Covered stoneware cup (kobae)

From Korea
Three Kingdoms period, 5th-6th century AD

Cups like this were probably used in rituals and ceremonies, and also piled in huge stacks in the burial of members of the royal family and aristocracy. Burying various objects like pottery was considered important for the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife.

The shape and design of this piece, with its perforated stem, originate in Kaya, the small confederacy of states in southern Korea. Kayan potters were the most advanced in all of Korea, using the first kilns and the potter's wheel in the peninsula. As Silla absorbed Kaya in the sixth century AD, Silla also adopted many of its technological achievements, including pottery. This piece is thought to come either from Kaya itself, or possibly from Silla, heavily influenced by Kayan originals.

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Height: 19.500 cm (with lid)

Museum number

Asia OA OA+582


William Gowland Collection
Bequeathed by Sir A.W. Franks


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