3/10/12Naturally Beautiful: Ancient Korean Makeup The Korea Blog2/4blog.korea.net/?p=6762
usually tell which class a woman belonged to based not only on the way they dressed but on theway they colored their faces as well.
An 18th century Korean beauty. Attributed to Kim Hong-Do(A.D. 1745- ?) © Seoul National University Museum
Simple and light makeup was especially preferred by the upper class women and was seen bythem as the ideal look of beauty, according to the Record of the Chinese Embassy to the KoryoCourt, Xuanhe fengshi Gaoli tujing (1123) . Applying too much makeup was a no-no, so the onlycosmetic they colored their faces with were powder without rouge. They also liked drawingeyebrows in the shape of a willow leaf.During the Chosun period, aristocratic women began using a mixture of flower ashes, indigo plantsand gold powder for the eyebrows. Makeup made of saffron flowers and cinnabar, meanwhile, wereused for the cheeks and lips. A pale skin color was preferred, in accordance to the Confucian idealof dignified and simple demeanor. They avoided white powder for the face, since this wasassociated with the lowly kisaeng, or women entertainers who were trained in the art of music,dance and poetry. Instead, aristocratic women of the time used light-peach-colored makeup. Tomake their hair shiny, upper class women applied peony flower oil.The common people of Chosun were not to be left out. They also enhanced their features withcolor, but with less expensive cosmetics. To highlight their eyebrows, they used a piece of charcoal (which explains the charcoal-for-the-eyebrows scene in K-drama Hwang Jin-Yi). For thelips, they used dried red pepper.Natural makeup, which didnt contain preservatives, was made in small batches according to whatwomen needed per makeup application. Makeup items were kept in small containers with narrowopenings to prevent contamination and spoilage.
Kyuhapchongso: Aristocratic womens guidebook
More can be learned about how Korean women beautified themselves through the bookKyuhapchongso (1809), which contains a comprehensive guide for Chosun periods upper classwomen on how to make cosmetic products and fragrances, perfumes, and oils for the hair. Thebook even has descriptions of shapes of eyebrows.
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