Youn-mi Kim: “Textile, Talismans, and Incantation: Tracing Female Agency in Chosŏn Buddhist Practice”
Through examination of clothing excavated from Chosŏn tombs and Buddhist statues, this paper examines female agency in the Korean practice of using jackets and skirts as a medium to enact the power of Buddhist incantations and talismans. Excavated clothing reveals that Buddhist practitioners of Chosŏn, especially laywomen, stamped their garments with written spells and talismans, which were then enshrined in a Buddhist statue or a tomb. Sometimes a piece of paper stamped with incantations and amulets was enshrined in the shroud. This paper explores how women played an active role in this unique Korean practice in which their clothing served as their extended body and medium of prayer.