Images for this lecture are located in the Korean Ceramics folder on ARTstor.Korean Ceramics Ceramics are the most famous of all the Korean arts. Little was known of Korean pottery in Europe until the 19 th century. Korea never exported their porcelain on the scale of China and Japan and therefore weren’t players in the East Asia to Europe trade route. From an early period in Korean history, potters developed their own techniques and styles and were also heavily influenced by Chinese models. As time went on, these inventive artists went onto influence Chinese and Japanese ceramics. The general feeling of Korean ceramics is one of directness, immediacy, and a relaxed symmetry.By 5,000 BCE, the earliest Korean ceramics were being made of coarse earthenware with little decoration except perhaps simple combed patterns. By the Three Kingdoms period (37 BCE – 935 CE), the characteristic dark, thick stoneware pots had little or no decoration except for some areas of wood ash glaze that was a result of the firing process that was learned from Chinese potters. East Asian potters observing this accidental effect probably used their growing technical knowledge to develop stoneware and porcelain glaze technology.See ARTstor images:Storage jar Placenta jar with cover – This vessel was designed to contain the placenta or afterbirth. It was placed in the jar and then buried.Another prominent element of many early Korean pots was a pierced base. The openings cut in the foot or base of a pot may have marked it as a vessel for ceremonial use. The reason for the openings is not known.See ARTstor images:Cup with handle Pedestal dish with cover Sculpture of an attendant Warrior on horseback- These two stoneware sculptures are very detailed representations of warriors riding horses showing the style of clothes and accessories of the time. These pieces were actually designed as pouring
vessels with spouts and handles. There were probably not used functionally but had some ceremonial purpose.East Asia during the Unified Silla period was a time of international culture and exchange with Tang China and Nara Japan. There were many similarities in painting, sculpture, and ceramics. In Korea, potters had mastered the technology of glazed ceramics. The typical ware of the time was a gray stoneware body with yellow, brown, or olive green glazes. The surfaces were also often covered with small stamped designs. The stoneware technology of the Three Kingdoms and Unified Silla periods demonstrated an early high point of Korean ceramics production.