Maebyeong Celadon Vase, Goryeo Dynasty

Maebyeong Celadon Vase, Goryeo Dynasty


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Celadon

Celadon is a term for pottery denoting both wares glazed in the jade green celadon color, also known as greenware (the term specialists now tend to use [1] ), and a type of transparent glaze, often with small cracks, that was first used on greenware, but later used on other porcelains. Celadon originated in China, though the term is purely European, and notable kilns such as the Longquan kiln in Zhejiang province are renowned for their celadon glazes. [2] Celadon production later spread to other parts of East Asia, such as Japan and Korea [3] as well as Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand. Eventually, European potteries produced some pieces, but it was never a major element there. Finer pieces are in porcelain, but both the color and the glaze can be produced in stoneware and earthenware. Most of the earlier Longquan celadon is on the border of stoneware and porcelain, meeting the Chinese but not the European definitions of porcelain.

For many centuries, celadon wares were highly regarded by the Chinese Imperial court, before being replaced in fashion by painted wares, especially the new blue and white porcelain under the Yuan dynasty. The similarity of the color to jade, traditionally the most highly valued material in China, was a large part of its attraction. Celadon continued to be produced in China at a lower level, often with a conscious sense of reviving older styles. In Korea the celadons produced under the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392) are regarded as the classic wares of Korean porcelain.

The celadon colour is classically produced by firing a glaze containing a little iron oxide at a high temperature in a reducing kiln. The materials must be refined, as other chemicals can alter the color completely. Too little iron oxide causes a blue colour (sometimes a desired effect), and too much gives olive and finally black the right amount is between 0.75% and 2.5%. The presence of other chemicals may have effects titanium dioxide gives a yellowish tinge. [4] Pieces made with a celadon glaze are themselves often referred to as "celadons".


Designated as National Treasure 94, this lobed vase is one of the quintessential works of Goryeo celadon. It is believed to have been found in the tomb of King Injong (r. 1122-1146), the seventeenth king of the Goryeo Dynasty. Also discovered in the tomb was a &ldquosichaek&rdquo (諡冊, a document bestowing an honorary title to a deceased king) that was dated &ldquoSixth Year of Huangtong&rdquo (皇統六年, the Jin era name), which corresponds to 1146 on the Roman calendar. Thus, this vase exemplifies the Goryeo royal court&rsquos exceptional taste for fine celadon.

Showcasing the Famous Jade-colored Glaze of Goryeo

Celadon Lobed Vase, Goryeo Dynasty (early 12th century), Height: 22.6cm, Diameter (mouth): 8.4cm, Diameter (foot): 7.4cm, National Treasure 94

With its exquisite shape and lustrous glaze color, this lobed vase epitomizes the beauty of Goryeo celadon. One of the most striking features is the unique form, which delivers a pleasant sense of tension, but also a carefree elegance. The mouth is shaped like a flower with eight petals, and the long, slender neck curves gently into the round body that is shaped like a chamoe (Korean melon). At the bottom is a tall foot that resembles a pleated skirt. The body is divided into lobes by vertical indentations, forming soft curves that accentuate the sense of tautness and volume. These curves are offset by the sharp, straight creases in the foot, yielding a harmonious contrast. The body is joined to both the neck and foot by horizontal protruding lines, a detail likely borrowed from metalcrafts, while three incised lines decorate the neck.

The glaze was wiped off the bottom, which shows traces of seven pieces of fire-resistant clay, where the vase was placed during firing. This vase is estimated to have been produced in the Goryeo celadon kilns in Sadang-ri, Gangjin, South Jeolla Province. Excavations of the Sadang-ri kilns have yielded celadon shards with the same shape and quality as this vase.

Two characteristics that exemplify the unique aesthetics of Goryeo celadon are the jade-colored glaze and the inlay technique. This vase is particularly acclaimed for its superb glaze, which features an ideal jade color and subtle gloss. Evenly applied across the entire surface, the layer of glaze is filled with tiny bubbles, but shows no hairline cracks. Upon close examination, the light penetrates the translucent glaze to illuminate the base clay.

Serene Beauty from Form and Color

For centuries, people have compared the luminescent green glaze of Goryeo celadon to jade. This is confirmed by Illustrated Record of the Chinese Embassy to the Goryeo Court in the Xuanhe Era (宣和奉使高麗圖經), which was written by a Song-Dynasty envoy named Xu Jing (徐兢, 1091-1153), who had spent a month in Goryeo in 1123. In this book, Xu Jing wrote, &ldquoThe Goryeo people say that the glaze on their celadon is the color of jade&rdquo (陶器色之靑者 麗人謂之翡色). In addition, in Brocade in the Sleeve (袖中錦), the Song-Dynasty writer Taiping Laoren (太平老人) proclaimed that the &ldquojade-colored celadon of Goryeo is the best under heaven&rdquo (高麗秘色 天下第一). These records demonstrate that the superb beauty of Goryeo celadon was recognized even by the ceramic masters of China. This lobed vase showcases the same jade-colored glaze that was praised by Xu Jing and Taiping Laoren.

Vases with a lobed body, such as this one, were popularly produced by the Cizhou kilns, the Jingdezhen kilns, and the Yaozhou kilns of China&rsquos Song Dynasty. The form was then transmitted to Goryeo celadon in the late eleventh or early twelfth century. There were some variations between Chinese and Goryeo lobed vases, however, as demonstrated by a qingbai lobed vase, produced at the Jingdezhen kilns, that was excavated in Gaeseong. While the qingbai vase has an extremely voluminous body, with a short neck and low foot, this Goryeo lobed vase has a more proportional and harmonious form.

This vessel is said to have been excavated from the tomb of King Injong, along with a celadon cup with lid, a celadon case, and a celadon stand. With precise shapes, minimal decoration, and an even coating of jade-colored glaze, these objects reflect the refined taste of the Goryeo royal court in the early twelfth century.

(Right) Other celadon objects found in the tomb of King Injong.
With precise shapes and minimal decoration, these objects demonstrate the refined taste of the Goryeo royal court.

