So What Is This, Exactly? (Korean ornament thingy)

I need y’alls help. Please fight my ignorance!

My husband teaches at a school that has lots of international students. This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week and quite a few students, parents and the PTA gave the teachers small gifts.

He has a Korean student who gave him this lovely … ornament thing. It’s beautiful and I am sure it has a name and some sort of meaning in that country … but we don’t know what, and it seemed awkward to ask the student. Teachers are supposed to know more than students, right ? So I am asking you! It came in a gorgeous embroidered bag - can anyone tell us anything about it and how we should properly display it?



Bag it came in:

What’s wrong with asking the student? Adults don’t know everything, and it seems like a good teaching moment: “Oh, it’s beautiful! Can you tell me about it?”

It is pretty!

A Chinese knot, perhaps? There is some discussion in that wikipedia article about Korean versions.

I jump started a Korean neighbor’s car once and he and his wife came over and gave us one of these. And some Oranges, and some refrigerator magnets.

All of it was cool but I really like the ornament. It’s been hanging from the ceiling fan cord in the dining room for years.

I have no idea what it is called or what the meaning is.

How’s that for inane!

It’s just a doodab. Not everything that’s Asian has to have a mystical meaning. :wink:

My mom used to make those and hang them anywhere. The smaller ones are sometimes used as accessories by women wearing traditional dress. They don’t have any particular meaning though. Don’t worry about displaying it properly - just hang it wherever it looks prettiest.

To be perfectly honest, the ornament and the bag look very familiar to me - they sell them in Insadong, a neighborhood in Seoul that is supposed to sell traditional Korean stuff. Lately it’s become half a tourist trap and half a bohemian artsy neighborhood (like Montmarte in Paris). My friends and I always went there to find “Korean” stuff we thought our Western acquaintances might like.

I’ve been told it is a norigae.

From here:;ProdID=2718

“The Norigae is an essential decorative accessory worn with the traditional Korean women’s dress from Joseon Dynasty.”

The link is to a book all about them. From looking at the list of contents of the book, they apparently can have meanings.

They also appear to be popular gifts, from what I’ve found out so far.

People rarely wear them anymore. Back in the day they were used as accessories for women and sometimes held fragrances, sewing needles, or the small silver knives women carried around to commit suicide with should they ever be dishonored. The aristocrat families did hand them down as heirlooms, and the pictures on them could mean different things. The color and length would differ depending on the occasion and the season as well. But I’ve never worn one with my hanbok in my life, and the ones my mom made she’d just hang on doorknobs and such.

ETA: Sorry I didn’t post this before - the word norigae jogged my memory.

Thanks! This is very interesting. I did find a lovely photo of a young woman wearing one that is kind of like the one we have:

Very pretty!

Well that’s a little more than “It’s Lucky!”, but thanks for remembering. Interesting.

Oh! That’s very enlightening. So you’re saying that we must find our own meaning, and that we shouldn’t blindly accept another’s ideas as our own without careful consideration? Very profound. Asian people are so wise! I believe Buddha once said something similar…



Also, do not believe everything you read on teh Internets.

That is all. :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue: