Taejo Wang Gon to Air on KBS'Taejo Wang Gon,' to be aired on KBS from April 1, is the first large-scale historical drama to deal with the Koryo period (918-1392).
Recreating the Koryo period was a challenge for the producers, having very little to work with in terms of information and costumes. In contrast, dramas placed in the Chosun period in Korean history have relatively much to work with.
With as many as fifty costumes appearing at a time, Taejo Wang Gon employed almost four times as many costumes as did other Korean dramas.
Clothing of the period was designed by the Korea Costume Institution, led by Yu Hee-kyung (80), borrowing much from Chinese Tang period clothing.
Beginning in 1998, the institution spent 16 months reproducing about 5,400 costumes, from Shilla royal garb to Koryo peasant wear.
"The costumes of Shilla and the early years of Koryo are different from those of the Choson," says Yu Su-Jung in the KBS design department.
Fortunately, some costumes and props were borrowed from the three-kingdom period drama, 'Samkukji,' which aired in the early 1990s.
Art pieces, worth up to $1,800 each, and the outdoor studio pushed production costs to $62,000. Almost a hundred buildings were constructed on 6,000 square meters of land by the production team, based on historical documentation.
Following the success of his Choson period drama, 'The King's Tears,' two years ago, writer Yi Hwan-kyung researched the Koryo period by travelling to China and Taiwan, and collecting historical data from North Korea. Yi reportedly read hundreds of theses on the subject.
Yi says, "Wang Gon is a figure that represents the Korean spirit of independence. We are taking painstaking measures to reproduce his story with historical accuracy."
by Kang Chan-ho