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A Study on the Modifications of Official Uniforms of Government Officials in the early Goryeo Dynasty

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2016, (121), pp.161-199
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

KIM BO KWANG 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims to investigate the modification of official uniforms of government officials by looking at changes in the system of official uniforms of government officials between the 11th year of King Gwangjong’s reign (960) and the year of King Uijong’s reign (before and after Year 1160). As there are the cases of government officials wearing official belts and official attires in purple, celadon green and velvet during the years of King Taejo’s reign, it is assumed that government officials of the Goryeo court wore them from the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty. However, it is difficult to know how exactly it was implemented since the dynasty was still in chaos with the remaining legacies of the Silla Dynasty. But it seems that in the 11th year of King Gwangjong’s reign, the system of official uniforms was established after adopting the system of the Later Zhou Dynasty and rearranging it in a certain way. Four colors of official uniforms such as purple, velvet, red and celadon green were introduced and worn by government officials according to their ranks in office such as Gwan-gye or titles such as Jungdan-gyeong, Dohang-gyeong and Sojubu. However, as the government structure was overhauled during the reign of King Seongjong, changes were made to the existing public offices and positions. Moreover, under the revised system of official uniforms of government officials during the reign of King Hyeongjong, three colors of official uniforms, namely purple, red and green remained while the velvet color was removed. Therefore, it is assumed that during the new bureaucratic system of King Seongjong, not only did the official uniforms of low-ranking government officials change but also the court attire system of three colors, namely purple, red and green was revised. In the Goryeo Dynasty after the reign of King Munjong, the importance of ancestral rites was emphasized while the social order and recovery were promoted, and during the reign of King Uijong they became codified. The records of differentiating the official uniforms of three colors to indicate government officials above level 4, level 6 and level 9 were found in a story accounted by Xu Jing who visited Goryeo during the reign of King Injong. Though Xu Jing understood such structure of the system as a copy of the system in the Song China, it reflected the political system of the Tang Dynasty customized by the Song.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.