Published to coincide with the exhibition of the same name at the Powerhouse Museum from September 1998, Rapt in Colour: Korean textiles and Costumes of the Choson Dynasty features costumes and wrapping cloths of vibrant colour and great beauty dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. From ancient times Korean people have believed that by wrapping an object, good fortune or pok can be contained within the wrapping cloth.
The publication includes essays by authors from Korea, the USA and Australia which introduce the history and traditions of Korean dress and wrapping cloths and explore the social and cultural environment in which wrapping cloths were made and used.
The creators of [these] costume and textiles … were anonymous women whose lives were governed by the strict social ideology of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910). Within a social hierarchy which privileged men, women found enjoyment through needle work as sewing and embroidery were among the few accepted or encouraged activities through which they could explore their talent. Hand sewn clothing and functional textiles such as wrapping cloths from the Choson period are therefore a poignant expression of the way in which Korean women entertained themselves and communicated their passion, love and hope.
Exhibition and publication sponsored by the Australia-Korea Foundation, the Myer Foundation and Korean Air.