The Family Tree of Early Goryeo Dynasty based on Moon Lovers : Scarlet Heart : Ryeo (2016 SBS) and Empress Cheonchu (2009 KBS).

  • Goryeo society’s love and marriage : Free love (including premarital sex), simple marriage ceremony, mostly monogamy (some exceptions in noble class), free divorce and free remarriage.
  • But fidelity was very important virtue. Adultery was a sin.
  • Inheritance by equal distribution regardless of gender. Daughters inherited their parents’ fortune equally. Goryeo women’s social status was much higher than during Joseon period.
  • Consanguine marriages between half siblings, uncle/niece, aunt/nephew, cousins were very common. Actually, King Taejo’s 7 out of 9 daughters married their half brothers. (The rest 2 princesses married the last king of Shilla who surrendered to Goryeo.)
  • Most Goryeo Princesses took their mother’s last name. That’s why Princess Yeonhwa’s last name is “Hwangbo” (her mother’s last name) instead of Wang (her father’s).
  • Of course, there were some exceptions. Queen Mundeok (Wang So’s 3rd daughter) took her grandmother’s last name (Yoo) instead of her mother’s (Hwangbo). Queen Heonae and Queen Heonjeong (Wang Wook’s two daughters) took not their mother’s but their grandmother’s (Hwangbo)  because their parents died young so they were raised by their grandmother.  

Our new gallery installation of Korean ceramics focuses on the artistic and technical achievements of Korean potters. Celadon wares, like this cup, were prized for their subtle green color and the translucent effects of the glaze.

“Cup,” 12th century (Goryeo Dynasty, 918–1392), Korea


Kisaeng (also spelled gisaeng) were artists who work to entertain others, such as the yangbans and kings. First appearing in the Goryeo Dynasty, kisaeng were legally entertainers of the government, required to perform various functions for the state. They were carefully trained, and frequently accomplished in the fine arts, poetry, and prose, although their talents were often ignored due to their inferior social status. Kisaeng held the status of cheonmin, the lowest rank of society. They shared this status with other entertainers, as well as butchers and slaves. For this reason, they were sometimes spoken of as “possessing the body of the lower class but the mind of the aristocrat." This status was hereditary, so the children of a kisaeng were also of cheonmin status, and the daughters automatically became kisaeng as well. Kisaeng could only be released from their position if a hefty price was paid to the government; this could usually only be done by a wealthy patron, typically a high government official.

Women of the kisaeng class performed various roles. Aside from entertainment, these roles included medical care and needlework. Many kisaeng were skilled in poetry, and numerous sijo composed by kisaeng have survived. These often reflect themes of heartache and parting, similar to poems composed by scholars in exile. In some cases, such as at army bases, kisaeng were expected to fill several such roles. Kisaeng, both historic and fictional, play an important role in Korean conceptions of the traditional culture of the Joseon Dynasty. Some of Korea’s oldest and most popular stories, such as the tale of Chunhyang, feature kisaeng as heroines. Although the names of most real kisaeng have been forgotten, a few are remembered for an outstanding attribute, such as talent or loyalty. The most famous of these is the 16th-century kisaeng Hwang Jin-i

The career of most kisaeng was very short, generally peaking at age 16 or 17, and over by age 22. Only a few kisaeng were able to maintain their business for very long beyond this time. It may be for this reason that the kisaeng training institutes accepted entrants as young as eight. Women entered the kisaeng class through various paths. Some were the daughters of kisaeng, who inherited their mother’s status. Others were sold into the gijeok by families who could not afford to support them. On occasion, even women from the yangban aristocracy were made kisaeng, usually because they had violated the strict sexual mores of the Joseon period. All kisaeng, even those who did not work as prostitute or entertainers, were obliged by law to retire at age 50. 

Kisaeng played a number of important political roles. Thanks to their frequenting the taverns and guest-houses of the town, kisaeng were often among the most knowledgeable on local affairs. It was through information supplied by kisaeng that the rebel army of Hong Gyeong-rae was able to easily take the fortress of Jeongju in the early 19th century. Some of Korea’s most famous kisaeng, including Non Gae of Jinju, are remembered today for their bravery in killing or attempting to kill leaders of the imperial Japanese army. Some kisaeng were also active in the Korean independence movements of the early 20th century. In this they resembled other women of Joseon, who often took a leading role in the independence struggle. Aengmu, a kisaeng of Daegu, was a major donor to the National Debt Repayment Movement in the early 20th century. Some fifty kisaeng of Jinju took part in a demonstration as part of the March First Movement in 1919.

Very few traditional kisaeng houses continue to operate in South Korea, and many of the traditions and dances have been lost forever.

(source: wikipedia)

Researchers come across trove of Buddhist artifacts

South Korean researchers said Thursday they have uncovered dozens of artifacts used in Buddhist ceremonies nearly a millennium ago, as they begin to unravel the mystery behind an ancient shrine where they were discovered.

The 77 artifacts include a vajra, a type of club with ribbed spherical heads, bells and censers thought to be from the Joseon era (1392-1910), or possibly even earlier.

Researchers at the Seoul Institute of Cultural Heritage were wrapping up an archaeological field survey on Dobong Seowon, a tiny shrine for two Joseon-era scholars in northern Seoul, when they came upon a pot containing the objects. Read more.

okay I’ve done another research about her ring (Because as long I can remember she wasn’t wearing any) and to be honest I’m not sure if it is one or two rings next to each other. Because if it is just one ring it means

1) panji was a single ring worn by single ladies. it indicated that the wearer was still single

2) if these are two rings next to each other (really close) it’s called garakji which means “as pair of big rings” and they consisted of a pair of rings made from various metal and stones, according to the rank of the wearer (she has some stones in her ring if you zoom it) however - garakji were reserved ONLY for the married women - because they held special meaning in marriage life as they symbolised the harmony between husband and wife. when the husband died one of the ring would be given to the husband while the wife kept another one until she die, symbolising faithfulness.

AND NOW ATTENTION - garakji was also use as a wedding gifts for the bride. Giving that ring to a single woman had the meaning of asking her hand in marriage and that the man who gave that ring liked her.

I always talk about how much So does for Haesoo, how he risks his life for her safety and shows his affection for her. But now let me take a moment to talk about what Haesoo does for him.

Haesoo avoids everything she thinks can be a trigger for Wangso to turn into Gwangjong, every situation, every action that may lead him to become the bloody Gwangjong she knows.

She disregards her life, her safety, her freedom, just to make sure he will be a king without his sibilings bloods in his hands. Of course Haesoo is also scared of what he can become, but more than that, she wants So to have a good life…and now, she wants to live this good life besides him.