Korean celadon vase
Korean celadon vase

Korea has the second longest tradition of porcelain production in the world (after China). Korean potters first produced porcelain in 918, during the Koryo Dynasty.

Although contemporary with the Chinese Sung Dynasty, the Koryo potters took their inspiration from the earlier Tang Dynasty Yue wares. These were grey-green vessels (called “celadon” in the West or “Ch’ongja” in Korean) with incised patterns under the glaze. Their ideal was to reproduce the colour of jade.

The most common decoration of Korean pottery is the crane which is a symbol of long life.

A uniquely Korean technique is to inlay black and white designs into the green celadon glaze. The design is first cut into the clay and then filled with a black or white slip (a watery clay mixture).

The shapes of Korean vessels are also unique; often being more bulbous than the Chinese and including cups with stems.

During the subsequent Chosun Dynasty, the Koreans also produced plain white, and blue and white porcelain, but the celadons remained the pinnacle of the Korean potters art.

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