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Korean Ceramics
Korean Buddhist Painting
Korea; Koryo period (918-1392), 11th - 12th century
H. 12 in. (30.5 cm); W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)spout to handle
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund
This ewer reflects ties to both the stoneware traditions of the preceding Three Kingdoms and Unified Shilla periods and the contemporaneous celadon tradition of the Koryo dynasty. Like the earlier pottery, this ewer has a sturdy and dark gray body without an applied coating of glaze. On the other hand, its slender gourd-like shape, with a long spout and curvy handle, echoes the forms of the more refined green-glazed ware, or celadon, favored by the Koryo aristocracy. There appears to have been a hierarchy among the different types of vessels available during the Koryo dynasty: celadon was accessible almost exclusively to the royal court and the aristocracy; metal vessels (gilt bronze, silver, copper) were used by both the elite and segments of the general population, depending on the material; and unglazed stoneware seems to have been the less expensive alternative for the lower classes. Given the elegant form and fine craftsmanship of this ewer, however, it likely had a special purpose beyond that of utilitarian container in a poor household.
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