Delicate sheets of gold are formed to make a Silla headpiece. It is often fashioned with jade beads and silk. Head accessories had great importance in Korean culture during the Silla Period which lasted from 668 AD to 935 AD. During this time, China’s Tang dynasty was developing as well. The culture of the Tang dynasty influenced art in Korea during the Silla period by inspiring new designs for Korean headwear. Religion, trading of goods, and other aspects of culture were spread through the designs as well. The sharing of designs and culture brought the two dynasties closer.
There were many different types of Silla headwear. One of them was called a daegwan. It is a crown made for royalty. The daegwan typically takes the form of a headband with vertical ornaments-for example, the one from Hwangnam Daechong-though there are some without. Rigid restrictions were applied to the metal used for the crown according to the wearer's social status, but this did not limit ownership to a specific sex or age. Deceased royals were entombed wearing the daegwan. The fabric color and the type of metal used to ornament it proclaimed the rank of its wearer; those of royals and the nobility were fashioned from the finest silk and precious metals. The daegwans were a significant item for Korean court life.
The jade beads, called gogoks in Korean, are dense with symbolism that can be traced back to Chinese beliefs. The gogok marked high status burials, even in the Bronze Age, and was used as a symbol of power as states formed in Korea and Japan. The shape of the gogok beads symbolized many different things. The curved shape is sometimes said to represent animal claws or teeth, although Han (1976) associates it with the cresent moon. The gogok beads were also in the shape of taegeuk halves. The taegeuk can be found in the center of the current South Korean flag and is often imprinted on ancient clothing, furniture and more. Taoism was introduced during 6th century BC in China, when the Silla period was taking place in Korea. Taoism is one of the religions believed by the Chinese, founded by Lao Tzu. The introduction of Taoism to Korea and the creation of the taegeuk match up in time.On the taegeuk, the divided circle connotes the dynamically opposed forces of um and yang (yin and yang in Chinese)The taegeuk is a variation of the yin-yang symbol in Chinese Taoism. The gogok beads symbolize both the taegeuk and yin yang signs connecting korean and chinese culture through art inspired by Taoism.
Silla was connected to the Tang through frequent trade, bringing in new materials and ideas. This included the official tribute given to Tang and the "gifts" received in return. A great deal of private trade flourished as well. Though Silla paid tribute to China in the form of raw materials, livestock, silk, wool, medicine and ginseng and highly crafted gold and silver bells, knives, and hairpieces, China introduced books, tea and court dress to Silla. The Silla capital...