Porcelain brush pot

From Korea
Choson dynasty, 19th century AD

Used by scholars

From the beginning of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) Neo-Confucianism was embraced as the official ideology of Korea. The Buddhist monks and aristocrats who had previously been in power were replaced by a new educated élite of yangban. The term yangban refers to officials in both civil and military posts, but civil officials came to be regarded with more respect.

These scholars spent much of their day reading and writing calligraphy ('beautiful writing'), and brush pots were produced to satisfy this new demand. The pots were mostly cylindrical in shape and made in porcelain, wood, bamboo, and stone. They were sometimes used to store rolled-up paper and are occasionally called paper holders.

This openwork porcelain brush pot is decorated with a dragon, a traditional symbol of power. In the early Choson period the dragon motif was used exclusively by the royal family, but it later became a common theme, which was often also associated with scholarly aspirations.

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More information


J. Portal, Korea - art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)


Height: 14.200 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1910.11-13.1



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