Korean paper

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Ancient uses

Ever since paper was first introduced to the commoners in ancient Koreans, its uses have been adapted into various and unique ways. Hanji was used to help people in the daily lives. They covered their door frame with Hanji and controlled the room temperature. The high social class people, called Yangbans, recorded various documents on Hanji. This is one of the main reasons why Korea's ancient records are well preserved. It was one of the main export products that Korean dynasties used in trading (Seo). Another unique usage of Hanji is that people made armors out of Hanji. Even though Hanji is just a paper, it was very durable and tough. It was waterproof, and did not rip easily. There is a record in Korea saying that people made armors and suits with Hanji, and called them "Jigap".

Hanji art and craft forms

There are two divisions of hanji art: two-dimensional and three-dimensional. Two-dimensional hanji art uses paper of various colors to create an image in a similar format as a painting. However, the paper itself is folded and crumpled to make the image stick up from the paper it is adhered to. People make various shapes with Hanji and frame it to exhibit on their wall. Three-dimensional hanji art is similar to paper mache, in that it can make sculptural objects that may stand unsupported. 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. Ancient Koreans commonly put their sewing materials in small boxes decorated with colorful Hanji ("Hanji Crafting"). 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. Other than these, Hanji was made into various flowers to decorate Buddhist temples ("Hanji Crafting").

See also


Cleaning the Bark. Doopedia. Web. 10 March 2016.

"Hanji Crafting." Naver Encyclopedia (Doopedia). Naver, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

"Hanji's History." Museum Hanji. Gwasan Hanji Museum, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

"Jigap." Naver Encyclopedia (Doopedia). Naver, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

Lee, Aimee. Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking. Ann Arbor, Mich: The Legacy Press, 2012.

Mulberry Tree. Doopedia. Web. 10 March 2016.

"Paper Mulberry." Naver Encyclopedia (Doopedia). Naver, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.

Seo, Jungho. How to Preserve Cultural Properties. Seoul: Kyungin Publishing, 2008. Print.

Song, Minah, and Jesse Munn. "Permanence, Durability and Unique Properties of Hanji." FIDES International. FIDES International. Web. 2 Mar. 2016.

"Sunset Hibiscus." Naver Encyclopedia (Doopedia). Naver, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

"The Significance of Hanji." Naver Encyclopedia (Doopedia). Naver, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"The Story of Hanji." Visit Korea. Korean Tour Organization (KTO), n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

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During ancient times, Korean craftsmen and women mastered a range of artistic techniques and utilized them to produce essential and decorative items in the traditional Korean home. These days, traditional handicrafts are still seen in Korean homes, but are also sold as souvenirs to foreign tourists that come to visit the country. Many of these handmade specialty crafts are found in Insadong or Bukcheon, where a lot of local craftsmen and women sell handicrafts. Not only do Korean handicrafts serve practical purposes, but are also a representation of the Korean culture itself. Many foreigners and locals appreciate traditional Korean handicrafts because of its colourful and intricate nature.


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Further reading

Korean paper