Hanbok 101: Geumbak

Hanbok 101: Geumbak

Geumbak (금박)

Wearing gold is never a bad idea. ;)

Just look how pretty the patterning is! ^^

Photo credit: Justin Kunimoto Photography


Geumbak is found on articles of Korean clothing that are worn for primarily important occasions such as weddings!

The use of geumbak in clothing originated from the Three Kingdoms Period, and particularly during the Goryeo (고려) Dynasty. Geumbak also represents social status and wealth! 

Hence, geumbak was commonly worn by those who were in the higher ranks of society. Such positions included upper-ranking government officials and the royal family. 


But how is geumbak made? 

Geumbak is made from a combination of leaved gold and gold powder. Once the substance becomes fully formed, the geumbak is applied onto a sheet (that was solely used for fabric-crafting!).

 During the Goreyo (고려) Dynasty, geumbak was applied onto wood blocks with glue. Once the block was completely engraved, clothing artisans stamped the block onto the fabric. After that, a thin sheet of paper was used to lightly "tap" the gold pattern on. 


These photos were definitely not taken during the Goryeo (고려) Dynasty but show a somewhat accurate depiction of how geumbak was traditionally applied!

Photo credit: Naver


Geumbak was initially worn by wealthier members of society, but gradually grew to become more accessible to the general public!


How is geumbak applied in the present day?

In the 21st-century, clothing artisans apply geumbak onto garments by ironing! 

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of how our designers at LEEHWA give our handmade hanboks their special golden glamour:


The gold-pleated sheet is first carefully placed above the fabric.


Once the length of the gold pattern is all lined up, the designer irons on the sheet! 


The entire process is quite simple, as it only takes roughly 15-20 minutes! Once the designer finishes ironing the fabric, the result looks like this.



As you can see, geumbak continues to be used for hanbok-crafting.

LEEHWA prides itself in continuing this fashion tradition to provide our clients with a once-in-a-lifetime hanbok experience.

Any inquiries can be directed to hello@leehwawedding.com, and our website can be found here.

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