The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 21, 2024

Bridal Robe (Hwarot)

Bridal Robe (Hwarot)

Location: not on view

Did You Know?

This bride's robe was not made for one specific bride, but rather was shared and passed down to many brides.


This bride's robe is exquisitely embroidered with various symbols of happiness in colorful silk threads. Butterflies stand for marital happiness; the phoenix, numerous offspring; and lotus flowers and white cranes, longevity. Yet, the bridal robe does not attest to the life of luxury. To the contrary, many traces of repairs, trimmings, and patchwork reflect Joseon period women’s commitment to value neo-Confucian aesthetics of frugality and modesty.

Substantial repairs and patching reveal that this robe served as an important communal resource to be shared and passed down through several generations. Its collar and sleeves are covered in thick white paper; this paper is replaced with new paper for each bride, while the robe itself was reused for decades.
  • ?–1918
    (Worcester R. Warner [1846–1929], Cleveland, OH, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Artistic Court Embroidery [아름다운 궁중자수]. Seoul: National Palace Museum. 2013.
    Kwon, Hea-jin and Ji-yeon Kim. “Study on the Formative Characteristics of Embroidery Panels of Hwarot at the Victoria and Albert Museum [빅토리아 앨버트 박물관 소장 활옷의 조형성 연구].” Boksik (2013): 176-188.
    O, Suk-gyeong and Hong Na-young. “The Usage of Paper in the Costumes of the Joseon Dynasty [조선시대 복식에 사용된 종이심에 관한 연구].” Boksik (2015): 75-91.
    Suh, Kisook. The Documentary Value of Repairs to the Hwarot, the Korean Bridal Robe. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2006. . p. 79-87
    Ch'a, Mi-rae, Kwi-suk An, Cleveland Museum of Art, and 국외소재문화재재단. The Korean Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Edited by An Min-hŭi. First edition, English ed. Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Series, 16. Seoul, Republic of Korea: Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation, 2021. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 242-243, no. 135
  • {{cite web|title=Bridal Robe (Hwarot)|url=false|author=|year=1850–1910|access-date=21 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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