KOREAN CULTURE

FEED YOUR S[e]OUL EP01: Traditional Korean Hanbok in Historical K-Dramas like “Under The Queen’s Umbrella”

For people who love to watch period K-dramas, the most impressive sight would always be the set and the costumes. Up to the most intricate details, you will see how they are all meticulously done. For this segment, we will highlight more on the traditional hanbok worn to give life to the characters during the Joseon period.

KOREAN HANBOK

In this first episode of FEED YOUR S[e]OUL, we will talk about Hanbok which is the traditional attire of the Korean people. Han means ‘’Korea’’ and Bok means ‘’Clothing’’. Nowadays, it is only worn on special occasions or anniversaries while many tourists love to try it our in several rental shops while visiting cultural spots for its elegance in style and the “feel” of living like a royalty in the Joseon period.

While the traditional hanbok was beautiful in its own right, the design has changed slowly but surely over the generations. The unique lines of the hanbok appear at their greatest when the wearer is in motion. Another special feature of the hanbok is its shape, having a slim top and wide bottom, similar to a bell. The tightly fitting jacket attractively reflects the shape of the upper body. The wide and flexible skirt flatters the wearer’s gracefulness by hiding the movements of the lower body, so the wearer appears to be floating on air. A full set of hanbok for men consists of a vest, jeogori (top jacket), and a pair of pants while women’s include a jeogori, undershirt, skirt, and a pair of pantaloons. (source: visitkorea.or.kr)

During ancient time, the higher class showed their authority with their knowledge more than with money or exterior signs of wealth. They wore colorful hanboks with golden accessories while there are very distinct colors choices for the scholars (blue) and other people in the government (purple). In contrast, the lower class could only wear hanbok in plain and less flashy colors. The hanbok was a way to separate the different social classes present in Korea: the royal family, aristocracy and the ordinary people.

THE QUEEN’S UMBRELLA

This drama centers on the role of mothers and their unique methods to make sure their kids reach the highest point of success. The lead star Kim Hye Soo (who was highly commendable on her portrayal in her last drama JUVENILE JUSTICE which also talks about parenting and other social issues) took the role as queen Im Hwa Ryung, the wife of a great king with the task of raising five trouble-making sons. With the untimely and questionable death of her eldest son and Prince (heir to the throne), the King was pressured to choose his new successor. Among them are his four other sons and several others from his concubines (which is acceptable and normal during that period).

Queen Im Hwa Ryung always display a strong facade but is caring, loving, and very diplomatic – deep inside. She is very protective of her sons. Out of her love, she can tolerate and understand his son’s limitations and personal ordeals, but teaching them to be responsible for their actions and decisions. She is the envy of many concubines but all of them respects her in the end for her genuine concern, and amazing way of handling situations.

Next is the Queen Dowager, the mother of king Lee Ho (Choi Won Young). She is very cunning and a schemer. She would take every opportunity to use other people’s weakness to get what she wants. With her difficult past, she longs to control the kingdom by manipulating the selection of the next king. Let’s watch the drama until the end to see where her antics will lead her and if the King will be brave enough to get out of her mother’s control for the sake of the Kingdom.

Among the many concubines fighting for their place in the palace is Hwang Gwi In and her dear son prince Eui Sung. Her painful past and their family’s quest to “regain their lost honor and place in the palace” is their sole purpose. She would do anything, even use wrong methods to seek revenge and glory. With this, her son takes the same motivation that would surely lead him to defeat and frustrations.

Another interesting maternal character is Tae So Yong and her son prince Bo Gum (Kim Min Ki). Among the many concubines, the queen find her very interesting. She is very gullible and her desire to get into power will eventually affect her son who’s wisdom is really exceptional. Sadly, her lowly background posed a hindrance for his son’s quest to become the next prince.

UNDER THE QUEEN’S UMBRELLA is a period drama that talks about the power struggles in the government then which still exists up to now. It also shows the bad effects of revenge and ill motives plus other life lessons especially on raising our kids that’s also applicable at this time and age. Episode 11 is rich in wisdom and reveals the “mother’s heart” of the queen. In the end, it’s all about DECISIONS: parent’s decisions that will affect their children’s future and the child’s decision to follow what is good or bad.

Source: https://www.soompi.com/article/1546804wpp/kim-hye-soo-kim-hae-sook-and-more-share-their-unique-education-strategies-in-intriguing-posters-for-the-queens-umbrella

Netflix’s “The Queen’s Umbrella” premiered on October 15 available in 16 episodes up to Dec 4

FEED YOUR S[e]OUL is a special feature of Best Life Qatar in partnership with the Korean Embassy in Qatar for the promotion of Korean culture through social media. This will cover various topics of interest ranging from food, travel, music, traditions, and more.

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