Celadon Maebyeong with Lotus Scroll Design

While the lobed vase has a serene beauty from its exquisite shape and jade glaze, other Goryeo celadon objects have elaborate designs that convey a more dynamic beauty. For example, this celadon maebyeong with lotus scroll design (National Treasure 97) is completely covered with a design of lotus flowers rendered with thick lines.

This celadon maebyeong with lotus scroll design (National Treasure 97) showcases the sensuous, sweeping form of an elegant Goryeo maebyeong vase.

As opposed to Chinese maebyeong, which often have rather sharp lines, Goryeo maebyeong are characterized by softer, more elegant curves, as seen here. At 43.9cm in height, this maebyeong is quite tall. The form roughly resembles an upside-down pyramid, with the voluptuous shoulder firmly supported by the stout base. The entire surface is covered with a vivid design of large lotus flowers with scrolling stems and leaves. In contrast to the thickly carved outlines, the veins of the flowers and leaves are delicately incised with fine lines. Encircling the base is an abstract labyrinth motif, colloquially known as the &ldquolightning pattern.&rdquo The surface is evenly coated with translucent glaze with a light green hue, which is now infused with some hairline cracks. The vase was made with refined base clay of the highest quality, matching shards found at the kiln sites of Sadang-ri, Gangjin, South Jeolla Province, which represent the peak period of Goryeo celadon.

A &ldquomaebyeong&rdquo (&ldquo梅甁,&rdquo Ch. meiping), or &ldquoplum vase,&rdquo is a large ceramic vase that held flowers or liquids, and was usually meant to be appreciated in an indoor space. Many maebyeong have a trapezoidal lid, indicating that such vessels were likely used to store wine or other liquids. Recently, two maebyeong with a bamboo tag that read &ldquo蜜&rdquo (&ldquohoney&rdquo) were excavated near Mado Island in the Yellow Sea, confirming that maebyeong could also be used to store oils, sauces, or other viscous foods.


Contents

History Edit

Early celadon Edit

Pottery and celadon had been introduced into the Korean peninsula in the Three Kingdom age. Demand for higher quality porcelain increased as the Goryeo Dynasty emerged. With that and the development of tea culture and Buddhism, wares based on traditional and southern China (Song dynasty) porcelain began production in Goryeo . [6] Most of the pottery made in this era are the kinds that are called haemurigup celadon and green celadon (low-grade)

11th century Edit

As the celadon techniques of the Song dynasty reached its pinnacle, much effort was made inside Goryeo to reproduce the turquoise coloring of these Chinese porcelain. A lot of kilns were made throughout the kingdom, leading to a variety of celadon being made. High grade celadon were made in order of the capital, and low grade celadon were made by the requests of temples, offices and local families of provinces.

Though Chinese influences were still existent, Goryeo styled shapes and decorations emerged in some porcelains. These are characterized by the utilization of light curves and a serene, elegant feel. Decoration techniques such as relief carving, intaglio carving, iron oxide glaze, openwork became in use. The sanggam inlaying also started at this age.

12th century Edit

The 12th century is considered as a zenith of Goryeo celadon, especially in its special color and harmony. The pure celadon made in this age had thin glaze coating that exquisitely reflected the jade color, called bisaek. They also had a great level of structural balance and elegance. [8] There are records describing celadon of this age as world best. [9]

Jinsa "underglaze red", a technique using copper oxide pigment to create copper-red designs, was developed in Korea during the 12th century, and later inspired the "underglaze red" ceramics of the Yuan dynasty. [10] [11] [12] [13]

Post-12th century Edit

Maturation of the aristocrat society due to events such as the coup of military officers leads to an increasing favor for extravagantly decorated porcelain. Inlaying techniques reach its height and opens a second zenith of Goryeo celadon. Other types of porcelain develop as whitening, iron oxide glaze, copper oxide glaze came in use. With the decrease of Chinese influence, Goryeo celadon acquires a more native shape, in unique patterns and decorative shapes. [14] Thin, transparent glaze used to show the inlaid designs led to development of a crackling cooling pattern, called bingyeol (craquelure).

13th century Edit

After the Mongolian invasion in 1220, social and economic confusion had caused the general quality of Goryeo celadon to decline. Influence of Yuan dynasty is seen throughout the porcelain produced in this time. [15] Though the celadon industry remained, overall density of expressions and smoothness decreased and the color and harmony are also diminished. This decrease in its beauty continues as the Goryeo dynasty recedes. [16]

14th century Edit

In the late 14th Century, the Kilns of Gangjin and Buanyo were attacked by Japanese pirates and closed. Inland kilns replace them, putting an end to the age of celadon. Though new characteristic shapes and designs appear, they are utilitarian instead of being elegant and restrained, as Goryeo celadon in its zenith did. One of these new types of porcelain is called buncheong.

20th century Edit

A revival of Goryeo celadon pottery began in the early 20th century. Playing a leading role in its revival was Yu Geun-Hyeong, a Living National Treasure whose work was documented in the 1979 short film, Koryo Celadon.

Characteristics Edit

Inlay technique Edit

For the inlay technique, several patterns are engraved on the surface of metal, clay, wood, etc. Other materials such as gold, silver, jewelry, bone are inserted in the same shape. This traditional decoration technique started to be applied in porcelain in the Goryeo dynasty. Purple (black) and white clay were used to show the patterns. [17]

A pattern is engraved on celadon with a knife and covered with purple and white soil. When the soil dries, the overflowing mud is wiped off, remaining only in the carved areas thus, a white or purple pattern will appear. When it is baked after painted with glaze, the white soil appears as white and the purple as black, and this pattern is seen through the glaze.

Differences from Chinese celadon Edit

Glaze of Goryeo celadon had a definite composition starting from the 11th century to the 15th century. It contained a lot of calcium in composition, with 0.5% of manganese oxide, which was more concentrated than glaze used in Chinese celadon. Also in the case of Chinese ceramics, there is enough time for nucleation-crystal growth, so it takes jade color. But the kilns in Goryeo were smaller than that in China, so the firing and cooling process took place quickly. Therefore, minerals in soil such as anorthite or wollastonite have no time for nucleation-crystal growth. This results in the color of celadon being closer to the gray side. In Goryeo celadon, quartz, black particles, bubbles, cracks can be observed too.

