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Wrapping cloth (bojagi) 1800–1900

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), Joseon dynasty (13921910), 18001900. Korea. Patchwork silk with jewel motif. Acquisition made possible by Mrs. Ann Witter, 2002.7.

Bojagi is a general term for all wrapping cloths in Korea. Most bojagi were made with specific people and functions in mind, like when mothers crafted bojagi for their daughters before weddings. Bojagi were viewed more as craft pieces than artwork, and it is only in recent decades that the aesthetic value of bojagi was rediscovered. By sewing together small, used cloth of various shapes and skillfully juxtaposing vibrant colors, the unknown makers of these bojagi created an exciting design akin to modern abstract art.

Depending on its function, design, structure, and user, bojagi can have other names. For example, bojagi made for covering a table is sang bo (sang means table, and bo is an abbreviation of bojagi). Different names apply to various patchwork designs, as well as for those meant for royalty and ordinary people. Because the bojagi on display are patchworks of cloth remnants, they are jogak bo (jogak means small pieces).

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