The History of Korean Ceramics
Pottery is one of the major cultural properties of the peninsula. Since
its introduction in Korea between 6000 and 5000 B.C., pottery and its methods
of production kept on evolving and improving. Since ancient times they used to
make pottery by firing clay at a heat of 1300 degree Celsius. They produced
unique, original and beautiful pottery. They traded extensively with China and
adopted manufacturing skills of Celadon.
Korean pottery is healthy and alive due to its good natural disposition.
The Korean potters believed in nature and sought to be a part of it. So they
lived in deep recesses of mountains to give a natural touch to their wares and
used simple colors with liberal techniques for molding the clay prior to making
the pottery. Today, Korean ceramics are among the most popular and sought after
for their finesse, elegance, and style. Let’s discover together this art that
contributed to the fame of Korea in Asia
Prehistoria ( 선사시대)
The most ancient Korean ceramics date back to 6000-5000 B.C. during the
Neolithic period. They were porous-type potteries fired at low temperature
(approximately 700C). The comb pattern was the most popular design. The Iron
Age (approximately 300 BC.) saw the apparition of the potter’s wheel. Shapes
and design became gradually more complex. Around those times also appeared the
first ceramics with legs.
Three Kingdoms Period (57 BC. – 668)
Potteries were fired in close kilns, which created higher temperatures,
resulting in stronger wares and different surface finish (from the lack of
oxygen from the closed kiln). Two types of pottery are characteristic from this
period: ‘Yongil’, which color is reminiscent of the Iron Age potteries and
‘wajil’ which has a bluish-gray tint.
Unified Silla Period (676-918)
Pottery underwent many changes. Lidded recipients became popular and the
feet of the vessels became shorter. Long-necked bottles and flasks also
appeared. Under the Buddhist influence, funerary urns were in demand and
celadon was introduced. Pottery underwent many changes. Lidded recipients
became popular and the feet of the vessels became shorter. Long-necked bottles
and flasks also appeared. Under the Buddhist influence, funerary urns were in
demand and celadon was introduced.
Goryeo Period (918-1392)
The Goryeo period is characterized by the predominance of celadons.
Korean celadons are different from foreign celadons in that their decorations
are inlaid as opposed to painted. It can be said that the art of celadon really
escalated in Korea. Celadons were reserved for members of the aristocracy. They
were also popular ornaments inside Buddhist temples.
The production of celadons rapidly declined with the Mongol invasion of
1231, which heralded the end of the golden age of celadon in Korea.
Joseon Period (1392-1910)
Two styles coexist during this period: porcelain and buncheong style
wares. Buncheong potteries are characterized by a rather free and informal
style. They are often grayish-green with white motifs or white with black
motifs. Buncheong style ceramics were produced until the middle of the 16th
Porcelains were produced throughout the Joseon dynasty and came in
various shapes, forms and techniques such as undecorated, inlaid, cobalt blue
painted, copper painted, iron painted, etc.,
Did you know?
"Celadon’" comes from the name of the main character of
‘L’Astrée’, a XVIIth century pastoral novel in which the character is wearing
an attire adorned with light green ribbons.
** Article Source: http://german.visitkorea.or.kr/ger/CU/CU_GE_5_3_2.jsp