What kind of clothes did Hamel
and his mates wear when going to Byeongyeong Fortress
What kind of clothes did Hamel and his mates wore during
their life in Byeongyeong.
Hamel and his mates had not been provided any clothes
since their shipwreck in Jeju on Aug. 16, 1653. As a
result, they wore their Dutch clothes during their living
in Jeju. 1654 when they were sent to Seoul, King Hyojong
highly respected them and presented each two rolls of
flax. Using this flax, they made the first Joseon-style
In March 1655 when Hendrik
Janse and Hendrik Janse Bos blocked the passage of an
envoy of the Ching China, they took off Joseon-style
clothes and showed Dutch clothes. They wanted to protest
their situation as captives.
Considering such situations, Hamel and his mates had
worn plainclothes of Joseon since their stay in Seoul.
Surely, they might have kept their old clothes with
They wore official uniforms when working for the Royal
Guards of Hullyeondogam, but they might prefer ordinary
clothes to an official uniform that suits their taste
and comfort as westerners.
In 1656 when they began to live
at Jeolla Byeongyeong Fortress in Gangjin, they were
given the deer skins which they carried on the Sperwer.
According to the record, they sold them to buy daily
They wore Joseon clothes which became familiar during
their lives in Seoul, in Jeolla, and in Byeongyeong,
but it seemed they might have some difficulties during
the passing of the winter.
The new military commander coming in February 1657 canceled
free firewood and treated Hamel and his mates high-handed.
Another new military commander coming in November 1657
did not care about Hamel and his mates at all. Although
Hamel and his mates asked clothes or other things, he
refused to give them on the ground that he was not ordered
byt the king to provide them anything except for the
50 geun of rice.
If there were something they need, they had to provide
and get it for themselves.
When going around mountains to get firewood in a cold
winter, they had to wear their tattered clothes.
Their clothes of those days were quite the same as ones
the Byeongyeong residents wore. Perhaps it might not
be not enough for them to stand the winter with their
As other poor Joseon people did, they had to patch up
clothes several times.
Since the new military commander limited their life
to Byeongyeong-related matters, they were provided only
with three rolls of cloth which were not enough for
Although they made their clothes provided to them from
a government office, its quantity was not enough. So
they have to beg or receive used clothes from other
people, or work by the day to buy clothes.
If they knew about Korean custom
that women usually made cloth or clothes,becoming intimate
or living with women might be an easier way to get clothes.
It is guessed that some of them made Dutch clothes by
themselves or through the assistance of their women
neighbors, but buttons and other accessories were not
easily available, so their finished product would be
a mixture of Korean and Western style. Their clothes
would attract residents' gazes.
They might have tried making Dutch-style hats using
some clothes often not used for man or make shoes in
their own style.
Although they were occasionally given some clothes from
a government office, it was not enough so they have
to buy for additional. Finally they began to make clothes
They might learn how to make straw shoes from the residents.
Straw shoes were very common at that time, but it was
easily worn off and took so much labors.
They might make shoes or clothes using animal skin which
they obtained from hunting.
They might made clogs made of woods which was similar
to their own. They might have felt intimacy or surprise
on some similarity with their culture.
On the other hand, they were invited to village parties
and make residents happy with strange Dutch costume,
song, or dance.
Although their Dutch clothes were old and worn-out,
it was surely very valuable things to them to drown
their homesickness. When their mates died, they might
bury their clothes to drown their longing for home where
they could not go back after all.