Korea, South: Female fan dancer

Front view
Front view

General description Fan dancer with two fans, standing on a rectangular wooden block.

Dimensions 25.5 cm x 24 cm x 17 cm

Date when acquired  1998

Original Date  1998

Source South Korea;  a present from Ms Kim (a student of mine)


Plastic with painted features. Her hair is painted on at the front and has little plastic rectangles at the temples. The rest of her hair is made of black threads which are gathered tightly at the back of her neck in a long plait, tied with a ribbon. As she has her hair in a plait, she is most probably unmarried,


Back view
Back view


This doll is wearing a very decorative traditional Korean costume called hanbok, which consists of a long-sleeved jacket (jeogori) coming to just below the breasts and a very full wrap-around skirt (chima). The jacket is made of white cotton with a red trim (git) following the line of the V-shaped neck and multi-coloured striped cuffs (kkeutdong). There is a long bow (goreum) of the same multi-coloured material on the front of the jacket with a red eight-petalled metal flower holding it in place (possibly a stylised lotus flower). Her skirt is made of two layers of bright pink mesh. The upper layer has a row of ten-petalled flowers printed in gold running around it. The red ribbon holding her plait also has gold flowers on it but with 12 petals. She has a pair of white long-legged pants on underneath her skirts.

Her white shoes (hye) are part of her plastic body.


On the front of her head, the doll is wearing a very ornate and multi-coloured type of traditional coronet (jokduri). It has four threads in red, pink, yellow and green hanging down to between the eyes.

She has a feathered fan in each of her hands. The plastic fans are covered with printed pink mesh and with a golden trim at the edges. She is possibly a member of an ensemble performing the Korean fan dance, the Buchaechum.


Side view showing jokduri
Side view showing jokduri

Background information

The Korean Fan dance is believed to have originated with shamans performing nature rites using leaves. It has since then evolved into one of the most highly refined Korean dances used for celebrations of various sorts. Apart from their decorative and everyday functions, fans are thought to expel evil and bring prosperity. The Buchaechum is a relatively modern dance developed in the 18th century. The most modern version was created by Kim Baek-bong in 1954. It is usually performed by a group of female dancers using large fans, with which they represent various images such as birds, flowers, butterflies and waves. The grace of the music, along with the colourful costumes and shifting geometrical designs, leads the audience to believe that they are surrounded by a garden of flowers.


Source(s) of information




See also Korea: General information




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