Hanbok (South Korea) or Chosŏn-ot (North Korea) is the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of the Joseon (Chosŏn) period and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear during traditional festivals and celebrations.
Throughout history, Korea had a dual clothing tradition, in which rulers and aristocrats adopted different kinds of mixed foreign-influenced indigenous styles, while the commoners continued to use a distinct style of indigenous clothing that today is known as Hanbok.
Hanbok is the traditional Korean costume. Especially from Goryeo Dynasty, Hanbok had started to show differences in social status from people with the highest social status, kings, to with the lowest social status, slaves. In Hanbok, there had been many kinds and components. Their characteristics represented social status. The modern Hanbok does not express a person's status or social position anymore and, but Hanbok was an important element to distinguish it especially in Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty.
Two of this period's most notable products are Goryeo celadon pottery and the Tripitaka Koreana — the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) carved onto roughly 80,000 woodblocks and stored, and still in, Haeinsa. Subjects and officials of the Goryeo dynasty also created the world's first metal-based movable type in 1234; the oldest surviving movable metal type book, the Jikji, was made in 1377.
During the nearly five centuries of the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), celadon constituted the main type of ceramics produced on the Korean peninsula. This exquisite ware typically appears gray-green in hue. The color of Goryeo celadon owes much to the raw materials—specifically, the presence of iron in the clay and of iron oxide, manganese oxide, and quartz particles in the glaze—as well as to the firing conditions inside the kiln. Temperatures were commonly around, or below, 1150ºC, and the level of oxygen within the kiln was dramatically reduced at some stage of the firing; this is known as a reducing, rather than an oxidizing, atmosphere. Goryeo celadon ranges from a plain, undecorated type to objects with incised, carved, mold-impressed, or inlaid designs, and to vessels embellished with colorful compounds like iron oxide (black or brown) and copper oxide (red), and also with gold.
The term celadon is thought to derive from the name of the hero in a seventeenth-century French pastoral comedy. The color of the character Céladon's robe evoked, in the minds of Europeans, the distinctive green-glazed ceramics from China, where celadon originated. Some scholars object to such an arbitrary and romanticized Western nomenclature. Yet the ambiguity of the term celadon effectively captures the myriad hues of greens and blues of this ceramic type.
Celadon represents a major technological and conceptual shift in the history of Korean ceramics. The high-fired gray stoneware of the preceding Unified Silla dynasty (668–935) and Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.–668 A.D.) had set the stage for the manufacture of celadon, but the technology of the celadon glaze and of the kiln structure, adapted from China, was an important advance. Just as significant is the conceptual change. With the advent of celadon, particularly the highly refined pieces used by the royal court, there is a palpable aesthetic dynamic driving what ceramics should look like. Color becomes an important element in this transformation, as do interpretive designs in form and decoration.
Initially, Goryeo potters learned much of the technical expertise from the celadon traditions of Song-dynasty (960–1279) China, particularly of its southern coast. A Song envoy, Xu Jing (1091–1153), who visited the Goryeo capital, Gaeseong, in 1123, noted the resemblance of Goryeo ceramics to the celadons of China's Yue and Ru kilns. We see in early Goryeo examples a conscious emulation of certain stylistic features of Chinese wares—such as the shapes of bottles and bowls, and standard decorative motifs including lotuses, peonies, flying parrots, and scenes of waterfowl by the pond.
The Temple of Haeinsa, on Mount Gaya, is home to the Tripitaka Koreana , the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248. The buildings of Janggyeong Panjeon, which date from the 15th century, were constructed to house the woodblocks, which are also revered as exceptional works of art. As the oldest depository of the Tripitaka , they reveal an astonishing mastery of the invention and implementation of the conservation techniques used to preserve these woodblocks.