Robb overview photo

The Robb Donation of Clothing from South Korea

  • Duration:Temporary
  • Location:Whitten Featured Object Case

(date) 1/8/2013–5/12/2013

The Spurlock Museum is pleased to display a recent donation of traditional Korean clothing by Dale and Arlene Robb. From 1960 through 1962, the Robbs and their children lived in Seoul, South Korea as missionaries. As their time in Seoul drew to a close, local members of the community hosted a dinner in their honor. As part of the ceremony, these friends dressed the family in gifts of traditional Korean clothing known as hanbok.

It is thought that the basic structure of the hanbok​—long coat and trousers—derives from the clothing worn by nomadic peoples, suited to horse­riding in cold northern climates.

The female family members were dressed in a long, billowing dress topped with a wraparound blouse. These dresses are worn with a petticoat and a pair of long bloomers tied at the waist and ankles. Though similar in construction, both the size and the colors differentiate between the woman’s and girl’s clothing. Married women are dressed in more muted colors such as greys and pastels, while girls wear brightly colored dresses with rainbow­striped sleeves. The exception is wedding wear, when a bride will wear equally colorful clothing.

The males were dressed in a pair of pants and a white shirt with a vest and jacket. A unique feature of the adult men’s outfit is the hat. Made of horsehair, this hat balanced on top of the head and was tied under the chin. The man’s long hair would be tucked up in a hairnet, also made of horsehair, and held under the hat.