A palanquin to take the bride to the groom’s home after the wedding ceremony. A mode of transport, the palanquin takes the form of a small litter on horizontal poles, carried by a group of bearers on their shoulders.
During sinhaeng (Kor. 신행, C hin. 新行, post-wedding journey of the bride to the groom’s home), the bridal palanquin was marked with a cotton band tied in an X-shape all around the vehicle except the front, or a tiger skin covering the top. It was splendidly decorated with multiple colors or tassels and pictures of a pair of birds, animals or fish to express wishes for the couple’s conjugal harmony and fecundity. There is a saying, “The couple will not share the years happily together if one of the bridal palanquin’s poles is broken.” The bridal palanquin was also called a “flower palanquin” (kkotgama), but not all flower palanquins were exclusively for brides. Meanwhile, the bridegroom sometimes used his own palanquin for the post-wedding journey home instead of riding a horse, which was more common. The bridegroom’s palanquin usually featured little decoration.
In a traditional wedding, the procession of a bridal palanquin was similar to a procession of the nobility. On their wedding day, commoners were treated as noblemen and allowed to ride a palanquin, usually reserved for the upper classes. The bridegroom led the procession while bearers carried the bridal palanquin, followed by senior family members of the newly-wed couple, ceremony attendants, porters, ·lantern carriers and so on. The new couple was treated as noble members of society in all aspects including attire, pumseok (Kor. 품석, Chin. 品席, lit. rank cushion) and pumdeung (Kor. 품등, Chin. 品燈, lit. rank lantern), which were strictly regulated according to social status. The bride also put on makeup and splendid clothes including the hwarot (Kor. 활옷, Chin. 闊衣, ceremonial robe) like a princess, while the bridegroom departed for his home, wearing dallyeong (Kor. 단령, Chin. 團領, robe with a round neckband) with hat, belt and boots. The material for cushions ranged from leopard skin to that of tiger, dog and lamb according to official rank, but the bridal palanquin was topped with tiger skin, usually reserved for high ranking officials. Likewise, the color of lanterns used is determined by rank but an exception was made for the bridal procession, which featured the blue and red lanterns (cheongsadeungnong) used by high ranking officials. This custom related to the bridal palanquin and procession gives a glimpse into the ruler’s love of the people.