Ceramics is a work of great practicality, with outstanding artistic performance among our many cultural heritages. The earthenware that the ancestors made, according to the times and regions, represented various Korean emotions and aesthetics with unique malformations and patterns.
In the Joseon Dynasty, porcelain can be divided into two types: buncheong ware(Buncheongsagi) and white porcelain (baekja). Earthenware is in the process of development and progresses from celadon to white porcelain. In the midst of this process, there was the buncheong ware in our country. The buncheong ware used white clay makeup on the surface of crude clay, and white porcelain turned white by making white clay from the beginning.
- The buncheong ware (Buncheongsagi)
The term buncheong ware (buncheongsagi) is originally an abbreviation form. It is an early porcelain made of white clay on gray or grayish black clay and covered with glaze and baked with salt. The term ‘buncheongsagi’ does not appear in the original records, but it was first written by Go Yu-Seop (1905-1944) in the 1930s.
The buncheong ware has been produced for about 200 years in the early 16th and 16th centuries, and its characteristics are expressed by the variety and sympathy of the white clay.
In the late sixteenth century, the buncheong ware gradually declined, and was completely cut off along with the Imjin war in the late 16th century. The disappearance of buncheong ware is a qualitative feature, and the fact that they were development of the fine-grained white porcelain was its great significance. The buncheong ware was relatively short in life, while white porcelain was made throughout the Joseon Dynasty.
There are seven kinds of buncheong ware, according to the techniques of white clay dressing on the surface of the bowl, such as stamping, inlay, scratching, painting and iron-glaze. Many of these techniques appear as unique decorative effects in kilns around the country. Many of the stamping buncheong ware were made in the Gyeongsang-do area and scratching buncheong ware are manufactured in Jeolla-do, and the iron-glazed buncheong ware in Chungcheong-do. However, all these buncheong wares disappears and ends the life.
[Glyphs and Shape]
The patterns of the buncheong wares were developed from the celadons at the end of Goryeo, but they are different from the celadons and have a lively feeling. The pattern appears in contrast with the white clay coverup and the gray clay, and the pattern itself is boldly omitted and transformed.
Glyphs appear mainly on the side rather than on the line. Stamping, inlaying, and scratching may appear as small objects or lines that eventually appear as a collective white surface.
scratching and inlaying consist of two sides of the same pattern. Glyphs are divided into main patterns and subordinate patterns. The main pattern is reorganized by omitting and modifying the meaning and characteristics of the facts. The subordinate pattern is a graphical representation of this.
The patterns of the buncheong ware can be largely divided into plant and animal patterns, and they show the characteristics of each individual. Plant patterns include Willow, Lotus, Peony arabes, Peonies, Peonies arabesque, Peony leaves, Arabesque, Trifolium, Chrysanthemum, Plum, and Indongcho. Animal patterns include fish, birds, dragons, fish dragons, cranes, and butterflies. In addition to this, the abstract patterns have clouds, raindrops, red hair, and scabbard patterns.
The shape changes from the shape in late Goryeo Dynasty to a rhythmic and rich form, with many practical diseases such as jars, bowls and dishes. In particular, there are a number of special types of bottles, such as Janggun, Jarabyeong, Pyeonbyeong and Maebyeong.
- White porcelain
White porcelain is made of white clay, decorated on the surface, and then baked with a transparent white glaze. The white porcelain, with its tempered and pure beauty, was well suited to the thoughts and King of Joseon Dynasty and noblemen who wanted to implement Confucian ideology.
In the beginning, Joseon’s white porcelains were developed in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, and spreader to rural areas. The Joseon white porcelains developed and declined in accordance with the status of the establishment and operation of the Gwanyo, which is a subordinate institution (bunwon) of Saongwon in charge of producing white porcelain for the royal family and the Central Office. The white porcelain produced in Gwangju was prized for high, medium and poor. The white porcelain was made of fine earthenware and glazed to produce the great bowls, namely Gapbeon. Gapbeon were excellent in quality and very often used in the royal court.