The technical contribution of the celadon is that it has a white, black, or gray inlay to emphasize the grayish green color. In addition, when they used white inlay, the glaze was intentionally composited to make cracks. Light was scattered by the small cracks. So degrees of color of the celadon depend on the location of view. Pattern such as of the Koryeo celadon>></ref>

Types and decorations Edit

  • Pure celadon is celadon which has no decorations such as inlaid lights on it. It is known as the first type of celadon ever made in Korean Peninsula. [14] Having no decorations, the shape of the bowl and the color of the glaze of this type of celadon are particularly excellent. It is considered to be the earliest celadon.
  • Celadon In relief refers to celadon made using embossing technique. There are two kinds of embossed celadon. The first is celadon which must be embossed to show its shape, and the other is celadon with embossing used for decorative purposes. Celadon is made by engraving technique, which shows patterns that enter the surface of the bowl. The engraved pattern in celadon is very thin, so if the glaze is not properly melted, the indented lines would not appear, which makes incised celadon require very high skill. It is seen in the excellent works of the early celadon. [14] celadon Celadon was made until the end of the Goryeo Dynasty. [18] Many black and white patterns were embroidered. By using the method of digging the pattern with a sharp knife and then filling it with other colored clay, it is possible to express the pattern finely and to make the surface smoother. Cracks may appear because two different clays shrink together. and Waterfowl Design is used in many kinds of ceramics including celadon, and it reflects the feelings of the ancients very well. The characteristic of this design is that it contains a beautiful rural landscape, arranging black and white harmoniously. [14]
  • Cloud and Crane Design was mainly used in prunus vases. This pattern of the sky expresses clouds and cranes that fly away from humans. It is not clear why people of Goryeo liked to use these designs.
  • Flower design is usually a pattern of camomile, and it can be added by a pair of chrysanthemums Celadon : The patterns of underglazed celadon are drawn with white & black paint on the surface of the bowl. The celadon is then painted with glaze and fired in a kiln. Celadon uses clay on brushes to draw dots or pictures before applying glaze. It is similar to inlaid celadon, but the patterns are not smooth. [19] Celadon is red due to oxidation of copper. It is very rare and not numerous, because copper oxide is very unstable depending on the baking conditions such as temperature control and fuel supply, so it is very difficult to produce red color. [14]
  • Celadon in Underglaze Iron is created by applying wire paints to the entire surface of pottery made by celadon clay. The finished work is shiny with black and green colors. [18]
  • Gold decorated Celadon is made by the technique of painting a part of finished inlaid celadon with gold. Melted gold is painted in the pattern of the inlaid celadon which has been glazed and baked to the second fire. It is then baked again in low fire to let the gold settle.
  • Marbled Celadon is made by kneading grey celadon foundation clay with clays of other composition, the gray, black, and white color result in a marble pattern. No engraved patterns are found in marbled celadon.

Gallery Edit

Pitcher with the head of a dragon and the body of a fish, 12th century (National Treasure No. 61) [20]

Maebyeong vase with sanggam engraved cranes (National Treasure No. 68)


Contents

Neolithic Edit

The earliest known Korean pottery dates back to around 8.000 BC, [2] and evidence of Mesolithic Pit–Comb Ware culture (or Yunggimun pottery) is found throughout the peninsula, such as in Jeju Island. Jeulmun pottery, or "comb-pattern pottery", is found after 7000 BC, and is concentrated at sites in west-central regions of the Korean Peninsula, where a number of prehistoric settlements, such as Amsa-dong, existed. Jeulmun pottery bears basic design and form similarities to that of Mongolia, the Amur and Sungari river basins of Manchuria, the Jōmon culture in Japan, and the Baiyue in Southern China and Southeast Asia. [3] [4]

Later Silla Edit

Pottery of the Later Silla period (668–935) was initially simple in color, shape, and design. Celadon subsequently became the main production.

Buddhism, the dominant religion of the time in Korea, increased the demand for celadon-glazed wares (cheongja), causing cheongja celadon to evolve very quickly, with more organic shapes and decorations, such as animal and bird motifs. When making cheongja wares, a small amount of iron powder was added to the refined clay, which was then coated with a glaze and an additional small amount of iron powder, and then finally fired. This allowed the glaze to be more durable, with a shinier and glossier finish than white wares.

Goryeo Edit

The Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) achieved the unification of the Later Three Kingdoms under Wang Geon. The works of this period are generally considered to be the finest works of ceramics in Korean history. [5] [6] [7] Korean celadon reached its pinnacle with the invention of the sanggam inlay technique in the early 12th century. [8] [9] [10]

Key-fret, foliate designs, geometric or scrolling flowerhead bands, elliptical panels, stylized fish, insects, birds and the use of incised designs began at this time. Glazes were usually various shades of celadon, with browned glazes to almost black glazes being used for stoneware and storage. Celadon glazes could be rendered almost transparent to show black and white inlays. Jinsa "underglaze red", a technique using copper oxide pigment to create copper-red designs, was developed in Korea during the 12th century, and later inspired the "underglaze red" ceramics of the Yuan dynasty. [11] [12] [13] [14]

While the forms generally seen are broad-shouldered jars, larger low jars or shallow smaller jars, highly decorated celadon cosmetic boxes, and small slip-inlaid cups, the Buddhist potteries also produced melon-shaped vases, chrysanthemum cups often of spectacularly architectural design on stands with lotus motifs and lotus flower heads. In-curving rimmed alms bowls have also been discovered similar to Korean metalware. Wine cups often had a tall foot which rested on dish-shaped stands.

Baekja wares came from highly refined white clay, glazed with feldspar, and fired in regulated and clean large kilns. Despite the refining process, white glazes invariably vary as a result of the properties of the clay itself firing methods were not uniform, temperatures varied and glazes on pieces vary from pure white, in an almost snowy thickness, through milky white that shows the clay beneath deliberately in washed glaze, to light blue and light yellow patinas. After having succeeded the tradition of Goryeo baekja, soft white porcelain was produced in Joseon Dynasty, that carried on, but from the mid-Joseon on hard white porcelain became the mainstream porcelain. [15] [16]

The baekja wares reached their zenith immediately before the Joseon Dynasty came to power. Fine pieces have recently been found in the area around Wolchil Peak near Mount Kumgang. The transitional wares of white became expressions of the Joseon Dynasty celebrations of victory in many pieces decorated with Korean calligraphy. Traditionally white wares were used by both the scholarly Confucian class, the nobility and royalty on more formal occasions.

