Height: 22.000 cm
Asia OA 1936.10-12.202.a, b
Stoneware wine ewer
Koryo dynasty, 13th century AD
In the shape of a melon or gourd
The development of celadon ware during the Koryo dynasty (918-1392) is closely related to Son (Zen) Buddhism, which gained huge popularity during the late Unified Silla dynasty (668-935) and early Koryo dynasty. Son Buddhism placed a strong emphasis on meditation through tea drinking and it was believed that tea tasted better when drunk from a celadon bowl than white porcelain.
However, celadons soon became popular at the royal court and among the aristocracy. Many ewers, bowls, wine cups and even pillows were made in celadon. At one point, records show that King Uijong (reigned 1146–70) even decorated his palaces and pavilions with celadon-glazed roof tiles.
This melon-shaped ewer was used as a container for wine. Celadon ewers were made in a variety of shapes, with naturalistic fruit and vegetable shapes the favourite. This ewer is decorated with lotus flowers and chrysanthemums in the sanggam inlay technique. The lotus flower is a Buddhist symbol of purity and the chrysanthemum design is a common motif in the art of the Koryo dynasty.
J. Portal, Korea - art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)