A Comparative Study of Andongpoh and Musam Korean Hemp: The Production of Two Distinct Qualities of Hemp Cloth

It is said that Korean hemp was already in use in BCE 2333 and that by the 7th century it had become one of the primary fibers used. Today, Koreans manufacture hemp cloth for shrouds, funerary costumes, and everyday summer-wear. There are two types of Korean hemp cloth: Andongpoh (Seang-neang-ii), which is produced in Andong County and adjacent areas; and Musam (Ik-neang-ii), which is produced in eleven different regions throughout Korea. The majority of hemp fabric production in Korea is Musam, and in Boseong County, in southern Korea, there is a particularly long history of Musam hemp cultivation. Twenty-five percent of all Korean hemp is cultivated in this region, and 50% of market share in Korean hemp fabric is produced here.

Adding further research that was conducted on Musam hemp production in Boseong County in 2007, to a presentation made in Toronto (in 2006) on this subject, this paper will focus on a step by step comparison of the two types of hemp production. The ultimate goal is to point out how the differences in production create the two different qualities of hemp cloth. In addition, the paper will address ways the market for the two types of hemp has changed in the present day.

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This article was originally published in the "11th Biennial Symposium", Textile Society of America, 2008.