Art History Lesson

“Bowl with Characters of Su and Bok”
Joseon 1897
Ewha Womans University Museum

This bowl, decorated with characters meaning “longevity” (su) and “wealth and happiness” (bok), illustrates the people’s desire to live long, healthy lives, and shows their appreciation for the value of food.

“Bat-Shaped Pendant with Perfume Pouch”
Joseon 19th century
Chang Pudeok, Memorial Gallery, Ewha Womans University Museum

Noble women would carry their perfume in a pouch like this. Note the bat-shaped pendant adorning it. The bat is regarded as a blessed animal because the Chinese character for bat (bok), sounds similar to the Korean word for “blessing.”

“White Brass Hair-Parting Pin”
Joseon 19th century
Chang Pudeok Memorial Gallery, Ewha Womans University Museum

This traditional pin (goltarae) had two purposes. The narrow, sharp side was used for parting hair, while the thin, rounded side was used for cleaning combs. The antiquated-style characters on the front translate to “a pin for parting hair.”

*Images and descriptions here were taken from 2009 Ewha Photo Diary: Characters in Korean Art Works.

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