The reason why Gyeonggi-do was able to produce white porcelain of the best products in Gwangju was because it was basically rich in good quality white clay and a sense of texture, and because the firewood was close to abundant quantity and geography, which could be easily carried by water channel.
In Joseon Dynasty, the white spirit of the ceramics was pure white porcelains. White porcelain is divided into pure white, inlaid white, blue and white, iron white, and red-patterned white, depending on what kind of pigment is used on the white background.
[Glyphs and Shape]
White porcelain was produced steadily throughout the Joseon Dynasty. The white porcelain shape has created many of the forms of porcelain that can be seen around today, but also unique.
As the Joseon white porcelain settled as a daily living name, it was regarded as a self-contained spirit and thought of the scholars, making the shape strict and balanced, and reducing the decorative patterns. However, the worked patterns vary from painting and humanization to materials that are native and folklore, and showed their unique beauty according to the season.
As the 19th century approached, the use of white porcelain increased and the dismantling of wealthy increased rapidly that resulted in changes in the patterns on the white porcelains. In other words, patterns that represent wealth and honor, good health and long life, many men and success in life, namely Gilsangmun, were exploding.
The type of white porcelain produced in the Joseon Dynasty almost encompasses the form of bowls we use in real life. It can serve as bowls, round plates, cups, bottles, and jars.
The shape of the late white porcelains have become more diverse, such as various types of bottles, jars, flower pots and daily stationaries. In particular, to some stationaries the morphology of frogs, toads, turtles, peaches, and mountains was imitated to seek changes in the modeling.
Britain’s leading art critic of the 20th century, Herbert Edward Read, pointed out that “the precision of a country’s art and its sensitivity is to be judged on their ceramics”. Most people pay attention to ceramics in order to know the traditional art and formative consciousness of our country. This is due to the fact that ceramics existed as a necessity indispensable to Koreans in their long periods of time and their formative expressions of their philosophy of life and artistic inspiration.
As is well known, the common point of the Joseon Dynasty buncheong ware and the white porcelains is the white base color. However, the artistic sentiment expressed there is quite different. In other words, while buncheong ware with the free spirit of the common people, the white porcelains can be said to have a simple yet neat style with a rich sense of quality. From these old white ceramics, but with different personalities, we can feel the essence of Koreans’ art and craftsmanship.
- Classification and Name of Joseon Ceramics by Application
According to the usage of Joseon Ceramics, the categorization is divided into ceramics, tableware, stationery, toiletry, interior utensils, tools and containers. The following are some of the names and applications of the representative models.
1. Tableware for memorial service : Bowls used for rituals or other ceremonies.
Jegi plate, pyeongwagi, pyeonteol, tanggi, mosagi, junhang, jubyeong, jubae, hyangro, hyanghap, hyanggoji, dagwan, dajong, jiseok
2. Tablewares : Since there is a close relationship with everyday life, it changes in quality and form according to the change of age or lifestyle.
Sabal, baragi, ipgi, baltanggi, tanggi, bosigi, jongja, jongbal, chatjong, daejeop, jeopsi, jan, jujeonja, jara bottle, horo bottle, samo bottle, hap, chanhap, seasoning jar, sasi, jeotong
3. Stationery : The necessary tools kept in the library for writing or dealing with office works. The ruling class primarily used them.
Yeonjeok, piltong, pilse, pilga
4. Cosmetic tools : Used to apply cosmetics to the face to make them evenly.
Bunhap, Bunjeopsi, Bunhangari, Bunsugi, Oil bottle
5. Indoor tools : Used to make or create something in a room.
Deungjan, Cigarette hap, Ash tray, Flower jar, Flower pot, Subun, Bundae, Hwaro, Baegaetmo, Dochim, Yogang, Tagu
6. Tools : A variety of tools used to do many things.
Yakyeon, Gangpan, Makjagi, Makja, Ddeoksal, Chu, Godretdol
7. Container : A container that holds something.
Punju, Hangari, Danji, Buridanji, Daehang, Palmohangari, Seokganju Hangari, Taehangari, Bottle, Daebyeong, Oil bottle, Janggun