Stoneware maebyong vase

From Korea
Koryo dynasty, 12th century AD

A wine container

The celadon ware made for the court and aristocracy of the Koryo dynasty (918-1392) is typically grey-green in colour. Pieces like this, with a yellowish hue, was used mostly by the provincial lords. The kilns that produced them were not capable of achieving the more refined grey-green hue. The clay was less carefully sieved and the kilns were not sealed efficiently, letting in oxygen, which resulted in the different colour. However, the application of the underglaze iron demanded some skill, because if it was not done quickly, the iron would be absorbed by the clay body.

Wine bottles like this are known as maebyong, which comes from the Chinese mei-ping ('vase for plum blossoms'), a misnomer dubbed by Chinese scholars. The chrysanthemum design is a common decorative motif of the Koryo dynasty.

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More information

Bibliography

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

Dimensions

Height: 25.000 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1931.6-18.1

RRC8802

Gift of the Misses Alexander

Location

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