In search of beauty on Jeju Island
By Bae Ji-sook, SEOUL, The Korea Herald/ Asia News NetworkSEOUL, The Korea Herald/ Asia News Network-- Many people associate the Joseon era (1392-1910) with the color white. People often wore white outfits and enjoyed white on everything, garnering the moniker, “Baegeuiminjok (People in white clothes).” And the culture is often associated with words such as “humble” or “simple.”
February 5, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
At the Bonte Museum on Jeju Island, however, people will be able to learn more about the colorfulness of Joseon people in their everyday lives. Held under the theme of “In search of beauty,” the museum that opened in November on a mountainside on the southern island is determined to highlight what the upper class of the late Joseon period consumed through more than 1,500 items.
Soban, Surface and Line
Among a total of 300 household goods exhibited for the opening exhibition, soban, or dining table, presents the essence of people during the period.
“Due to the Confucian culture people dined individually, which means that everyone had a dining table of his or her own. A family had a number of soban equal to or more than the number of its members, which is quite a lot,” said Kim Ah-young, curator of the museum.
Tables differed according to regions, occasions and users. Red or black-lacquered tables reflected aristocratic sophistication, often adorned with mother-of-pearl inlays. The commoners went for simpler and less refined versions.
“One thing for sure is that whether it was used for servants' casual dinner or tea for wealthy ladies, soban was an intimate item for everyone,” Kim said.
“Soban consisted of line (the line of the table legs) and surface (the face of the table) and that's it. Soban is neat and very regal, just like our ancestors,” Kim added.
Folding Screen, Wishing for Longevity
Folding screens were placed in women's chambers or men's studies. They were mostly used for decoration purposes but also delivered special messages and wishes for longevity and success.