Seonjang: Traditional Bookbinding 선장

Monday, December 6, 2021

Seonjang: Traditional Korean Bookbinding

Are you a Kdrama lover that loves a historical setting? If you are, then I'm sure that you have noticed books that look something like the one in the image down below.

Korean traditional bookbinding called seonjang.

The only difference would be that the paper was made of mulberry bark and the binding material was either made out of cotton, bamboo, or silk that was typically dyed red. 

Seonjang (선장) is a technique in bookbinding and was predominantly used during the Joseon Dynasty period (1392-1910).

Special Online Class with the National Archives of Korea

Books from the National Archives of Korea.

Last week on Tuesday, my firstborn and I had the pleasure of being able to attend a special class with the National Archives of Korea. It was a program that was created for younger students but I enjoyed the class very much. Using a storyline where a little girl travels back in time to the Joseon Dynasty period, the teachers were able to interact, ask questions, and talk about some of the things that were found during that time period.

One of the subjects that came up was something called uigwe. Uigwe is a record of events that happened during the Joseon Dynasty period in Korea. This part of the class was all so very familiar to me because the Korean School I work at held a special event where I had to teach about uigwe. I will be sure to write all about it in another blog post in the near future. 

Shortly after, we were taught how to bind a book that was provided to us and were able to experience binding a book ourselves. It was a fun little add-on and I'm happy that we learned how to bind a book without the use of a machine. 

Boy finishing up Korean traditional bookbinding project.

The following morning, I recorded this method of binding and put together a video for your viewing. I hope that you give seonjang a try. If you do, please feel free to tag me on Instagram at @mykoreanscribbles.

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