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Court attire - jobok (조복)

jobok (조복)

  • Object:

    Court attire

  • Place of origin:

    Korea (made)

  • Date:

    1880-1910 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk gauze

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This robe is part of a small group of Korean court garments bought in 1919 from the Reverend Stanley Smith, a former Christian missionary in Seoul. Taken together, they form the jobok (조복), the most splendid outfit worn at the royal court, both by the royal family and the court officials. The jobok was introduced in 1416 in the reign of King Taejong and was reserved for events including ancestral rites, morning meetings, the winter solstice and New Year’s Day.

The main elements of the jobok are a red outer robe, a blue inner robe, a red skirt, embroidered aprons, a gilded belt, a headdress and boots. Specific details on the garments indicate the wearer’s rank. These include the embroidery on the aprons, the ornaments on the belt and the number of lines on the headdress. The jobok reveals something of the pomp and ceremony of court life during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910).

Physical description

This wide-sleeved inner robe is called cheongchoui (청초의), and it is part of the jobok (조복), the official court attire. It is made of extremely fine silk gauze handwoven by a court artisan, and its patterns consist of encircled pairs of curling dragons chasing flaming pearls. Originally white, the colour of the robe gradually changed to jade green and eventually bright blue, using natural dyes.

The robe is worn over underclothes, and a red pleated skirt, called jeokchosang (적초상), is worn over the inner robe. In the later period of the Joseon dynasty, the skirt panels are sewn directly onto the inner robe. This robe is one of the rare examples remaining from the Joseon period.

Place of Origin

Korea (made)


1880-1910 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk gauze


Length: 130 cm Center back to sleeve end, Width: 188 cm, Length: 52.5 cm sleeve

Descriptive line

Wide-sleeved blue inner robe with front and rear pleated panels in red. Cuffs, hem and panels edged in black with collar edged in white silk.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Beth McKillop.
Korean Art and Design.
London: V&A,
National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. Daejeon: National Research Institue of Cultural Heritage, 2013, p. 279.


Silk gauze




Textiles; Ceremonial objects; Formal wear; Royalty


East Asia Collection

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