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Monday, August 5, 2013

단청 Dancheong a Korean Ornamental Pattern

단청 Dancheong is ornamental decorative painting applied on the wooden buildings such as in the royal palaces, temples and shrines.
The ornamental painting originated in wall paintings in a cave appeared 20,000 years ago and still use in the era of Three Kingdoms and it became more developed with the introduction of Buddhism.
Several dancheong from the Goryeo period such as Josadang (조사당) of Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Geukrakjeon (극락전) at Bongjeongsa Temple in Andong, and Daeungjeon (대웅전) of Sudeoksa Temple in Yesan.

During The Joseon Dynasty, the dancheong painting technique wan improved and diversified. The general characteristics of Joseon dancheong included the complex but refined compositions of patterns, strong color contrasts, and expressive rendering.

 Wood Patterns of Gyeongbokgung. Photo Credit : Maria Margareta
Wood Patterns of Gyeongbokgung. Photo Credit : Maria Margareta
Wood patterns of Bongeunsa Temple. Photo Credit : Maria Margareta

Steps of making Dancheong are as follows:
an artisants called dancheongjang (단청장) plasters blue green soil on the surface of a building, laying the drawing on the surface, tapping a powder bag on the drawing.
As power comes out from the small holes of the bag, designs are drawn on the surface.
Then the painter paints the building reffering to the traditional color scheme for Korean buildings in with five colors: blue represents of east, red represents of south, yellow represents of center, white represents of west and black represents of north, according to the design.

Photo Credit :

The pattern compositions of dancheong can be displayed in animal pattern or plants pattern. Such as dragons or phoenixes, plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo and also represented of social status according to the pattern.

Dancheong was made to protect the building frame, acts as surface coating to supplement the weakness of the timber and from the weather It also helps the building display its majesty and sacredness.

Sources :
Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korea.
Korean Patterns
Some online resources.

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