Kyunghee Pyun is associate professor of art history at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Her scholarship focuses on history of collecting, reception of Asian art, diaspora of Asian artists, and Asian American visual culture. She was a Leon Levy fellow in the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Collection and works on a book project entitled Discerning Languages for Exotic: Collecting Asian Art. She wrote Fashion, Identity, Power in Modern Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) discussing modernized dress in the early 20th-century and is working on school uniforms in East Asia. As an independent curator, she has collaborated with contemporary artists in New York since 2013. Her recent project, Invisible Nomads & Weavers: The Yörüks, Bakerwals & Changpas is a part of visual ethnographic research on the impact of migration and globalization on nomadic communities of weavers and farmers of Pashmina goats in Central Asia.
Women for Cotton and Men for Wool: Gendered Textiles in Colonized Korea
Using advertising campaigns in popular magazines in the early twentieth century, this paper analyzes gendered consumption of textiles in colonized Korea. The Japanese Government-General allowed manufacturing cotton textiles or cotton-mixed synthetic textiles to colonized citizens in Korea. In the advertisement of Kyungbang and Jobang, two representative enthno-national companies of cotton woven textiles owned and operated by Korean people, women were often portrayed as major consumers and patrons of commodities provided by these companies. Woolen textiles were not allowed for manufacturing within Korea until 1945. Japanese companies or Japanese-owned wholesales monopolized the supply of woolen textiles and advertised them as a luxury for the elite—affluent men and dandies. Business history of Kyungbang and Jobang is introduced in the context of “patriotic capitalism” or construction of national capital [minjok jabon]. The dichotomy between cotton woven textiles and woolen woven textiles is also visible in public space and resulted from economic disparity between rural and urban communities. In the beginning of the colonized governance of Korean citizens, the Japanese government used a pretext of public hygiene and sumptuous consumption to eradicate community-based funerary custom while they promoted homegrown production of ramie or hemp linen by women for funerary clothing in rural areas.