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What’s the purpose of applying Dancheong on Korean traditional architecture?

What’s the purpose of applying Dancheong on Korean traditional architecture?

  • Dancheong refers to multicolored decorative painting on the surface of traditional Korean wooden buildings. Dancheong is applied to make buildings look more beautiful, but it is mainly for the following purposes: 1) to protect surfaces from weathering and insects; 2) to hide scratches on the surface; 3) to show dignity and; 4) to encourage people to have religious belief and a worshipful attitude. 
  • Dancheong is a kind of painting whose color and pattern can differ according to the class and use of a building. Dancheong paintings use five basic colors based on the Philosophy of the Five Elements: blue for wood and east; red for fire and south; yellow for earth and center; white for metal and west and; black for water and north. According to its design, color and style, Dancheong is classified into five types: Gachil Dancheong, Geutgi Dancheong, Moru Dancheong, Geummoru Dancheong and Geum Dancheong. There are also special kinds of Dancheong such as Gobun Dancheong, Chilbo Dancheong, Geumbak (Eunbak) Dancheong, Geumni (Eunni) Dancheong and Ottchil Dancheong. 
  • Dancheongjang (Master of Dancheong Painting)Gachil Dancheong usually uses a green or reddish-brown monochromatic underpainting with no patterns. Geutgi Dancheong adds some decorative patterns by drawing black and white lines on a single-colored underpainting. Moru Dancheong draws a simple-shaped Meoricho (pattern) only on the ends of the bracket, and adds the finishing touches to the middle part of the bracket with black and white lines. Geummoru Dancheong is a crossover of Moru Dancheong and Geum Dancheong, adding some geometric patterns to Moru Dancheong. Geum Dancheong boasts the most colorful paintwork, with various kinds of elaborate silk patterns and Byeoljihwa (decorative pictures) drawn on the whole part of the bracket, except the part on which Meoricho is drawn.

Byeongmeoricho (pattern)