Korean Art and Korean Antiques

Rare Sangbok Set, Hemp Mourning Robe and Mourning Hat

Rare Sangbok Set, Hemp Mourning Robe and Mourning Hat

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Textiles: Pre 1900: Item # 1052088

Please refer to our stock # 0675 when inquiring.
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In the 19th Century, the Japanese called Korea 'The Land of Hats' because the Koreans had a hat for every occasion and every position in society. This is likely the only time you will see for sale an antique mourning set (sangbok), both hat and robe. This is another example of how rare Korean antiques are, especially compared to the abundance of antiques from the rest of Asia. The robe is made entirely of hemp. Even a rich man was expected to wear a humble hemp robe when in mourning. The mourning hat (baekrip) here is made of linen and very finely woven bamboo with silk chin straps. It is an exceptional example among the rare existing examples, because most mourning hats are made of hemp, but this one is made of a fine linen and the weaving of the bamboo is especially fine. This hat was worn when one was in mourning for a deceased family member or when the nation was mourning the passing of a king. Mourning hats had to be worn for two years, until the damje, the ceremony during which the mourning clothing is removed, just after the big daesang ceremony that marked the second anniversary of the death. We know these hats and robes from paintings and a few rare museum examples, but this fine set is the only one that is for sale anywhere on the market. Please take a good look at the fourth photo here, the underside of the hat, so you can see how incredibly fine is the weaving of the thinly-sliced bamboo. During the Joseon Dynasty, only stores that were licensed to make mourning hats could sell them. These stores were called baengripjeon. This antique set is being offered here at a price that is much lower than what it would cost to have it made by an artisan in Korea today. Robe: 45h x 25w inches, 114h x 63.5w cm; Hat: 12.25w x 5.5h inches, 31w x 14h cm.