| By Kim Ki-tae|
Staff Reporter(The Korea Times)
A painting of a woman wearing a "norigae," or decorative pendant
Ewha Womans University Press published a cultural guidebook called ``Norigae: Splendor of the Korean Costume’’ as the first of its 50-book project on Korea’s cultural heritage. Norigae is a decorative pedant hung from the top piece of the traditional garment.
The series, to be completed by 2009 in both English and Korean, will cover almost all parts of the nation’s traditional culture, including history, science and technology.
The Press plans to publish 10 books by July in the two languages to exhibit them during the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. South Korea is this year’s principal guest nation.
The 10 books are on Korea’s cultural history, traditional dance, women’s poetry and folk religions. Also included is Ewha professor Yim Seock-jae’s five books on traditional architecture.
A silver ornamental knife attached to a pendant, called "norigae," which is part of the collection of Ewha Womans University Museum
Out of the total 50 books, the Press said that 10 books will be on literature, five on arts, five on food and cooking and six on clothes. The rest include three on furniture, eight on history, five on technology and science, five on architecture and one each on music, dance and language. Most of the writers are faculty members of Ewha Womans University. Maestros such as Hwang Byung-ki, member of the National Academy of Arts, and Han Bok-ryo, head of Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, also participated in the project.
``We are trying to keep the book from being too academic or superficial,’’ Press official Lee Hye-ji said. ``With ample graphics and the books’ small size, we hope that readers find them to easy to read,’’ she added.
In the first publication on Norigae, the book explains the structure, meaning, type and aesthetic of the trinkets. ``Norigae provides us with insight into the characteristics of our cultural heritage. These characteristics include assimilation with nature, simplicity, dignity and chastity, as they are also expressed in our architecture, paintings, etc.,’’ said its author Lee Kyung-ja, professor of the Graduate School of Design at Ewha Womans University.
According to Lee, different sizes and materials of Norigae are dictated by social rank and the situation as each of the trinkets has its own meaning. For example, fish-shaped Norigae is believed to protect personal property as the fish never close their eyes, staying vigilant.
Each volume, with around 130 pages, is priced at $15, or 12,000 won.