JEONBUK Food Culture Plaza
 The Characteristics
of Korean Foods
 Overview on Food
 Table-setting in
Korean foods
 Understanding Traditional Foods
Table-settion in korean foods
                jeonbuk Ethnic Foods
Table-setting is the way of displaying main and subsidiary dishes on a dinner table. Table-setting is of course diverse depending on the country and region, but it may largely be divided into two types: spatial and temporal. In the spatial arrangement, all dishes are arranged simultaneously, whereas they are served in series over time during dining in the temporal type. Temporal types are quite common in China and France. Our typical traditional types are the spatial setting, i.e., all prepared foods are served at once. Table-setting practice is relatively strictly kept and considered important in Korean food culture. The fact that the position of a particular dish is pre-determined is a good example.
Changes in table-settings

The pattern of table-setting is related to the socio-cultural background, housing style, and family system of an era. Documents and literature that directly show table-setting methods in old days, especially of commoners, are scarce.

[Koguryo Era ]
A mural painting in Muyongchong, an old Koguryo grave discovered in Tongu, depicts a person sitting in a chair by a standing dinner table, with food dishes ready on it. Another painting shows persons carrying foods on a legged portable table and on a round plate-like carrier without legs. In the "Meeting Painting" of the mural of Gak-jo-chong, another Tongu grave, people are served separately sitting at small tables. These paintings help us imagine what the table-settings were like in the Koguryo Era.
[Koryo Dynastry ]
Almost no literature describing the daily table-setting of this era is available. However, Ko-ryo-do-kyong, a travel sketch to Korea written by Seo Keung of China's Song Dynasty, indicates that two guests were served together in one table.
[Chosun Dynasty ]
The Chosun table-setting was established based on the Confucianism philosophy which advocates the extended family system and superiority of seniors and males. People formulated the size and name of food containers to be used when served for particular occasions. As the devotion to ancestors and thus memorial service to them were considered important virtues, literature is available which describes the procedure and dish arrangement in a memorial service. We can notice from genre paintings of the Chosun Dynasty that commoners served their guests with individual dinning tables.
The records on the royal court banquets in the Chosun Dynasty indicate that kings and the royal family were served with a separate table for each individual food dish, high level officials with a table for each person, lower levels with one table for two people, and the lowest shared one table for several people.
Classification of table-settings
Table-settings in daily life are classified based on the sorts of chief foods served, and also on the purpose of the setting. Daily settings are classified as rice meals of rice and side dishes, gruel meals, dumpling soup meals, rice cake soup meals, and others. Settings for guests include a large food table, a liquor table, and a tea-and-cookies table. Formal settings are 1st birthday party table, a reception table, and a sacrificial table: all of these are set with foods more special than daily tables. Formal settings were intended for weddings, memorial services, or annual events. For celebrative events such as wedding, 60th birthday and diamond wedding anniversary, they used to set a splendid reception table of various fruits and patterned savory cakes.
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