Our faces in the pictures


As a camera appeared in the late 19th century, we came to see our faces through real photographs, not through pictorial expressions. There are early materials remaining, which the Japanese photographed faces of Korean people all over the country in the 1910s. So we can watch the faces of the Korean who lived 70-80 years ago.
The faces of then Korean people are not so much different from those of modern Koreans in respect of the shape. They had the round curved line on the top of the forehead, sparse eyebrows, small pupils, narrow sides of a nose, thin lips, large jaws, drooping ends of lips and deep-set middle part of the side face that makes the contour of the face looking like a straight line. These features are passed down to us and main characteristics of modern Korean people.
But women in those days had much smaller faces than modern women have, because of nutrition, perhaps. A notion of preferring a son to a daughter might have made girls treated discriminately in meals even in a family.
As the size of a face got smaller like that, they had projecting teeth and their closed mouths were in a protruding shape. That is a difference from the face of a modern woman. And in the face of modern women, various facial bones developed in general and their sizes got bigger relatively to teeth. Therefore their faces are getting a sunken shape gradually. And then women had angular forehead unlike modern women, because they pulled out hairs on the forehead straightly as a beauty culture. And men had developed cheekbone and jaws to give a healthy impression, though their faces were smaller than those of modern men.
In that way, faces of Korean people are changing through the times and individual lives little by little.
However consistent features of Korean faces exist in the changes. As we can see in the face of a stage actor Go Seol-bong, such main factors as sparse eyebrows, non-double eyelids, small pupils, thin lips, large jaws looking as firm and strong, ears with little lobes make the impression of Korean people.

Whole Life(Man) - Go Seol-bong

20s 30s 40s 50s 60s 70s 80s

Whole Life(Woman)

10s 20s 30s 40s 50s 60s