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Past Webzine
WINTER 2008 Vol.22 No.4
Beauty of Korea
Byeoru (Ink Stone)
Background and Development of Korean Kimchi
Kimchi Ideal Health Food for a Well-being Lifestyle
Regional Influences Create Wide Varieties of Kimchi
Sharing Kimchi with Consumers Around the World
Seoul Hosts XXII World Congress of Philosophy 2008
Poet Ko Un “I am my own future!”
Archery Craftsman Yoo Young-ki Blends Strength with Resiliency
Elegant Earthenware Figurines Reveal Silla’s Spirituality
Magnum Korea Exhibition Images of Korean Society’s Diversity
Kevin O’Rourke Passionate Translator of Korean Literature
Sung Shi-yeon A Humble yet Forceful Presence at the Podium
Jeongseon’s Natural Beauty Endures the Passage of Time
Yaksik Rice Cake Tasty and Healthy Treat
Korea Delivers with Speed and Agility
Dance of Exorcism at the Fringe of Existence
SUMMER 2006 Vol.20 No.2
  Beauty of Korea
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Tteok (rice cake) is an integral element of Korean cuisine. The attractive designs and patterns imprinted onto tteok are a reflection of the Korean sense of aesthetics. The implement used to decorate the surface of tteok is commonly known as tteoksal, which was first used during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). It works like a stamp or seal to press designs on the pliable surface of tteok.
Although it may appear to be nothing more than a simple kitchen utensil, the tteoksal embodies a deeper significance. In particular, for Koreans of long ago, a brief glance at a tteoksal was enough to give them an impression of its household and family. As such, the designs of tteoksal served as a kind of family symbol. Particular tteoksal designs would be used for various family events and occasions.
For example, a fish and banana-plant pattern would decorate the tteok for an infant 100-day celebration, whereas a design depicting two lovebirds, to symbolize marital bliss, or a couple of bats, a symbol of good fortune, was applied to the tteok for a wedding ceremony. Animal forms, such as a carp or turtle, symbols of longevity, were used on the tteok for a 60th birthday celebration. Tteok for Buddhist events featured designs of lotus, man (س), and other Buddhist symbols.
Along with taking heed of the saying, piece of tteok should not only taste good but look good as well,Ó Koreans also took the time and effort to give special meaning to each serving of tteok. Accordingly, tteoksal is another example of the refined elegance of Korea traditional food culture.
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