroiderers and artists working in other areas, including clothing designer Karl Lagerfeld.
As if I wasn’t sufficiently immersed, reading the titles of each piece in this exhibition opened up a whole new world of wonder… ‘A Dazzling Day’, ‘Dream of Rectangle’, ‘Climbing Over’, ‘A Feast of Spring’. Each title was so perfect I couldn’t imagine changing one word (please hover over the images on this page to see the titles).
Which is your favorite?