The Simeui

Confucian scholar in simeui & jeongjagwan cap (정자관, 程子冠)

The “deep robe,” or simeui (심의, 深衣) was worn by Confucian scholars while studying and performing rites. It was introduced along with Neo-Confucianism from China during Korea’s Goryeo dynasty. The sober aesthetics of the robe were consonant with Confucian values and was promoted by the Chinese sage Zhu Xi as standard menswear. It consisted of the upper eui (衣) attached to a skirt (sang, 裳), which was made up of 12 panels of fabric sewn together.

The robe ultimately descended from the zhiju shenyi (直裾 深衣) worn in ancient China. By the Ming dynasty, it was considered ultra formal wear. In Korea, the use of the simeui for ancestral rituals was eventually replaced, for the most part, by the dopo (도포, 道袍), another Sino-Korean robe.

Late Joseon scholar Yi Seung Hui (이승희, 李承熙)

Korean scholar wearing a fuller simeui and bokgeon cap (복건, 幅巾)

Painting of Chinese man in shenyi & dongpojin cap (dongpageon, 동파건, 東坡巾; or dongpagwan, 동파관, 東坡冠)

Japanese Neo-Confucian, Fujiwara Seika

Korean simeui

Reproduction of a Ming dynasty shenyi (simeui), somewhat more voluminous than its Korean counterpart.

Man wearing reproduction of Ming dynasty shenyi & fujin (bokgeon, 幅巾)

Modern day Chinese clothing enthusiasts

Depiction of Korean scholars at leisure


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