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Monday, February 27, 2012

Maedeup, a Korean Knots

Photo Maria Margareta
Maedeup is a Korean handicraft skill of weaving many strands of thread together to make a cord and of tying them to make knots with various design and shapes such as butterfly, lotus, dragonfly, cicada, chrysanthemum or ginger. It also made with various colors.
Knot-tying was developed somewhat differently in East Asia and the West. It is have been used in Korea since The Three Kingdoms period. It have been found in the clothing and personal ornaments revealed in documents and wall paintings of that time. Now maedeup have been used the the decoration or personal ornaments. It can be used as an accessories of the norigae, lucky bag ties, or we can find it as an music instrument's accessories.

Brown color maedeups for Geomungo accessories

 Video credits : 
36.궁중매듭 - 서울디자인자산 uploaded by nexyglo
Garakji Maedeup One Cord uploaded by constantcrafter
Korea Traditional Knot -Dorae knot 한국전통매듭 배워보기 1 (도래매듭) uploaded by kjscms65

Saturday, February 25, 2012

짚신 Korean Traditional Shoes

짚신 Jipsin is a pair of woven straw shoes in Korea and has a long history. It had been worn by the commoners since the time of The Three Kingdoms. When people in Korea were engaged in farming, the material, "straw" or we can called "jip" in Korean was very easy to find. People made jipsin on the winter, when they were off from farming.

Bae Soo Bin wore jipsin on Dong Yi. Photo : imbc
 The making of jipsin, steps :

Bibliography :
An Illustrated Guide to Korean Culture.

Video credit :
풀짚 짚신만들기 uploaded by PULZIPmaster on Youtube.

노리개 Norigae

노리개 Norigae is a decorative pendant hung from the outer or inner breast-tie of the short upper garment names jeogori which is part of Hanbok and is part of Korean woman accessories. In the past times woman’s status or social rank could be seen from what kind of norigae she wore. Woman from high social status including princess or queens were used high precious material of norigae such as jade, gold, silver, jewels and other precious stones.

Photo Maria Margareta
Each set of norigae is classified as a one-part (danjak), a two-part (ijak) or a three-part (samjak).  They are the clasp (ttidon),the cord which is including the Korean knots (maedeup) and tassels (dahoe), and the main ornament (juche).

The ttidon originally reffered to the metal hooks with small decorative and various shape, used for fastening different types of bands. The function is to hold the norigae strands together and hang them to the blouse or sash. The main ornament is connected to the ttidon with a silk cord and decorative knots and a tassel is attached to the lower part. It is usually ranged 20 cm to 40 cm length for adults hanbok.

The motifs for the main ornament can be animals shapes (duck as a symbol of love, butterfly as a symbol of happiness marriage, tiger as a symbol of good fortune, haetae etc), plants shapes (grape, pomegranate as a symbol of properous family, acorn, peach as a symbol of eternal youth, lotus flower as a symbol of fertility etc), auspicious characters (longevity, fortune, happy etc), religious symbols (Buddha’s hand, Bhuddist Mala Beads), others (pouch, large bellsm arrow-pot, stone lamp, bells as a symbol of enlightenment and harmony, etc).

Norigae is not just an accessories, norigae also can be used for something useful things such as perfume cases, needle case, ornamental knife, medicinal properties

Bibliography :
Norigae, Splendor of the Korean Costume by Lee Kyung Ja. Ewha Womans University.

Korean TV Commercials from Time to Time

I found some of Korean TV commercials aired 40 years ago and I put also the current TV commercials for the comparison. On my point of view, Korea has used high technology for TV commercials since many decades ago and still using it until now. We can see the old animation CF which is the animation was made with good concept and smooth animation.

TV commercials :

Korean Air

Korean classic animation commercial : good concept and smooth animation.

