We all dream throughout our lives. Everyone harbors their own wishes and anticipations, expecting them to come true. Long ago, before the Western ways of life settled in Korea, people engraved such wishes onto their dwellings and appliances, ardently hoping for their realization. As objects that cozily tuck one into sleep at the end of the day, pillow pads were also endowed with various wishes.
Traditional Korean pillows bear a wide variety of monikers depending on their use, form, and material, ranging from wooden to bamboo pillows, embroidered or even drawer-type pillows. Pillows consist of its body where the head rests, filling, pads that cap the sides, and white cloth covers. One of the most unique features of the traditional pillows is that pads cap the sides to shape the pillow. Round or square-shaped, the pads were decorated in splendor with embroidery, mother-of-pearl, or horn-based lacquer. Embroidered pads, in particular, bore colorful patterns including phoenixes and mandarin ducks as the symbol of harmonious and loving marriage, peonies to wish for wealth and prosperity, and Chinese characters that signify longevity, fortune, and happiness. The beautiful patterns were unfolded on the palm-sized cloths in colorful threads, like brush strokes sliding over a white paper. One can find how the patterns became unique creations, born again each time through the embroiderers’ signature compositions or techniques, and how their shapes also have evolved over generation.
This is the twenty-fifth edition of the Coreana Cosmetics Museum’s thematic exhibition series, which is intended to introduce the legacy of traditional pillows and the meanings of various pillow pad patterns. The exhibition will serve as an opportunity for the visitors to appreciate the exquisite craftwork of the
Supported by Coreana Cosmetics, Co., Ltd.