Copyright Momboleum via Creative Commons license via Flickr.com
Here's one of a child's hanbok - worn for the all important first birthday celebration.Historically, the hanbok dates as far back as 57B.C., as evidenced by wall murals found in the burial sites of ancient kings. Personally I find hanboks incredibly beautiful and much more comfortable than the Japanese kimono. Let's compare:
Copyright Okinawa Soba via Creative Commons license via Flickr.com
See how the kimono wraps very tight and narrow around the woman's boy? I have worn a kimono, there is no way to take a normal step in that narrow skirt. You have to mince forward, taking baby steps, causing you to feel as if you will topple over and fall flat on your face. The obi is tied so tight around the waist to insure that no woman will overeat while the breasts are flattened to shape the incredibly sexy form of a number 2 pencil. Due to the tightness of the kimono, you cannot run. You can perhaps waddle very quickly, but it may cause you to tilt from side to side so drastically that caution is advised when in a hurry. With much practice over many, many years, a fast trot can be achieved. You must retain a perfectly straight-backed and balanced torso even as your feet move in a road runner like blur. And what the heck is up with that samurai hairstyle? Let me clarify that I love the look of the kimono (not the hair though). I think it is an elegant and incredibly beautiful outfit which also doubles as an instrument of torture. However, if flesh eating zombies are after me, I would be ripping that thing off and running in my skivvies.
Now let's compare the Korean hanbok.
Copyright by photoren via Creative Commons license via Flickr.com
You can't help but notice immediately the wide flowing skirts, right? Now here's a skirt you can run in! Here's a skirt you can kick a man in the tenders in! Since I own several hanboks I can assure you that the skirts are flowing, comfortable pieces that make you feel like absolute royalty. And the hair is tied back in a simple bun with some beautiful accessories to compliment it. Now granted, the hanbok does have the chest flattening top. For some reason, Koreans believe that the hanbok looks better if it is draped over a flat chest. So if you happen to be busty, the nice hanbok lady will try to smush you flat with a tight undergarment tied so tight that you may need an oxygen tank. But hey, at least your legs are free!
So why are we talking about hanboks? Well I wanted to share a little excerpt from my book and it just so happens to be a description of a hanbok.
General Kang and Lieutenant Lee walked out together, to where their men waited for instructions. As they left, the anxious Queen stopped them, her long curtain of ebony hair swept down her back nearly to her heels. She wore a light green satin hanbok with red silk trim over a full brown skirt. Lee couldn’t help but notice that her robe had the characters for luck embroidered in gold all over the shoulders and sleeves. He smiled grimly - for luck, it seemed, had abandoned them.
So what is the book about? Well it is what I would call historical fantasy based in ancient Korea during a time where there were many small kingdoms, but no unified country. It is about a young prince faced with the invasion of his home and an old prophecy that calls for a savior he may or may not be. It utilizes East Asian mythology and legends while working off of the historical times of the late 300 AD period. Stay tuned for more to come.