Joseon Edit

During the Joseon dynasty, (1392–1897) ceramic wares were considered to represent the highest quality of achievement from royal, city, and provincial kilns, the last of which were export-driven wares. Joseon enjoyed a long period of growth in royal and provincial kilns, and much work of the highest quality still preserved.

Wares evolved along Chinese lines in terms of colour, shape, and technique. Celadon, white porcelain, and storage pottery were similar, but with certain variations in glazes, incision designs, florality, and weight. The Ming influence in blue and white wares using cobalt-blue glazes existed, but without the pthalo blue range, and the three-dimensional glassine colour depth of Ming Dynasty Chinese works.

Simplified designs emerged early on. Buddhist designs still prevailed in celadon wares: lotus flowers, and willow trees. The form most often seen was that of pear-shaped bottles. Notable were thinner glazes, and colourless glazes for buncheong or stoneware. During the Joseon period, Koreans applied the sanggam tradition to create buncheong ceramics. [17] [18] In contrast to the refined elegance of Goryeo celadon, buncheong is designed to be natural, unassuming, and practical. [19] However, the buncheong tradition was gradually replaced by Joseon white porcelain, its aristocratic counterpart, and disappeared in Korea by the end of the 16th century. [18] Buncheong became known and prized in Japan as Mishima. [20] [21] [22]

Joseon white porcelain representing Joseon ceramics was produced throughout the entire period of the Joseon dynasty. The plain and austere white porcelain suitably reflects the taste of Neo-Confucian scholars. [23] Qing colouring, brighter and almost Scythian in enamel imitation, was rejected by Korean potters, in favour of simpler, less decorated wares in keeping with a new dynasty that built itself on Confucian doctrine.

Generally, the ceramics of this dynasty is divided into early, middle, and late periods, changing every two centuries, approximately thus 1300 to 1500 is the early period, 1500 to 1700 the middle, and 1700 to 1900–1910 the late period.

The wares began to assume more traditional Korean glazes and more specific designs to meet regional needs. This is to be expected, as the Scythian art influences were of the former dynasty. The rise of white porcelain occurred as a result of Confucian influence and ideals, resulting in purer, less pretentious forms lacking artifice and complexity.

In 1592 during the Japanese invasion of Korea, entire villages of Korean potters were forcibly relocated to Japan, damaging the pottery industry as craftsmen had to relearn techniques because the masters were gone. [24]

20th century Edit

A revival of celadon pottery began in the early 20th century, including the work of Living National Treasure, Yu Geun-Hyeong, whose work was documented in the 1979 short film, Koryo Celadon.

Nearly all exports of Korean ceramics went to Japan, and most were from provincial coastal kilns, especially in the Busan area. Export occurred in two ways: either through trading or through invasion and theft of pottery and the abduction [25] to Japan of families of potters who made the wares. The voluntary immigration of potters was improbable since Joseon pottery was administrated by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (工曹) (ko:공조 (행정기관)). As a national resource, pottery technician trade with foreign countries was prohibited.

Central to Korean success were the chambered climbing kilns, based on the Chinese dragon kiln, that were used throughout the Joseon dynasty and exported abroad, especially to Japan by Korean kiln-makers where they were renamed as noborigama in the Karatsu area from the 17th century on.


Contents

History Edit

Early celadon Edit

Pottery and celadon had been introduced into the Korean peninsula in the Three Kingdom age. Demand for higher quality porcelain increased as the Goryeo Dynasty emerged. With that and the development of tea culture and Buddhism, wares based on traditional and southern China (Song dynasty) porcelain began production in Goryeo . [6] Most of the pottery made in this era are the kinds that are called haemurigup celadon and green celadon (low-grade)

11th century Edit

As the celadon techniques of the Song dynasty reached its pinnacle, much effort was made inside Goryeo to reproduce the turquoise coloring of these Chinese porcelain. A lot of kilns were made throughout the kingdom, leading to a variety of celadon being made. High grade celadon were made in order of the capital, and low grade celadon were made by the requests of temples, offices and local families of provinces.

Though Chinese influences were still existent, Goryeo styled shapes and decorations emerged in some porcelains. These are characterized by the utilization of light curves and a serene, elegant feel. Decoration techniques such as relief carving, intaglio carving, iron oxide glaze, openwork became in use. The sanggam inlaying also started at this age.

12th century Edit

The 12th century is considered as a zenith of Goryeo celadon, especially in its special color and harmony. The pure celadon made in this age had thin glaze coating that exquisitely reflected the jade color, called bisaek. They also had a great level of structural balance and elegance. [8] There are records describing celadon of this age as world best. [9]

Jinsa "underglaze red", a technique using copper oxide pigment to create copper-red designs, was developed in Korea during the 12th century, and later inspired the "underglaze red" ceramics of the Yuan dynasty. [10] [11] [12] [13]

Post-12th century Edit

Maturation of the aristocrat society due to events such as the coup of military officers leads to an increasing favor for extravagantly decorated porcelain. Inlaying techniques reach its height and opens a second zenith of Goryeo celadon. Other types of porcelain develop as whitening, iron oxide glaze, copper oxide glaze came in use. With the decrease of Chinese influence, Goryeo celadon acquires a more native shape, in unique patterns and decorative shapes. [14] Thin, transparent glaze used to show the inlaid designs led to development of a crackling cooling pattern, called bingyeol (craquelure).

