Four robes for Joseon gentlemen

When going out, a yangban (양반, 兩班) gentleman wore a long robe. Below is a brief description of four different styles of men’s robes (there were other types with variants).

1) The jungchimak (중치막, 中致莫) was a robe with large sleeves and side slits which caused the robe to flutter when in movement.


2) The changeui (창의, 氅衣) had a slit along the middle of the back, a bit like a western style tailcoat.

Changeui with back slit showing

3) The dopo (도포, 道袍) (literally, the robe of the Dao) was worn by Confucian literati. It had large side panels sewn to the back and hidden by an extra back panel. This robe possibly had connections to Buddhism and Daoism and was most likely of Chinese origin, based on the daopao (represented by the same Chinese characters: 道袍). Confucians usually wore it with a black cap called a yugeon (유건, 儒巾, “Confucian scholar’s turban”). These Sino-Korean garments continue to be worn today by men when performing ancestral rites.

Detail of the back panel

Man wearing dopo & yugeon

Chinese man

Reproductions of Korean & Chinese style dopo/daopao compared

4) The durumagi (두루마기) was a smaller robe with narrower sleeves. It was originally worn by the nobility as an under-coat beneath roomier robes like the jungchimak and as a house coat, while commoners wore it as an overcoat. In the late 19th century, King Gojong mandated that the durumagi be used by all classes and banned the use of other robes except for in Confucian ceremonies.

Men wearing durumagi

Modern style of durumagi, for both men & women

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