Automotive TV commercials : 

Hyundai commercial :

KIA commercial

Other TV commercials :

The current TV commercials :

Video credits on Youtube :
korean old CF018 uploaded by gomigomi7
korean old CF031 uploaded by gomigomi7
korean old CF uploaded by gomigomi7
korean old CF041 uploaded by gomigomi7
korean old CF104 uploaded by gomigomi7
2000 Binggrae Together (ice cream) TV-CF_Together Class(LMS) uploaded by bingtogether
Joo Ji Hoon - Crown Butter Waffle CF (20s) uploaded by boolovescfs
Korea CF uploaded by Ukaya33
바나나맛우유_(2009)_Banana Flavored Milk uploaded by bingsmile
SNSD CF - Samyang Ramyun 30"B Winter Nov30.2009 GIRLS' GENERATION PyeongChang uploaded by aslotussradio
HYUN BIN crunches - Samsung Smart TV CF 2011-03-25 uploaded by Kwinnart on Mar 24, 2011
2011 Lotte Duty Free CF MV - So I'm Loving You uploaded by littlebean
2012 Kia Soul Hamster Commercial - LMFAO party rock anthem uploaded by SRO6789

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[Korean Traditional Musical Instruments Part 1] Chordophones

Chordophones definitions
A chordophone is any musical instrument that makes sound by way of a vibrating string or strings stretched between two points.

The most common chordophones musical intruments are violin, guitar, harp and piano.

Korea also has the traditional chordophones intruments, they are :

가야금 Gayageum

Gayageum literally means "a stringed instrument from the country of Gaya" is a twelve-stringed zither with twelve movable bridges. It is made of paulownia and chestnut wood. The front board side is made of paulownia as a sounding board with twelve silk strings of different thicknesses are uniformly tied in a row, each string is streched over an anjok (a small wooden pillar resembling a wild goose's foot and it is used for tuning and the back side is made from chestnut.
A gayageum player sitting cross-legged, places the instrument across the lap horizontally, pluck its strings with the right hand and vibrates its strings with the left hand.
There are two kinds of gayageum : 정악 가야금 jeongak gayageum, gayageum for elegant music and was used for classical music in the court and high society and 산조 가야금 sanjo gayageum, gayageum for Sanjo music was used for folk musical. Sanjo gayageum is smaller than jeongak gayageum.

 산조 가야금 sanjo gayageum

Gayageum applied in fusion genre

This instrument usually play by female because the cleary and gracefully sound from gayageum is represent as a woman. Gayageum can be played solo or ensemble.

거문고 Geomungo

Geomungo is a six-stringed zither with sixteen fixed frets and three movable bridges. It is also made from paulownia and chestnut wood same as gayageum material. The six silk strings are also have different thicknesses. The geomungo player plucks strings on the resonance chamber of a long flat wooden box with a short thin bar called suldae. Suldae is made from hard bamboo. Geomungo can create deep, wild and fierce sound that gayageum can not make. 


Because of the sound character, geomungo usually related with masculinity. This instrument is recognized as a native Korean instruments which has been found in wall paintings of the tombs from The Goguryeo Dynasty. 


This Korean instruments was played in all literati ensembles and retains a prominent position in many court pieces, now it is used for solo and ensemble.

아쟁 Ajaeng

Ajaeng is an eight-stringed zither, bowed with a forsythia stick. It is one of two bowed Korean traditional instruments besides 해금 haegeum. It was usually used in court music. 

 Players sit behind the ajaeng and bow close to the top of each string, the fingers of the left hand adding ornamentation beyong the bridges.

해금 Haegeum

해금 is a two-string bowed Korean musical instruments and there are only two types of Korean bowed instruments. 해금 contains a bamboo resonator and neck, wooden pegs, rosin, a metal base plate, silk strings a gourd bridge leather of bow and a coating of crushed stone inside the resonator.

Korean lullaby  played with 해금

lyrics :

엄마가 섬그늘에
따려 가면
아기가 혼자 남아 집을 보다가
바다가 불러주는 자랑 노래에 팔베고
스르르르 잠이 듭니다.

해금 has a neck with two tuning pegs. The neck passes through a tubular resonator of bamboo or hardwood at its base. A wooden soundboard is glued to the front of the resonator and a small bridge stresses two twisted silk strings over this soundboard. A horsehair bow passes between the two strings. It is attached by a metal cap to one end of a flexible bamboo shaft. Rosin needs to be applied regularly to the bow, working it in both directions while keeping the bow tightly streched , to increase friction on the strings. The position of the bridge controls the sound. It should be placed between the top edge of the soundboard and its center point. When placed near the top, a thin sound is produced, suitable for small ensemble and for accompanying singers in lyric songs. With the bridge placed a little above the center point, the haegeum produces a rounder more piercing sound, ideal for large ensemble and solo pieces. 
Haegeum was used in various kinds of music such as royal ancestral rites, parades, festivals, and hyangak (Korean music).