13th century Edit

After the Mongolian invasion in 1220, social and economic confusion had caused the general quality of Goryeo celadon to decline. Influence of Yuan dynasty is seen throughout the porcelain produced in this time. [15] Though the celadon industry remained, overall density of expressions and smoothness decreased and the color and harmony are also diminished. This decrease in its beauty continues as the Goryeo dynasty recedes. [16]

14th century Edit

In the late 14th Century, the Kilns of Gangjin and Buanyo were attacked by Japanese pirates and closed. Inland kilns replace them, putting an end to the age of celadon. Though new characteristic shapes and designs appear, they are utilitarian instead of being elegant and restrained, as Goryeo celadon in its zenith did. One of these new types of porcelain is called buncheong.

20th century Edit

A revival of Goryeo celadon pottery began in the early 20th century. Playing a leading role in its revival was Yu Geun-Hyeong, a Living National Treasure whose work was documented in the 1979 short film, Koryo Celadon.

Characteristics Edit

Inlay technique Edit

For the inlay technique, several patterns are engraved on the surface of metal, clay, wood, etc. Other materials such as gold, silver, jewelry, bone are inserted in the same shape. This traditional decoration technique started to be applied in porcelain in the Goryeo dynasty. Purple (black) and white clay were used to show the patterns. [17]

A pattern is engraved on celadon with a knife and covered with purple and white soil. When the soil dries, the overflowing mud is wiped off, remaining only in the carved areas thus, a white or purple pattern will appear. When it is baked after painted with glaze, the white soil appears as white and the purple as black, and this pattern is seen through the glaze.

Differences from Chinese celadon Edit

Glaze of Goryeo celadon had a definite composition starting from the 11th century to the 15th century. It contained a lot of calcium in composition, with 0.5% of manganese oxide, which was more concentrated than glaze used in Chinese celadon. Also in the case of Chinese ceramics, there is enough time for nucleation-crystal growth, so it takes jade color. But the kilns in Goryeo were smaller than that in China, so the firing and cooling process took place quickly. Therefore, minerals in soil such as anorthite or wollastonite have no time for nucleation-crystal growth. This results in the color of celadon being closer to the gray side. In Goryeo celadon, quartz, black particles, bubbles, cracks can be observed too.

The technical contribution of the celadon is that it has a white, black, or gray inlay to emphasize the grayish green color. In addition, when they used white inlay, the glaze was intentionally composited to make cracks. Light was scattered by the small cracks. So degrees of color of the celadon depend on the location of view. Pattern such as of the Koryeo celadon>></ref>

Types and decorations Edit

  • Pure celadon is celadon which has no decorations such as inlaid lights on it. It is known as the first type of celadon ever made in Korean Peninsula. [14] Having no decorations, the shape of the bowl and the color of the glaze of this type of celadon are particularly excellent. It is considered to be the earliest celadon.
  • Celadon In relief refers to celadon made using embossing technique. There are two kinds of embossed celadon. The first is celadon which must be embossed to show its shape, and the other is celadon with embossing used for decorative purposes. Celadon is made by engraving technique, which shows patterns that enter the surface of the bowl. The engraved pattern in celadon is very thin, so if the glaze is not properly melted, the indented lines would not appear, which makes incised celadon require very high skill. It is seen in the excellent works of the early celadon. [14] celadon Celadon was made until the end of the Goryeo Dynasty. [18] Many black and white patterns were embroidered. By using the method of digging the pattern with a sharp knife and then filling it with other colored clay, it is possible to express the pattern finely and to make the surface smoother. Cracks may appear because two different clays shrink together. and Waterfowl Design is used in many kinds of ceramics including celadon, and it reflects the feelings of the ancients very well. The characteristic of this design is that it contains a beautiful rural landscape, arranging black and white harmoniously. [14]
  • Cloud and Crane Design was mainly used in prunus vases. This pattern of the sky expresses clouds and cranes that fly away from humans. It is not clear why people of Goryeo liked to use these designs.
  • Flower design is usually a pattern of camomile, and it can be added by a pair of chrysanthemums Celadon : The patterns of underglazed celadon are drawn with white & black paint on the surface of the bowl. The celadon is then painted with glaze and fired in a kiln. Celadon uses clay on brushes to draw dots or pictures before applying glaze. It is similar to inlaid celadon, but the patterns are not smooth. [19] Celadon is red due to oxidation of copper. It is very rare and not numerous, because copper oxide is very unstable depending on the baking conditions such as temperature control and fuel supply, so it is very difficult to produce red color. [14]
  • Celadon in Underglaze Iron is created by applying wire paints to the entire surface of pottery made by celadon clay. The finished work is shiny with black and green colors. [18]
  • Gold decorated Celadon is made by the technique of painting a part of finished inlaid celadon with gold. Melted gold is painted in the pattern of the inlaid celadon which has been glazed and baked to the second fire. It is then baked again in low fire to let the gold settle.
  • Marbled Celadon is made by kneading grey celadon foundation clay with clays of other composition, the gray, black, and white color result in a marble pattern. No engraved patterns are found in marbled celadon.

Gallery Edit

Pitcher with the head of a dragon and the body of a fish, 12th century (National Treasure No. 61) [20]

Maebyeong vase with sanggam engraved cranes (National Treasure No. 68)


Designated as Treasure 1869 in 2015, this celadon maebyeong with a cloud and crane design was featured in The New National Treasures 2014-2016 (May 13-July 9, 2017), a special exhibition to introduce items that had recently been designated as &ldquoTreasures&rdquo or &ldquoNational Treasures.&rdquo Of the fifty items featured at that exhibition, this maebyeong was the only celadon vessel. With its stately form and whimsical crane design, this vase exuded a unique beauty that radiated through the gallery, capturing the hearts of all who attended that exhibition. But what aesthetic qualities must an object possess in order to be designated as a &ldquotreasure&rdquo?

Celadon Maebyeong with Crane and Cloud Design, Goryeo Dynasty (late 12th-13th century), Height: 30.0cm, Treasure 1869

Dignity of Maebyeong

With a small mouth, voluptuous shoulder, and softly curved outline, this vase exhibits the characteristic form of a Goryeo celadon maebyeong. Although maebyeong were produced from the early Goryeo period, they did not attain this beautiful shape until the twelfth century. Then, by the thirteenth century, maebyeong became larger with more exaggerated curves, until they eventually disappeared from production around the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Thus, the maebyeong is now considered to be one of the representative vessels of Goryeo celadon, modeling the formal changes that occurred over time. While some maebyeong were undecorated, others are decorated with incised, embossed, or inlaid patterns, or painted with iron-brown or copper-red underglaze.

