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[Korea Quiz] Oh my gat!

By Korea Herald

Published : Oct. 18, 2023 - 08:31

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In contemporary South Korea, hats are seldom seen as an essential accessory in men's fashion, reserved mostly for functional use like sun protection.

But in the Joseon era (1392-1910), hats were an integral and indispensable part of every outfit for men.

Today, the traditional hats are commonly referred to as "gat," but there existed a wide variety of hats used to match the wearer’s profession, social class and specific occasions. These hats varied in terms of shape, color and the materials used for their production, each having distinctive names. The black, tall hat with a wide brim, which is the most widely recognized shape of gat, was actually called "heungnip."

Netflix’s hit zombie series “Kingdom,” set in the Joseon era (1392-1910) and featuring characters wearing traditional Korean hats, has increased global interest in these cultural artifacts.

Inside these hats, men kept their long hair tied up in a style called “sangtu.” In Joseon’s Confucian society, both men and women refrained from cutting their hair, as it was considered a show of disrespect toward their parents who had given them their natural locks.

"Heungnip," worn by noblemen known as "seonbi," is delicately crafted from horsehair and features a bamboo frame, making it fragile. Seonbi, highly esteemed for their scholarly pursuits, considered physical activities beneath them and refrained from even running or rushing.

Find the answer on page #.

Answer: (a)