양금 Yanggeum

양금 or Korean dulcimer literally means western zither because it was brought from Europe to Korea through China. 양금 was also called Guracheolsageum has a clearly beautiful sound with fourteen quadruple metal strings are streched over and under two bridges.

Bibliography :
A Introduction to Korean Traditional Performing Arts.
An Illustrated Guide to Korean Culture.

Photos :
Korean Traditional Musical Instruments Exhibition, Korean Cultural Center Jakarta. Photographer and digital editing by Maria Margareta.

Video credits on Youtube :
Koart 국악 동영상 [성금연류 가야금산조-지성자].flv uploaded by koartny80
정민아 - 무엇이 되어 (Jung Min A - Whatever we become) uploaded by sonicscapee
The harp from Korea uploaded by ExploringKorea
정중동 (Movement on Silence) by geomungofactory uploaded by kindheartedgeomungo
Gu(old) Arirang - Seola. Kim uploaded by TheAjaeng
국악_대지의꽃 아쟁산조_백인영[국악방송 영상](HD)] uploaded by wagel78
조혜령 해금-취타풍류 uploaded by haegum100
해금 조혜령 - 섬집아기 (SumJip-AhYi) Korean Lullaby uploaded by SuperTheseus
Doraji Arirang - 해금 조혜령 & KBS Symphony Orchestra uploaded by SuperTheseus
양금3중주 장군별 uploaded by uriminzokkiri
국악_수요남극_국악방송 uploaded by wagel78

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Korean Agricultural Commodity

Korea not as known from ginseng only, garlic is also one of Korean agricultural commodity. Garlic is a main part for cooking and medicine. All of Korean cuisines almost put garlic as an ingredient, garlic also gives many benefit for health and body. It prevents from high blood pressure, cancer and increase the stamina.

의성군 Uiseong County (Uiseong-gun) is a county in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, South Korea. This rural area located near the center of the province, it is bounded by Andong on the north, Cheongsong on the east, Gunwi County on the south, and Sangju and Yecheon on the west.

Photo : wikipedia
Garlic Tower at Mancheon-ri, Geumseong-myeon. Photo : wikipedia

The one of great Korean agricultural comodity from Uiseong county is a black garlic. Black garlic also gives good benefits for the body as an antioxidant and prevents from cancer.

Photo :

Video credit : uploaded by arirangtoday on Youtube.

The New School Day System in Korea

The new five-day school week system in Korea will be starting on the new semester on March 2012 from Elementary grade, middle and High school grade.

The school year system in Korea is divided into two semesters.
The first semester begins in the beginning of March and ends in mid of July and the second semester begins in late August and ends in mid of February.
The summer vacation starts from mid of July to late August, and winter vacation from late of December to early February. a short vacation from mid-February to early March.

Video source : uploaded by arirangtoday on Youtube.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

한지 Hanji, more than just a Paper

한지 Hanji

photo credit :
taken from words 'Han' means Korea and 'Ji', paper, was made of the inner bark of the mulberry tree. The growth of the mulberry tree is largely affected by its environment such as climate and soil condition and will determine the quality of the paper. Main material for Hanji is simple, paper mulberry, natural formation aid, and clean water. Hanji was developed between the 4th century and the early 7th century.

Hanji not only for calligraphy, painting, and books. It is used also for doors, walls, windows, furnitures, umbrellas, lanterns, boxes, baskets, fans, shoes, and clothes. Strong, dimensionally stable, solid, does not tear easily in either direction and long lasting life are some of its character. We can see Hanji can be applicable from the household equipments to souvenirs.Very flexible and useful for everything.

Traditional Hanji craft forms include jiho, jido, and jiseung.