Being slightly smaller than the average Goryeo maebyeong (30-40 cm tall), this maebyeong has a neat and compact look. It has a flared mouth and short neck atop the broad shoulder, which sweeps smoothly down to the base in an elegant S-curve. While the wide shoulder and natural curve yield a pleasant balance, the slight flare of the base provides a sense of stability. After the ideal shape was achieved on the potter&rsquos wheel, the delightful inlaid design of clouds and cranes was added. A slight indentation was carved into the bottom of the vessel to form the footring. The entire vessel, including the bottom, received a thick coating of bluish-green glaze with a lovely sheen. Before firing, the glaze was wiped off the footring and small pieces of fire-resistant clay mixed with black sand were attached to the foot. With its superlative shape, luminous translucent glaze, and elegantly composed inlaid design, this vessel is fully deserving of its designation as Treasure 1869.

Inlaid Crane and Cloud Design

The two greatest achievements of Goryeo celadon are the gorgeous jade-colored glaze and the celadon inlay technique, an innovation that was unique to Goryeo. The inlay technique involves carving lines or images into the base clay, and then filling the carved areas with white or red ocher clay (which turns black during firing) to create designs of multiple colors. Significantly, the three types of clay (i.e., base clay, white clay, red ocher clay) expand at different rates during firing, so the inlay technique required the most advanced level of ceramic technology. This maebyeong exemplifies the elegant beauty that could be achieved with the inlay technique.

Both the mouth and foot of this vase are encircled by an abstract labyrinth motif, colloquially known as the &ldquolightning pattern.&rdquo Made with black inlay, these two decorative bands provide a balanced composition for a more refined appearance. Meanwhile, the body is adorned with a striking design of cranes flying through the clouds, with the jade-colored glaze serving as the background sky.

With cranes and clouds liberally spaced across the wide surface, with plenty of blank space in between, the design yields a sense of lyricism and liberation. The cranes are rendered in individual detail, as they soar in all directions through the air one turns its head back while flying horizontally, while another stretches its neck to raise its head. This variety of poses produces a pleasant rhythm, as if the cranes are engaged in an animated conversation. While the bodies of the cranes were done in white inlay, black inlay was used to highlight the bills, eyes, legs, and some feathers. Such a sophisticated depiction, based on the strong black and white contrast, is truly a remarkable achievement in the world of ceramics.

In Korea, designs of cranes appeared very early in history, but such designs were not used as the primary decoration for ceramics until the twelfth century, the golden age of Goryeo celadon with jade-colored glaze. Of course, cranes are actual birds from nature, but they have always been surrounded by an air of mystery and elegance, often being seen as mystical beings that soar through the sky. In Asian lore, cranes have been associated with famous recluses and Taoist immortals, who are often shown riding the large white birds. With their long neck and legs, graceful posture, and pure white feathers, cranes are a popular auspicious symbol in many parts of Asia. They also symbolize long life as one of the &ldquoten longevity symbols.&rdquo

As seen here, cranes are often depicted flying through clouds. The clouds on this vase, which are shaped like blooming flowers, always point upwards, and thus convey a rising sensation. From antiquity, clouds have been considered sacred elements of nature, along with the sun, moon, stars, and wind. Clouds were particularly revered by agricultural societies, which adopted them as auspicious symbols of longevity and abundance. This explains why cloud designs can be found throughout Korean culture, not only in Goryeo celadon, but also in tomb murals and on ancient metalwares. As we know, cranes and clouds are real things from the natural world. But when they are combined in these designs, they take on a mystical symbolism, representing miraculous power and conveying the desire for longevity. Such designs tend to have an abundance of blank space, and thus also express feelings of freedom and unrestraint. The crane and cloud design on this vase may represent the dream of the Goryeo people to live like Taoist immortals. But in any case, with its meticulous composition and outstanding inlaid design, it certainly showcases the glorious aesthetics of the Goryeo Dynasty.

How to Be Designated as a Treasure

How does an artifact come to be designated as a treasure? In Korea, exemplary objects of state heritage may be officially designated by the government as either a &ldquoTreasure&rdquo or &ldquoNational Treasure.&rdquo These designations are granted based on the recommendations of the Cultural Heritage Committee, which meets every two months to evaluate nominated artworks, artifacts, and objects, as well as intangible cultural activities or traditions. The committee is obligated to publish the list of items being reviewed at least thirty days in advance of its final report. The committee&rsquos final report is then evaluated by the chief of the Cultural Heritage Administration, who gives the final approval for the &ldquoTreasure&rdquo designations. The full criteria and procedure for designating &ldquoTreasures&rdquo and &ldquoNational Treasures&rdquo are specified in Articles 11 and 17 of the &ldquoEnforcement Decree of the Cultural Protection Act.&rdquo

Through this procedure, this maebyeong was designated as Treasure 1869 in 2015. In its final report, the Cultural Heritage Committee wrote the following evaluation of the maebyeong:

&ldquoProduced in the mid-Goryeo period, this representative maebyeong is made from the highest quality celadon and has many outstanding features, including its shape, glaze color, decorative patterns, firing conditions, and state of preservation. Among the relatively many celadon vessels with cloud and crane designs that have survived, this one exudes a particular beauty from its harmonious use of open space, adept composition, and jade-green glaze color. In addition, it is in excellent condition, with almost no scratches.&rdquo

On its website, the Cultural Heritage Administration publishes all of the evaluations of the Cultural Heritage Committee, as well as the notifications of items to be designated as &ldquoTreasure&rdquo and &ldquoNational Treasure.&rdquo In addition to admiring the aesthetic beauty of this maebyeong, readers are encouraged to deepen their appreciation by examining the reasons and procedure for its designation as a &ldquoTreasure.&rdquo


Maebyong vases, an introduction

The Koryo period (918–1392, also spelled Goryeo) is well known for its ch’ongja or celadon ware. Although it was influenced by various Chinese wares such as Ru, Ding and Yue, celadon ware has a very particular bluish grey-green hue and sanggam inlay design that is unique to the Korean peninsula. The jade-like color is thought to be the result of the iron oxide content (about 3-5%) in the glaze, fired in a sealed kiln with restricted oxygen. The color was favored by the Son (Zen) Buddhist monks, who preferred it to white porcelain.

