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Séoul palais.jpg
A dancheong in Seoul.
Korean name
Revised Romanizationdancheong

Dancheong (Korean: 단청) refers to Korean traditional decorative coloring on wooden buildings and artifacts for the purpose of style. It literally means "cinnabar and blue-green" in Korean.[1] It is based on five basic colors; blue (east), white (west), red (south), black (north), and yellow (center).[2][3] Dancheong has various symbolic meanings. Dancheong also represented social status and rank by using various patterns and colors.[citation needed] It functions not only as decoration, but also for practical purposes such as to protect building surfaces against temperature and to make the crudeness of materials less conspicuous. Applying dancheong on the surfaces of buildings require trained skills, and artisans called dancheongjang (단청장) designed the painted patterns.[3][4][5]


Dancheong Style.jpg

The origin of dancheong can be traced from cave paintings and wall paintings which appeared more than 20,000 years ago in the history of mankind, although they may be served for different purposes and functions from the stylized dancheong.[5]

In the 12th century a document titled Goryeo Do-Kyung () which literally means "Illustrated Account of Goryeo" (918-1392), the Chinese author Xu Jing described the luxurious dancheong on the places at that time. Goryeo Do-Kyung illustrates the dancheong in detail that the handrail was painted in red and decorated with vine-flowers. The coloring and patterns were very vivid, so that the palace stood out among other royal palaces.[4] There are several examples of the dancheong from the Goryeo period such as Josadang (조사당) of Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Geukrakjeon (극락전) at Bongjeongsa Temple in Andong, and Daeungjeon (대웅전) of Sudeoksa Temple in Yesan.[5]

Types of Dancheong[edit]

The system of patterns is categorized into four different types based on the structural characteristics and positions within the decorative composition. The four types include:[6]

  • Morucho
  • Byeoljihwa
  • Bidan munui
  • Dandong munui


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "단청(丹靑), dancheong". The Academy of Korean Studies. 2007-05-22.
  2. ^ "History of Science and Technology in Korea". National Science Museum, South Korea.
  3. ^ a b Chung Ah-young (2007-05-22). "Dancheong: Spiritual Colors of Korea". The Korea Times.
  4. ^ a b "Dancheong". Korean Cultural Service, New York. Archived from the original on 2008-06-22.
  5. ^ a b c 단청 (丹靑) (in Korean). Empas / EncyKorea.
  6. ^ Korean Culture and Information Service (2010). Guide to the Korean Culture. 13-13 Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu Seul 110-111 Korea: Hollym International Corp. p. 181.


External links[edit]