Jiho is a method that uses hanji scraps soaked in water and then added to glue, making a clay-like paste that can be molded into lidded bowls.
Jido is the craft of pasting many layers of hanji onto a pre-made frame, which can be made into sewing baskets and trunks.
Jiseung is a method of cording and weaving strips of hanji to make a wide array of household goods, including trays, baskets, mats, quivers, shoes, washbasins, and chamberpots.

There's an old Korean saying: 'Gyeon Oh Baek Ji Cheon Nyeon' – meaning silk lasts 500 years but paper lasts 1000. Not every paper is like that, of course. This only applies to Hanji created in the traditional Korean style.

Video credits on Youtube :
Dream Paper Hanji 한지 uploaded by lovearirang
The beauty of Korean Paper Crafts (한지공예) uploaded by lovearirang
Jiseung/Noyeokgae: paper weaving uploaded by moonaimee

References :
An Illustrated Guide to Korean Culture.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Miyeokguk, a Birthday Soup

I want something different for my birthday last year so that I planned to "celebrate" my birthday with Korean style. in Korea there is a tradition to eat a sup named 미역국 Miyeokguk and it serves on the birthday morning. So I asked my mom to cooked this and here is the photos ^^

미역국 Miyeokguk is a Korean dish, served on birthday. It is made from brown seaweed and meat. Brown seaweed soaked beforehand is put in soup made by boiling a shank or brisket of beef till tender and seasoning it with soy sauce. It is very easy to make.
This dish is also good for woman to consume after giving birth because the ingredients contains high calcium, iodine and nutrients. It's good to increase mother's milk and cure her stamina.

by Maria Margareta
personal experience.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sinmuyong, The New Era of Korean Dance in Early 20th Century

Literally means new dance, Sinmuyong is the period when Korean folk dance got many influences from outside Korea in the early of 20th century and it is also considered as the bridge between creative dance (Changjak chum) and traditional dance (Jeontong muyong). There are three dances from this era that commonly performed in official events, tourist venues or Korean cultural dance performance in other countries.

부채춤 Buchae Chum
Buchae Chun or Fan Dance can be categorized as a Sinmuyong which is the dance has been influenced by western culture and other culture outside from Korea since 1920.
This choral dance is created in th 20th century based on traditional movements. Buchae chum gives a neat, brilliant and colorful presentation seems like a butterfly or beautiful flower in full bloom.

photo credit

 For those who are already see this dance, everybody will agree with me that the format of this dance is very beautiful. Costumes, movements and music, all mixed together into one beautiful choral dance performance.

The basic idea of the movement is how to harmonize the dancers and fans (which is adopted from The shaman female solo dance) to make a beautiful figures in space. The figures can be as a blooming flower or waves like water.

장구춤 Janggo Chum
Janggo Chum is a type of dance performed to the various rhythmic cycles with the janggo slung over the dancer’s shoulder.
The video of 장구춤 Janggo Chum and we can see also 풍물 Pungmul. Pungmul is a Korean folk music performance.

화관무 Hwagwanmu

It is originally called Gojeon hyeongsik and the dancers wear Korean traditional wedding costume and hansam (a type of lone tube-like sash draped over each hand) and long sleeves.

The dancers throw the hansam upward, making them rise and fall in a wave like motion.

References :
Videos :
중앙무용단 부채춤 (Buchae Chum, Fan Dance) uploaded by Vernet1004 on Youtube.
중앙무용단 - 장구춤 (Janggo Chum, Hour Glass Drum Dance) uploaded by Vernet1004 on Youtube.
Introduction to Korean Traditional Dances # 3 uploaded by KoreanTheme on Youtube.

An Introduction to Korean Traditional  Performing Arts by Nam Sang-suk and Gim Hae-suk.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The First Full Moon Festival

During the evening at first full moon day of lunar calendar, Korean would burn bamboo and straw as they awaited the moon to come up. This is called 달집태우기(burning moon house). If moon house burned well, a good harvest was expected, but if the pile was put out halfway, the opposite.

Credits : uploaded by remkid00 on Youtube.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

경복궁 Gyeongbokgung

I captured Gyeongbokgung and made this video, hope you enjoy it ^^

Video credit :
uploaded by Maria Margareta (mugunghwa1605) on Youtube.