The woman before marriage

The marriage with the first wife was a business between two families, with strong legal, economical and political influences. In 1472 the proper age for marriage was established by the approach of Chu His`s disposal, for boys between 16- 30 and for girls between 14 and 20 years. Although the age was clearly stated, towards the end of the XVIth century and the beginning of the XVIIth , the yangbangs husbands were choosing ten years younger wives, more frequently because of the other union.

During the XIXth century, things change. In lower classes, women were older than men. The reasons for postponing a wedding had to be well-founded, like the death of a parent or near relation (theoretically the wedding could be postponed for three years, but in practice this lasted one year).


A woman`s education

The most important and yielding book for women was written by consort Sohye, the mother of King Seonjong in 1475, having as title Instructions about Women.

This book taught girls the four basic elements of a woman`s behavior:

  •  moral conduct – women needed no great talents but they had to be silent, calm, pure and orderly;
  • appropriate utterance- women needed no elocutionary aptitudes but they had to avoid nasty and offensive language and to speak reticently;
  • agreeable build – they didn’t have to be beautiful but body’s cleanness was a must;
  • respectable tasks for a woman- they didn’t have to be smart but they had to pay attention to some tasks like weaving and entertaining guests.

A woman’s roll included:  attending to her parents-in-law, being an obedient and conscientious wife and a wise and caring mother.

Before marriage, women were taught different chores by their mothers and grandmothers. A girl’s education was relying completely on fulfilling her roll of married woman. This was very important for girls in order to dominate the house.


Source: lectures of Admin So-Jung

Editing: Kang Hyeon-jae

Translated by: Florentina Teodora



No votes yet