When a gungnyeo (a court maid) had received the king’s favour (he slept with her) she was promoted to a high ranking court official known as the “favoured sang goong”. As such she was entitled to a residence and a sang goong (상궁, high rank of a court lady) of her own, however, this title didn’t make her a part of the royal family nor a royal concubine.
After becoming a sang goong JOJ starts to wear a simple blue dangui (a ceremonial jacket that the ladies of the royal court wore for everyday activities) with a dongjeong (white collar strip), white kudongs (a different coloured cuffs on the end of sleeves), a pink git (fabric that trims the collar) and a matching otgoreum which holds a butterfly pendant called a norigae

A contrasting purple chima (skirt) complemets the whole outfit.

With the change of her status JOJ changes her haistyle as well, the daenggi meori with its daenggi-adorned braids is no longer there. A chignon coiffure known as jjokjin meori has replaced the simple braid. 

The bun is maintained by a dark blue jjok daenggi (a special ribbon for the jjokjin meori chignon), a gold binyeo (a long hairpin) and dwikkoji of various materials and shapes. Apart from the decorative and practical uses these ornaments served as an important indicator of one’s social status.

JOJ also wears a silver single ring (a panji) on one of her fingers.


Dangui is probably most known for being worn by the female members of the royal family and high ranking court ladies but many people forget that the dangui could be easily taken off in private and it isn’t a sokjeogori (undershirt) that is hidden under this long upper jacket but a regular jeogori such as JOJ wears here with the purple gil (the largest part of the jeogori). A blue git with silver floral patterns, a dongjeong and a red otgoreum complement the jeogori which JOJ also wear later in the series after becoming the Queen only with adifferent chima.

Her jjokjin meori haistyle is decorated with the same gold binyeo and dwikkoji.

It’s the perfect gown for leasure time and stolen moments with her lover in the privacy of her room.



  1. I love the butterfly norigae – so lovely.
    I never really realized that the king sometimes took wives out of his palace maids. I wonder if that was a palace maid’s hope – to get the king’s favor?
    I’ve heard somewhere that all the king’s wives and concubines were considered under the authority of the Queen, his highest wife. Was that true for the “sang goong” women too?

    1. Quite right! When a woman entered the palace and became a gungnyeo (court maid) she automatically became a king’s woman as well. All women in the palace excluding the closest female members of his family (mother, grand-mother and his sisters, on the other hand his aunts or cousins didn’t live in the palace since their sons could have pose a threat to the throne and the males of king’s family rarely got any political position ).

      These women weren’t allowed to leave the palace (there were few exceptions to this rule) nor to sleep with other man than the king. Meaning that if the king didn’t give them his favour/grace there were left virgins until they died (every woman’s virginity was checked upon becoming the maid) therefore getting his grace was the greatest hope for most of the maids and court ladies. However, the fact that she slept with the king didn’t mean that she would be automatically promoted to the sang goong status – these women were so called “one night ladies” (the king spend of night with them and they were forgotten for the rest of their lives).

      The Queen (king’s main wife, consort) hold the highest authority over the inner court, she was the one who gave the actual order to promote a court maid to sang goong (it didn’t matter whether it was the favoured sang goong or a normal promotion in the ranks) just as it was her who promoted sang goong to Suk Won (4th rank of concubine) or Suk Won(JOJ’s name in this level was Jang Suk Won) to Bin (the highest level of concubine just below the Queen Consort), granted after giving birth a king’s son, JOJ got the name Jang Hee Bin – The middle name was given to the concubine to express her main characteristic, Hee meaning radiant).

      1. Wow. The queen had the authority to promote the other wives! I didn’t know that. That is really interesting.
        I think if I were a queen, I’d have probably been an evil one because I wouldn’t have promoted anyone else, lol. I’d probably would have been trying to throw them out of the palace and plot to get rid of them all, ;).

      2. I’m afraid it woudn’t be so easy – the truth is that the Queen is still the king’s wife and as such she has to be filial to him and do his bidding so the choice whether to promote a concubine or not when her husband commands her to do it is really out of her hands.

  2. […] The Joseon Fashion Show – Jang Ok Jung Edition Part 12 – the Sang Goong Wardrobe ( […]

  3. It’d be so cool if you can do a break down of the pieces in Jang Hee Bin’s fashion show in the earlier episodes. Those clothes were so elegant….

      1. nice! thank YOU! 😀 ❤

      2. You’re welcome 🙂

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