The aristocracy dominated the Korean peninsula during the Koryo period, and celadons were particularly desirable objects at the extravagant court.

Wine bottles like this are known as maebyong, which comes from the Chinese mei-ping (‘vase for plum blossoms’), a misnomer dubbed by Chinese scholars of the Qing dynasty. It would originally have had a lid.

Stoneware maebyong vase, 12th century, Koryo Dynasty, Korea, 30 cm high (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

A vase for a provincial lord

The celadon ware made for the court and aristocracy of the Koryo dynasty is typically grey-green in color. Pieces like this, with a yellowish hue, was used mostly by the provincial lords. The kilns that produced them were not capable of achieving the more refined grey-green hue. The clay was less carefully sieved and the kilns were not sealed efficiently, letting in oxygen, which resulted in the different color. However, the application of the underglaze iron demanded some skill, because if it was not done quickly, the iron would be absorbed by the clay body.

The chrysanthemum design is a common decorative motif of the Koryo dynasty.

Punchong ware maebyong vase with inlaid decoration of fish among waves, 15th century, Early Choson dynasty, Korea (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

Punchong ware

The best quality celadon ware had been produced in the south-west coast of the Korean peninsula. However, this area was severely attacked by Japanese pirates during the late Koryo dynasty and many high quality kilns were destroyed. New kilns, using poorer quality clay, began to produce punchong ware. It was made throughout the first half of the Choson (or Joseon) dynasty (1392–1910) before the late sixteenth century when it was replaced by white porcelain.

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Additional resources:

J. Portal, Korea – art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)


Korean Celadons of the Goryeo Dynasty

Maebyŏng decorated with cranes and clouds, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, first half of the 12th century, stoneware with inlaid decoration under celadon glaze, H. 33.7 cm D. 19.1 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Cranes fly amongst floating clouds on the cool blue-green background of a curvaceous ceramic vessel. This object, called a maebyeong , is representative of Korean celadons made during the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392) . Celedons are ceramics with a distinctive green-blue glaze. The color, coupled with intricate inlaid ornamentation, are part of what has made Goryeo celadons desirable and recognizable objects for centuries. Korean potters adapted and refined celadon technology from China to create distinctively Korean ceramics revered by elites in Korea, China, and Japan alike. Many of the Korean celadons in museum collections, such as jars, bowls, and cups, were archaeological artifacts excavated from tombs and royal palaces. The combination of vibrant colors, delicate forms, and intricate decorative techniques contribute to the renown of Goryeo celadons as exemplary works of Korean art.

Top: Bowl with Dragons among Waves, China, Five Dynasties, 10th century, Stoneware with incised decoration under celadon glaze, Mouth D. 27 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) bottom: Bowl with molded decoration of peony blossoms, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, mid-12th century, Stoneware with celadon glaze, H x W: 6.5 x 18.1 cm (National Museum of Asian Art)

Materiality, technique, and aesthetic

Archaeological evidence shows that Korean ceramic technology was advanced even before the Goryeo Dynasty. Korean stoneware from the Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C.E.–676 C.E.) was fired at temperatures of 1000°C or higher, making it the earliest example of high-fired ceramics in the entire world. However, it was not until the Goryeo period that royal patronage focused on the production of a specific ceramic type, namely celadons.

Tenth-century Korean potters modified Chinese techniques to produce their own version of celadons. Potters used iron-rich clay to form the vessels and a glaze consisting of iron oxide, manganese oxide, and quartz particles. To achieve a consistent blue-green hue, Goryeo artisans developed a two-step firing process. The first step is bisque firing, which dries out and hardens unglazed vessels to make them stable and easier to handle. The second step involves firing glazed vessels in a low-oxygen “reducing” atmosphere to produce the desired celadon color and glossy texture.

Celadon bowl with incised parrot design, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, stoneware with celadon glaze, H. 7.5 cm Mouth D. 16.6 cm (National Museum of Korea)

Chinese potters fired their celadons in brick kilns, but Korean artisans used traditional mud kilns that effectively blocked the flow of oxygen to produce a brilliant celadon tone. Chinese celadons from the Yue kilns, for example, have a warmer olive green glaze compared to the cooler blue-green hue of Goryeo celadons. Achieving a uniform glaze color for celadons marked a shift in Korean ceramic production.

Left: Ewer, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, mid-13th century, stoneware with copper-red pigment and white slip under celadon glaze, 30.5 x 16.7 cm (National Museum of Asian Art) right: Celadon Jar with Inlaid Monkey and Tree Design in Overglaze Gold, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, stoneware inlaid decoration and overglaze gold pigment on celadon glaze, H. 25.5 cm (National Museum of Korea)

Form, color, and ornament became important factors in ceramic appreciation. Early Goryeo celadons emulated Chinese forms, but, gradually, Korean artisans developed their own aesthetic. Potters used molds to create ideal shapes and press popular patterns onto vessels. An incision technique adorned the clay surface with subtle linear designs, which were enhanced by the pooling of glaze in the grooves of varying depths. Flowers and birds were common motifs, particularly lotuses, peonies, parrots, waterfowl, and cranes. Goryeo celadons also featured painted underglaze elements iron oxide fired to a black or brown, and copper oxide used for red. In rare instances, gold was applied over the celadon glaze to enhance underglaze designs.

Left: Melon-shaped ewer with bamboo decoration, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, first half of the 12th century, Stoneware with carved and incised design under celadon glaze, H. 21.6 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) right: Incense burner, Celadon with openwork geometric design, Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, 12th century, Stoneware with celadon glaze, H. 15.3 cm (National Museum of Korea)

Fanciful forms, such as melon-shaped ewers (or pitchers), and elaborate incense burners featuring latticed openwork, demonstrate the careful handiwork involved in making luxury celadons.

