It’s been a little over a year since it was reported that BTS’s RM donated ₩100 million KRW (about $72,100 USD) to the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation (OKCHF) in order to bring a traditional Korean gown back to the nation for restoration. The piece belongs to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), but the restoration process needed to be done at the hands of master artisans in its home country.
This histoical silk red robe, called a hwarot, is believed to be one of the only 40 such existing wedding garments worn by Korean princesses and one of the 10 such pieces owned by organizations outside of Korea. In 1939, this piece was donated to LACMA by the collector of Eastern textiles Bella Mabury. The embroidery on the garment carries many cultural symbols such as peonies and butterflies to signifiy longevity and auspicousness, along with phrases such as, “Fortune is like the rivers and seas.”
It was his great love of art, both modern and traditional, as well as of his culture that prompted him to make the donation.
Through his donation, the conservation work serves to help spread Korean culture far and wide. While there are hwarots on display in his home country, the piece at LACMA serves as a mark of Korean culture in the bigger world.
This particular piece was also in fantastic condition, making it all the more perfect for restoration.
Thanks to him, the hwarot is back to its full glory and on display for all at LACMA.
The gown was traditionally worn by royalty during their marriage.
He was also given the top bill in the credits for the piece, alongside the chairman of the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundaiton, a Master of Embroidery, and a Professor at a university. He is credited as “the start of a meaningful interest.” It was thanks to RM that the project could kick off in the first place.
Huge kudos to RM for helping restore such a beautiful piece of history!