Long-Standing Korean Custom of Using Cushions

“As the Korean people have been accustomed to sitting on the floor of rooms from ancient times, they have a long history of using cushions,” said Kong Myong Song, director of the Folklore Institute under the Academy of Social Sciences.

Korean cushions can be divided into several types according to materials and shapes.

They were usually made from paper, straw, silk, cattail and sedge and had different shapes like circle, square, hexagon and octagon.

Some cushions made of cloth were filled with cotton, cattail or animal fur to make them softer and covered with silk cloth to make them more elegant.

Their covers were made in different colours and decorated with speckled patterns or embroideries of animals, birds and plants like phoenix, pine tree and crane and letters like “su” (longevity) and “pok” (happiness).

Koreans had different kinds of cushions at home for family members to use when they sat on the floor and regarded it as good manner to offer a cushion to a guest.

They used different cushions according to seasons: straw cushions in summer and cloth cushions in cold winter.

Since cushions were closely related to home life of Koreans, it was a traditional custom that girls make cushions with their own hands and bring them when they get married, said Kong.

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