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Korean Ceramics
Korean Buddhist Painting
Storage Jar
Korea; Choson period (1392-1910), about mid-18th century
Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue
H. 17 1/2 in. (44.5 cm); D. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The slightly irregular shape and the freely painted decoration adapted from folk painting reveal an unconcern for calculated refinement. These characteristics indicate that this handsome jar, although made at the court-patronized kilns near the capital (modern Seoul), may have been intended for the wealthy literati class rather than the imperial court itself. The user would have especially appreciated the auspiciousness of the jar: the painted motifs of pine tree, crane, and moon are traditional symbols of longevity. At the time of its inception in Korea in the 15th century, porcelain painted with cobalt blue was exceedingly rare, and its consumption was legally restricted to the royal court. It remained popular throughout the Choson dynasty, however, and by the late 18th century when this jar was most likely manufactured, blue-and-white porcelain had reached consumers well beyond the imperial base.
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