Maebyŏng decorated with cranes and clouds (detail), Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, first half of the 12th century, stoneware with inlaid decoration under celadon glaze, H. 33.7 cm D. 19.1 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

In the mid-twelfth century, Goryeo potters began using an inlay technique called sanggam to adorn celadons. Potters stamped or carved out a design, then filled it with white or black slip before the first bisque firing (slip is a mixture of clay, water, and typically a mineral pigment). The inlay on a maebyeong decorated with cranes and clouds best exemplifies this technique of sanggam . The potter used white slip to depict the cranes and clouds, adding intricate details such as feathers and curlicued wisps. The addition of black slip accentuates the crane’s form. Such inlaid creations, uncommon in China, became emblematic of a Goryeo ceramic aesthetic.

Royal patronage and maritime trade

Goryeo celadons adorned the lives of the elite. Potters fashioned celadons into tableware, such as bowls, plates, cups, and ewers, ritual implements, such as incense burners and kundika bottles, and decorative vessels, such as flower containers and cosmetic cases. Some monumental buildings even featured elaborate celadon tiles.

The Goryeo royal court heavily invested in celadon production and the development of its refined ornamentation. Archaeological evidence indicates that celadon production started in the Goryeo capital of Gaeseong in the second quarter of the tenth century. In the late eleventh to early thirteenth centuries, celadon kilns were re-established in Gangjin, located in today’s South Jeolla province.

Map of the Korean Peninsula showing Gaeseong and Gangjin (underlying map © Google)

Celadon kilns flourished in Gangjin: its ecological features provided material resources for ceramic production such as raw clay and firewood, and the geography offered a natural port where ships could dock to load cargo for transport. The strategic placement of Goryeo royal warehouses along the entire Korean coastline consolidated local goods from different districts to be sent yearly to the capital of Gaeseong as tax payment. Gangjin shipped large quantities of celadons to the capital for the royal court and and the nobility to display, gift, and use in their palaces. The structure of the flat-bottomed Goryeo ships allowed for stable, smooth sailing, especially when loaded with a cargo of heavy ceramics. Compared to bumpy travel over land, maritime travel facilitated the safe handling of large quantities of ceramics, keeping these valuable goods intact.

Goryeo celadons were traded across vast distances. The Shin’an shipwreck helps us to understand these broader trade networks. (underlying map © Google)

Goryeo celadons travelled across the sea to China and Japan. The 1976 excavation of the Shin’an shipwreck off Korea’s southwest coast unearthed a massive cargo of ceramics, coins, lacquerware, incense, and herbs. The ship departed from the Chinese port of Ningbo and was headed for Japan when it sank in 1323. Though the majority of excavated ceramics were Chinese, there were seven Goryeo celadon vessels on the ship specially selected for the Japanese market. Goryeo celadons have a substantive presence at medieval Japanese (1130–1600) archaeological sites, revealing that Buddhist monks, urban dwellers, military elites, and nobility enthusiastically collected these Korean ceramics.

Korean celadons in historical records

Historical accounts speak of Chinese appreciation for Goryeo celadons. The Chinese Song Dynasty (960–1279) envoy, Xu Jing, visited the Goryeo capital, Gaeseong, in 1123. Xu noted the similarity of Goryeo celadons to ceramics at China’s famous Yue and Ru kilns. Xu expressed personal praise for Goryeo ceramics, stating that “those recently made show excellent craftsmanship and much improved color.” In a contemporaneous collection of writings, Brocade in the Sleeve ( Xiuzhongjin ), Song Dynasty author, Taiping Laoren, mentioned “jade-colored celadon of Goryeo” along with other luxury items as “the best under heaven” and “incomparable to any.” These records reveal how Chinese elites during the Song Dynasty acknowledged and admired the beauty of Korean celadon glazes.[1]

The History of Goryeo ( Goryeosa ) records a diplomatic episode where Kublai Khan examined a Goryeo gold-painted celadon vessel (the Mongol ruler had defeated the Chinese and established the Yuan Dynasty). He asked a Goryeo envoy, Jo Ingyu, if the gold strengthens the vessel. Jo replied no, explaining that it is merely decorative. Next, Kublai asked if the gold can be reused. When Jo answered no, Kublai demanded that such ceramics no longer be made. Since the Goryeo usually offered metal vessels to the Mongol khans as tribute, these rare gold-painted celadons were most likely exclusive gifts for the Mongol court. Though the Goryeo court wanted to impress Kublai, his disappointment at the wasteful use of precious gold reveals a clash between Mongol and Goryeo aesthetics. Nonetheless, Goryeo celadons remained a popular item among Mongol elites, and under Kublai’s rule, an active ceramics trade unfolded between Korea and China.

Goryeo potters successfully produced exquisite celadons, which gained recognition within East Asia as ceramics unique to Korea. Goryeo celadons are now iconic objects—they are the earliest Korean ceramics studied and appreciated for their aesthetic and art historical value, making them important objects to study today.

[1] Namwon Jang, “Introduction and Development of Koryŏ Celadon,” in A Companion to Korean Art, eds., J.P. Park, Burglind Jungmann, and Juhyung Rhi (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons, 2020), pp. 144–145

Additional resources:

Lee, Soyoung. “Goryeo Celadon.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History


How Were Celadon Wares Typically Decorated?

Across countries and centuries, celadon has seen a huge range of shapes, sizes, and uses. Throughout celadon’s high popularity (before it gave way to the newer trend of China’s blue and white pottery style) there were plenty of examples of very rounded bottles and bowls with decorations in the form of everything from floral embellishments to birds. Sometimes the works were etched with a delicate style called sanggam. The sanggam technique was very common in Korea and involved etchings being done into dry clay and then filling the pieces with black or white slip, then coated with a transparent glaze.


Watch the video: Korean Pottery Story Of A Thousand Years Episode 1


Comments:

  1. Leroux

    Well, you don't have to say that.

  2. Tutu

    I apologize, but in my opinion you admit the mistake. Enter we'll discuss. Write to me in PM, we will handle it.

  3. Timoteo

    Certainly, never it is impossible to be assured.

  4. Fraynee

    I think, that you are not right. I suggest it to discuss. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.

  5. Judah

    There is something in this and a good idea, I agree with you.



Write a message