jo-kki (Vest)

About this object

History of use

Such vests were part of full sets of men’s outdoor winter formal wear, and were worn over the upper body garment “Jo-go-ri”. They represent the influence of western clothing on Korea after the opening of Korea to the outside world in the late nineteenth century. The pockets, and the band finishing them at the upper edge, are western concepts.

Narrative

Most of the clothing in the J. McRee Elrod Collection was made for him and his family by friends while they were living in Korea, much of it by Kim, Sung Sook. She and her family lived cooperatively in the same house as the Elrod family. While they were there, the Elrods preferred to wear Korean clothing on very cold days and for social occasions. They found it to be more comfortable than western clothing in cold weather, as public buildings were unheated in the period immediately following the Korean War. It also was more comfortable for floor seating in Korean homes, and easier to store with limited furniture than western clothing. The children’s clothing was worn by their children Mark and Lona.

Physical description

Light brown damask vest with gray peony pattern. The vest has a v-neck, side slits and a centre opening with five silver buttons. Each button is stamped with the design of two chrysanthemums. There is an inset pocket on each side finished with a rectangular band. There is a smaller third pocket on the upper left. The vest is lined with light brown rayon and is filled with a thick material.