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NEWS & THESIS

"18th Century Joseon Royal Women's Cosmetics Contains Lead Carbonate and Mercury Harmful to Humans"

by 한량 taeshik.kim 2019. 10. 7.

Mercury Cosmetics Excavated from Tomb of Princess Hwahyeop



"18세기 조선왕실 여성화장품에 인체 유해 탄산납·수은 있어"

송고시간 | 2019-10-07 10:24

국립고궁박물관서 화협옹주 유물 특별전·학술대회


‘Cosmetics and Makeup Culture of the Joseon Court in the 18thCentury’

An International conference at the National Palace Museum of Korea (October 16, 2019)

A special exhibition ‘Princess Hwahyeop and Her Makeup’ (October 1-31, 2019)


The National Palace Museum of Korea (Director, JI, Byong Mok) is going to host an international conference, ‘Cosmetics and Makeup Culture of the Joseon Court in the 18thCentury’,jointlywithKoreaNationalUniversityofCulturalHeritage(President, Kim Youngmo) and Korea Institute of Heritage (Chairman, Kim, Byung-Mo) on October 16th. The conference will be held at the auditorium of the National Palace Museum of Korea.


In 2015-17, various items which belonged to the Princess Hwahyeop, the daughter of King Yeongjo, were excavated in Sampae-dong, Namyanju-si, Gyeonggi-do Province. The unearthed items include a commemorative stone and a gravestone which states King Yeongjo’s bereavement. In particular, much interest was paid to the excavation of cosmetic items, such as a comb, mirror and ink stick for eye borrow. They were found in their original, small ceramic pots. These items would have been used by the Princess.




Princess Hwahyeop (1733-1752) was born to King Yeongjo, the twenty-first king of the Joseon Dynasty, and the Royal Consort Yeongbin of the Yi clan. She had a brother, Crown Prince Sado. At the age 11 (1743), the Princess got married to Shin Gwangsu (son of Shin Man who was to be a premier later date). The Princess died of an illness at the age of 20 (1752).


The international conference consists of two sessions.


The theme of the first session is ‘The Princess Hwahyeop and the cosmetics of the Joseon Court’. Details of the excavation, the scientific analysis of the findings and the representation of the items will be presented during this session. The presentations include ‘The memorial service of aristocrats in the Joseon Dynasty, the Princess Hwahyeop’s husband Shin Gwangsu and the Princess’ tomb’ by Choi Kwanghoon and ‘The conservation of the cosmetics excavated from the tomb of the Princess Hwahyeop’ by Kim Hyoyun. Jeong Yongjae’s presentation ‘The analysis and representation of cosmetics of the Joseon Court’ is also included in this session.



Cosmetic Bowls Excavated from Tomb of Princess Hwahyeop



The theme of the second session is ‘The makeup culture of the 18th century’. This session features interesting international presentations which compare the cosmetics and makeup culture of the 18th century Joseon Court with the contemporaries of China, Japan and France. The session presentations include ‘The characteristics of the cosmetics containers of the 18th century and the makeup culture of the Joseon Court through the trading routes’ by Gwak Heewon, ‘The history of the Chinese cosmetics’ development in the 18thcentury’ by Zhang Wanping and ‘The Japanese cosmetics and makeup culture in the 18th century’ by Murata Takako. Also, Frédéric Leroy presents ‘European cosmetics in the 18th century’.


This interdisciplinary conference brings together the international researches of archaeology, art history and conservation and provides a great opportunity to share the interesting research outcomes.


Cosmetic Bowls Excavated from Tomb of Princess Hwahyeop



In October, a special exhibition ’Princess Hwahyeop and Her Makeup: Excavated Relics and Their Analysis' is held at the National Palace Museum of Korea (October 1-31, at the Special exhibition gallery on the 1st floor). This exhibition displays the cosmetics and related artifacts which the Princess used and the makeup culture of the Joseon Court.

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